When you are involved in a pedestrian accident as a car driver, you may not even think about contacting an Atlanta car accident attorney. After all, the car driver is always found at fault. They were in a big car, driving at a high speed, and collided with the helpless, innocent person trying to cross the road. In reality, things are not as simple as that.
As we will show here, pedestrians also have the obligation to follow the rules of the road. They do not have right of way by default in every single circumstance. A car driver can actually be the injured party in the respective accident if they suffered significant property damage while trying to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
You will definitely need a skilled Atlanta car accident attorney in this case. You will probably have many fingers pointing at you as the at-fault party. Call us today for a free consultation. Our lawyers can talk with you in either English or Spanish.
Pedestrians’ Rights and Obligations When Crossing the Road
Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and whenever the pedestrian-control sign indicates “WALK.” Also, if they already started crossing the road and the “DON’T WALK” signal starts flashing, the pedestrians have the right of way to keep walking until they reach the nearest safety island or sidewalk.
However, as the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety specifies, there are clear situations when car drivers have the right of way and pedestrians must not cross the road. These situations are:
- At any point of crossing the road that is not a marked crosswalk or unmarked intersection
- Whenever there is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing
- Between adjacent intersections.
Can a Pedestrian Be Charged With Jaywalking?
As an Atlanta car accident attorney can tell you, the term “jaywalking” does not exist in the Official Code of Georgia. It is a colloquial term used to describe a pedestrian crossing a road where and when they shouldn’t. However, there is no offense called “jaywalking,” therefore a police officer cannot charge the person on these grounds.
When Is the Pedestrian at Fault?
There are clear situations when the pedestrian, not the car driver, was at fault in a pedestrian accident. Let’s explore the most common situations.
1. Texting While Walking
All road users should be paying attention and avoid distractions. And this duty is also applicable to pedestrians while crossing the street. While there is no penalty for texting while walking across the road, it can be reasonably determined that the person contributed to their pedestrian accident by not looking in both directions before crossing the road.
Obviously, the pedestrian will deny doing this. At this point, your Atlanta car accident attorney can subpoena their phone records, indicating that the pedestrian was, indeed, using their phone while crossing the road.
2. Weaving In and Out of the Road Under the Influence
Any prudent car driver knows that they should strive to protect incapacitated pedestrians who randomly walk into the road. However, there are situations when it is impossible to avoid hitting a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
For this reason, it is crucial to report the pedestrian accident to the police. One of the first things the law enforcement officers will do is give breathalyzer tests to everyone involved. Also, if they suspect that one of the parties may be under influence of drugs, they will also administer a drug test.
3. Running into the Road
It is quite obvious that there is absolutely nothing a car driver can do when a pedestrian suddenly dashes into the road. The collision is unavoidable, even if the car is driving well below the speed limit.
However, the pedestrian may try to spin a different story to the police. For this reason, you should contact an Atlanta car accident attorney, who will make sure that you get to give your side of the story and understand exactly what the pedestrian claims.
4. Disobeying Traffic Signals
As explained above, a pedestrian may continue to cross the road until they reach a safety island if the “DON’T WALK” signal starts flashing. However, pedestrians must not start crossing the road if the signal has already started flashing.
Thankfully, most crosswalks and intersections have surveillance cameras. Thus, your Atlanta car accident attorney will be able to obtain the images showing that the pedestrian started crossing while the “DON’T WALK” signal was flashing.
Can the Car Driver Recover Damages From the At-Fault Pedestrian?
Any personal injury case in Georgia, including a pedestrian accident, is analyzed using the comparative negligence principle. This principle states that the person who is more at fault is liable to pay for the other person’s economic and non-economic damages.
This is the theoretical principle. In practice, things are a little more complicated. A car driver is not likely to suffer injuries or damage by hitting a pedestrian. A small scratch on the bumper of the car is not worth filing a claim.
Things are different when you end up hitting a stationary object or another car in an attempt to avoid a pedestrian accident. In this situation, you will definitely suffer both bodily injury and property damage. With the help of an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney, you will be able to decide whether it is worthwhile suing the at-fault pedestrian.
We Can Help You After a Pedestrian Accident Which Is Not Your Fault
The most important aspect the lawyers at Diaz & Gaeta law firm will focus on is making sure that you are not blamed for a pedestrian accident that was caused by the pedestrian’s negligence. We know that the car driver is the “usual suspect” in this type of accident. But we also know that it is not always the case.
Our goal is to make sure that the proportions of fault for all parties involved are clearly established. We will seek all the relevant pieces of evidence proving that you were not more than 50% at fault for the accident.
If we believe that you have a chance of recovery, we will also instruct you to sue the negligent pedestrian for damages. But the most important thing is to schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible after the pedestrian accident to avoid getting blamed for it.