Every year, thousands of pedestrians pass away in motor vehicle collisions. In a busy city like Atlanta, pedestrian accidents are inevitable. Distracted and careless drivers roll through stop signs and fail to yield the right-of-way to people in crosswalks. These acts of negligence severely injure and kill innocent pedestrians in The Peach State on an almost daily basis. If you suffered serious injuries such as broken bones or brain injury in a pedestrian crash in Atlanta, schedule a legal consultation with Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. You may have grounds for financial recovery.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about one pedestrian death every 1.6 hours in the U.S. due to collisions with vehicles. The population most at risk of injury and death in pedestrian accidents are adults 65 and older, followed by children 15 and under. Almost half (48%) of pedestrian accidents in one year’s time in the U.S. involved alcohol consumption on the part of the pedestrian or intoxicated vehicle driver. Alcohol can impair the senses enough to make it highly dangerous to walk the bustling sidewalks and streets of Atlanta. Speeding is another significant risk factor, since drivers may not be able to stop in time to avoid colliding with crossing pedestrians.
Most pedestrian accidents in Atlanta happen at night and at non-intersection locations. This points to a marked problem with jaywalking in the city. “Jaywalking” refers to pedestrians crossing streets where there is no intersection or marked crosswalk. If a car strikes you while jaywalking, you may be most at fault for the accident. However, it may be possible to prove comparative negligence if the driver was drunk, speeding, distracted, or otherwise driving recklessly.
In determining eligibility for compensation, one must first consider civil liability for the pedestrian accident. “Pedestrians always have the right of way” is a common misconception in Atlanta. While drivers do have to yield to pedestrians in most cases, walkers must still obey traffic signals and walk signs. Stepping out into traffic without waiting for the walk signal can lead to liability for a subsequent collision – at least in part.
Comparative negligence is a common defense tactic in pedestrian accidents in Atlanta. The vehicle driver could allege that the pedestrian was texting and walking, then stepped into the crosswalk without looking for oncoming traffic. In the event that the courts split liability between the plaintiff and the defendant, this does not bar the plaintiff from financial recovery. Georgia’s modified comparative negligence laws offer the opportunity for compensation as long as the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault for the incident.
Minimizing your own degree of fault for a pedestrian accident can require help from an attorney. A lawyer can investigate the collision, gather eyewitness statements, and hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. These measures may help prove the driver of the vehicle was mostly or entirely at fault for your injuries.
If your incident wasn’t the fault of the driver, but a party such as the staff responsible for maintaining walk signals, you could pursue a lawsuit against the third party. For help with pedestrian accident claims in Georgia, call the accident lawyers at Butler Wooten & Peak, LLP toll-free at (800) 242-2962 or get in touch online.