Anytime someone travels in a metropolitan area, they are at risk for injury. Whether it’s by walking, biking or driving your car, traveling can be quite risky the more people are involved. In a metro area like Atlanta, this is no exception and can put pedestrians in the crossfire when it comes to accidents – and accident compensation.
In a city that relies so heavily on cars, it’s not surprising that it’s also the area with the highest fatality rates for males, Hispanics and several age demographic groups, including those in the 15-34 and 35-54 age groups. More so, the city’s poor pedestrian walkways and subpar public transportation mean that there are more people around than ever before – and they’re all frustrated with the way they get around. This can lead to a number of incidents and accidents involving pedestrians.
Your Pedestrian Accident Case in Atlanta
Have you or a loved one been injured as a pedestrian? You’re not alone. The numbers are there, and the evidence is clear: pedestrian victims exist all across the state of Georgia – and Bader Scott Injury Lawyers is here to help.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to:
- Recover medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Decreased earning ability
- Loss of consortium (loss of companionship or services of spouse or sometimes a child)
- Punitive damages
Call us today at 678-562-5595 for your free consultation so we can advise you regarding your rights to any or all of these possibilities. Do you have questions? We have the answers.
Are Pedestrian Car Accidents Common?
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are much more common than we think. There are more than 110,000 pedestrian accidents in the United States every year, resulting in approximately 59,000 pedestrians injured and more than 4,000 people being killed. Shockingly, a pedestrian accident happens once every 8 minutes in the U.S., with many of these accidents being fatal. These accidents are much more common in urban areas (like Atlanta), where more than three-fourths of all pedestrian accidents occur. And contrary to popular belief, almost 90 percent of these accidents occur in normal weather – not the rain, fog or snow that people would be quick to blame as the cause of most pedestrian accidents.
What is Defined as a ‘Pedestrian Accident’?
A pedestrian accident occurs when a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle or bicycle. Oftentimes, the pedestrian is injured, sometimes even fatally. By their very nature, pedestrian accidents can be quite complicated, which is why it’s important to get in touch with a personal injury attorney quickly in order to help prove fault as well as liability.
What Causes a Pedestrian Accident?
While there are a number of different causes of pedestrian accidents, unmarked crosswalks, left-hand turns, the use of electronics by both walker and driver, quiet cars and busy streets all add up to danger for those traveling. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of a pedestrian accident continues to be alcohol, with an estimated 48 percent of pedestrian deaths involving alcohol by either the driver or pedestrian.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Occur In a Pedestrian Accident?
Catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death can often be the result of pedestrian accidents in Atlanta. These accidents can take a far more serious turn than a simple bump or bruise, oftentimes resulting in significant medical costs, substantial time spent in rehabilitative therapy and even lifelong nursing care. As the body is the most vulnerable in an accident, pedestrians can endure several bodily injuries including (but not limited to):
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
It’s also important to remember that these injuries can occur not only from the initial collision, but fallout from the accident as well. More than 50 percent of injuries occur after the initial contact with the vehicle, such as when the pedestrian makes contact with the ground or unknown objects.
Complying With Law Enforcement
As a preliminary matter, regardless of what the general traffic laws are in any given situation, both drivers and pedestrians are required to comply with lawful orders or directions given by a police officer – even if the order is inconsistent with a general rule of law.
Responsibilities of Drivers
- Insurance. Both owners and operators of motor vehicles are required to maintain motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. Similarly, motorcycle owners are required to maintain insurance. Proof of insurance should be carried by the driver or stored somewhere on the motorcycle.
- Conduct at Traffic Lights. Drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Additionally, if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk on the other half of the roadway, but is approaching the driver’s half of the roadway, the driver is still expected to remain stationary until the pedestrian has crossed the road. Drivers are allowed to proceed through an intersection on a yellow arrow. In the state of Georgia, drivers are allowed to turn right at a red light after coming to a complete stop. The exception to this is when there is signage posted prohibiting a right turn on red. Drivers are still expected to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
- Yield to bicyclists. When there is a bicycle lane in the road, drivers of cars are supposed to yield to bicyclists within the bicycle lane. When passing a bicyclist, drivers are to maintain a “safe distance” between the car and the bicyclist. A “safe distance” is defined by Georgia law as not less than three feet.
- Conduct When Pedestrians Are in, or Approaching, a Crosswalk. Drivers are supposed to stop their car, and remain stopped, to allow pedestrians to cross at a crosswalk. If the pedestrian is approaching from the opposite side of the street, drivers are similarly expected to stop their vehicle and remain stopped while the pedestrian crosses the street.
Drivers approaching a stopped vehicle from behind, where the stopped vehicle is allowing a pedestrian to cross, are not supposed to pass the stopped vehicle, but rather, also come to a complete stop.
Drivers are required to yield the right of way to blind pedestrians who have a cane or a guide dog.
- Due Care. At all times when driving, drivers are expected to “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.” Additionally, drivers are expected to use their horn to provide warning when necessary. Finally, when observing children, people who are obviously drunk, confused, or incapacitated, drivers are expected to exercise proper precautions.
Responsibilities of Pedestrians
Pedestrians are defined in the state of Georgia as “any person afoot” and includes people engaged in the following conduct:
- Otherwise on foot.
- Conduct at Traffic Lights. Pedestrians are allowed to cross the street on a green light within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. However, if the light is green but the “do not walk” signal has activated, the pedestrian should not start crossing the street. Additionally, pedestrians are not supposed to cross the road on a yellow light.
- Conduct When Approaching a Crosswalk. Even though, as a general rule, pedestrians have the right of way within a crosswalk, this is not true in every case. Pedestrians are cautioned not to leave the curb or another place of safety suddenly. Pedestrians are further instructed under Georgia law not to walk or run in front of the path of a vehicle when the car is so close that “it is impractical for the driver to yield.”
- When Crossing the Street Outside of a Crosswalk. Crosswalks exist at the corners of each block, whether they are marked or not. If a pedestrian crosses the road away from the corner, unless it is clearly marked, it is not a crosswalk. When pedestrians are crossing in such a fashion, they do not have the right of way. Rather, pedestrians must yield to vehicles in this situation.
If there is a pedestrian tunnel or an overhead crossing designed for pedestrians, and a pedestrian chooses to cross the roadway instead, the pedestrian similarly does not have the right of way and is expected to yield to traffic.
If there are traffic lights at adjacent intersections, pedestrians are not allowed to cross the road, except at the traffic lights.
Unless there is a traffic light specifically allowing it, pedestrians are not allowed to cross an intersection diagonally.
- Walking While Under The Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. If a person is impaired to the extent they are a hazard should not be on a roadway or the shoulder of the road, whether they are walking or remaining still.
- Walking Along the Road. Pedestrians are required to use the sidewalk if one is available, unless using the sidewalk “presents an imminent threat of bodily injury.”
If there is no sidewalk but a shoulder is available, pedestrians are expected to use the shoulder as far away from the roadway as is practicable.
If there is no sidewalk and no shoulder, pedestrians are expected to remain as far away from the road as possible. Additionally, when there is no sidewalk and no shoulder, pedestrians are expected to walk on the left side of the road.
Neither pedestrians nor drivers are allowed to cross over a railway crossing after the signal has been given not to cross. Similarly, neither pedestrians nor drivers are permitted to remain on or enter a bridge after the bridge operation signal has been given.
Both pedestrians and drivers are also expected to yield to emergency vehicles.
If You Have Been Injured As a Pedestrian
It’s important to act swiftly and decisively when pursuing a lawsuit over a pedestrian accident, as most car accident cases have a deadline of two years from the time of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, there are shorter exceptions in some cases, so time is of the essence.
Our experienced team of attorneys is available to assist clients throughout the metro Atlanta area, helping you recover while we pursue your case. We will make sure you receive the proper medical care and services you need. We don’t want you to walk this road alone.
If you have been injured as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to damages. Contact the determined auto accident injury attorneys in Atlanta at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.