Some potential clients who contact an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer believe that they automatically deserve to recover all their economic damages plus significant non-economic damages for pain and suffering. However, things are not as simple as that. Just because the other party was driving a car, it does not mean that they were automatically 100% at fault for a pedestrian accident.
The reality is that both drivers and pedestrians must obey the rules of the road. In Georgia, you can only recover damages if you are less than 50% at fault for an accident. Auto insurance companies are looking for every little circumstance that would give them cause to deny an accident claim.
This is why the best way of maximizing your chances of recovery is to schedule a free case review with an experienced Atlanta pedestrian lawyer to understand your legal options.
Rules of the Road for Pedestrians in Georgia
The rights and duties of pedestrians are clearly stated in the Official Code of Georgia. Thus, according to OCGA 40-6-90, pedestrians must obey traffic control devices, unless a police officer directs them otherwise.
Also, pedestrians do not always have the right of way. Here are some instances where a pedestrian may be at fault
- Suddenly leaving a curb to walk or cross a road at such a close distance that it would be impossible for a driver to yield.
- Crossing roads at any other place except for a crosswalk.
- Crossing a road where a tunnel or overhead walkway exists for this purpose.
Therefore, liability in a pedestrian accident is not always a clear-cut issue. The driver may be at fault, but not 100%. Your best chance is sharing all the circumstances of your accident with a lawyer and letting them evaluate your actual proportion at fault as a pedestrian.
Liability Is Significantly Influenced by the Location of the Accident
One of the key factors in determining liability in a pedestrian accident is where it happened. Here are the most common locations for this type of accident:
On a Sidewalk
Sidewalks are built especially for pedestrians, so the car driver’s liability is clear in most of the cases when a pedestrian is hit on a sidewalk. However, there may be circumstances when a pedestrian may be partly at fault. For instance, a driver is trying to enter or exit a parking lot slowly and cautiously, but a pedestrian suddenly jumps in their path.
In a Crosswalk
Pedestrians do not have the right of way by default in a crosswalk. According to their rights and duties, pedestrians must obey traffic signals. Thus, walking across a crosswalk when the traffic signal says “Do Not Walk” means that they are breaking the rules of the road. In this case, unless the driver was speeding or driving under influence, they might not be held liable for the accident.
Jaywalking means crossing a road in an area without a crosswalk, or where a tunnel or overpass exists. In such cases, according to OCGA 40-6-92, the pedestrian must always give the right of way to all vehicles. In such instances, liability depends on the circumstances.
A driver still has a duty of care towards the pedestrian, meaning that they must make a reasonable effort to avoid hitting someone who walks in the street.
What to Do After Being Hit by a Car
One of the things an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer will tell you is that what you do after your accident can have a negative impact on your chances of recovery from the at-fault driver. In some situations, you do or say things that an insurance adjuster can use to devalue or deny your claim.
The right steps to take after a pedestrian accident are:
1. Call 9-1-1 to Report the Accident
A car driver may try to persuade you that there is no need to call 9-1-1. They will drive you to a nearby hospital and give you money to cover your medical costs. However, without an accident report, you don’t have a critical piece of evidence needed to prove your case.
Once they drop you off at the hospital and give you a few hundreds of dollars, the driver will be on their way and deny any involvement in a pedestrian accident – if you remember their license plate so that the police can identify them.
2. Get the Driver’s Contact and Insurance Information
As noted above, you must know whom you can hold liable for your economic and non-economic damages. Any driver is obliged by law to give you their contact details and insurance information. If they flee from the accident scene, try to remember the make, model and color of their car and at least a part of the license plate number.
Hit-and-run is a very serious offense and will make your Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer’s job easier in proving the driver’s negligence in causing your accident.
3. Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
Together with the accident report, medical reports indicating the injuries you sustained and the date and time when you first received medical care are extremely important in a pedestrian accident claim. An attorney must be able to prove that the injuries you sustained and your economic damages were caused by the fact that a car hit you.
Some people claim that they feel little pain after such an accident. This is the result of shock. However, they will start feeling pain and other symptoms one day or several days later. They go to the hospital and seek medical care then they file a pedestrian accident claim.
And an insurance adjuster says that there is no proof that the injuries were caused by the accident. During the interval between the alleged accident and seeking medical care, the person could have been injured in a separate accident. This argument is difficult to fight even by a skilled Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer.
4. Hire an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Law Firm
H Groves Law is the right place to bring your pedestrian accident case. We have extensive experience and we can determine if you have a valid case after looking over the documents and evidence you bring us. We will not give you false hopes.
Instead, we will give you an honest legal opinion and, if we believe that you have the right to file a pedestrian accident claim, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay any fees until we win your case.
Contact us as soon as possible after your accident to schedule a free case review with an experienced attorney!