According to a study conducted in 2019, Georgia is the 6th most dangerous state for pedestrians. The number of pedestrian deaths that are attributed to auto accidents rose by 35% between the years 2008 and 2018. The main reason is that pedestrians usually don’t have anything to protect them from vehicles during accidents, and they are therefore at a significantly higher chance of sustaining severe injuries or fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a car accident while walking, you have the right to seek compensation. At Calvin Smith Law, we have highly accomplished personal injury lawyers that will gladly represent you and fight to pursue fair compensation on your behalf. Get in touch with an Albany pedestrian accident lawyer today at (404) 383-7552 to learn more about how we can help.
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What Qualifies Me As A Pedestrian?
A pedestrian isn’t necessarily anyone who’s out walking on the roads in Albany, Georgia. Based on Georgia’s accident liability law, a pedestrian is defined as a person who’s not in an automotive machine when an accident occurred. As such, it means that you qualify as a pedestrian if you’re:
- Traveling on foot
- Standing on the sidewalk
- Riding in a wheelchair
- Fixing or inspecting a problem on the exterior part of your vehicle
What Are The Common Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents In Albany?
In the year 2018, Georgia had about 261 pedestrian fatalities compared to 253 fatalities in 2017. While this is not a worrisome trend, statistics show that the number of pedestrian deaths has risen by as much as 60% in the past five years.
All motorists are expected to be on alert for other road users, including those who are traveling on foot. Pedestrian crashes tend to happen when the other drivers aren’t attentive or when they fail to see an individual walking along the road, entering an intersection, or crossing the street.
Here are some of the most common reasons that explain most pedestrian accidents in Albany and the larger Georgia area:
The kind of injuries a pedestrian will sustain in an accident will directly correlate with the amount of speed the vehicle that hit them was traveling at. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, almost 5% of the pedestrian lose their lives if they are hit by a vehicle traveling at a speed of 20 mph or less. Remarkably, 40% of the pedestrians lose their lives when hit by a vehicle traveling at a speed of 30 mph, and the number rises to 80% when the speeds are 40 mph or higher.
Failure to Yield
According to Georgia traffic laws, drivers are expected to yield the right of way for pedestrians in some specific instances. A good example is that motorists are expected to yield pedestrians the right of way when crossing an intersection, even if it has no traffic signals or lights. Motorists should ideally yield when the WALK signal is on, or when the traffic lights turn red on any pedestrian crossing. All drivers that are pulling out on private roads, alleys, and driveways should also yield the right of way to the pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Yellow signs are often placed in certain locations where there are any pedestrians crossing the street. As such, drivers should be always on the lookout for these road signs, drive attentively, and reduce their speeds. Motorists are also required to watch out or be alert for people that are completely or partially blind, and are using a cane or service dogs to get their bearing while walking. Failing to yield the right of way could potentially result in the pedestrian sustaining serious injuries, or even losing their life.
These can happen at any time, and there are many different factors that might be at play, which results in the driver being attentive while behind the wheel. Drivers can be preoccupied by their cellphone, the radio, eating or drinking, or even talking with a passenger. Such distractions can pose a significant danger to other people on the road – both pedestrians and motorists. A distracted driver will most likely not notice a pedestrian in good time to stop or maneuver their car to avoid causing an accident.
According to a survey conducted by the Governor’s Highway Safety Commission, about 15% of the pedestrians who are struck by vehicles and suffered fatalities or severe injuries were involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Conversely, 3% of pedestrians in road accidents were lying down seated on the side of the road, walking, or under the influence of alcohol.
Based on statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of the total pedestrian accidents that resulted in fatalities occurred at night. Motorists will either have a hard time noticing people that are using the sidewalk or walking on the side of the road, especially if the people are wearing dark clothes.
Is It Possible That Crosswalks Are Part Of The Problem?
Drivers are not always the ones to blame for pedestrian accidents. The design of the road and where the crosswalks are located might contribute to such accidents.
At Calvin Smith Law, our pedestrian accident lawyers will seek to place the blame on the entities responsible for the maintenance and design of the public roads. These entities usually have a duty to consider the safety of pedestrians. Failing to uphold this duty will only contribute to making the roads unsafe for pedestrians, and even other motorists and road users.
The entities that can be held liable for the negligence of crosswalk and road safety include the infrastructure engineering firms and the municipality offices. Our team of investigators and legal experts will review your case and the various factors surrounding it to help determine who should be held liable for your injuries.
The teams that will be assigned your case will go to the scene of the accident to examine and collect any available evidence, which will be vital in creating a solid strategy to help you win your claim. We might also need to hire accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to help paint a good picture of what really happened in order to build a strong winning case.
Who Is Liable for The Injuries or Fatalities That Pedestrian Suffer?
The liability for any pedestrian accident can be established based on three crucial factors:
Every pedestrian should behave responsibly and adhere to the set traffic rules. They are required to use the designated crosswalks and avoid walking into the direct paths of traffic, such as along the highways. Still, motorists are expected to yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Consider a scenario where the driver adheres to all the traffic rules and behaves rather prudently, however, they fail to avoid hitting a pedestrian that suddenly jumped in front of their car. Furthermore, the pedestrian, in this case, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In such situations, it’s unlikely for the driver to be held liable for the accident and the death or injuries of the pedestrian.
In cases where a driver blatantly breaks the traffic rules such as by being distracted, driving while intoxicated, or reckless driving, they can be held liable for the accident, even if the pedestrian shoulders some of the fault. The driver also faces other charges apart from the wrongful death or injuries of the pedestrian they hit. In extreme cases of reckless driving, the motorist could face criminal charges along with the civil suit. The driver who hits a pedestrian and flees the scene will also face hit-and-run charges.
In some instances, the accident might not be the fault of the driver or the pedestrian. There are some natural elements that might be the cause. For example, the weather might be so bad that it causes poor visibility, which makes it hard for the driver to see the pedestrian in time. In such situations, the liability of an accident doesn’t lie on anybody.
Nonetheless, there are cases where the road itself was defective, or there was an environmental hazard present, which led to the collision. In such a case, the property owner or the city government where the hazard was, such as a fallen tree, can be held liable for the pedestrian accident.
As you might expect, determining liability can be a complex process, especially when some entities or parties share fault. In case you’re injured as a pedestrian in Albany, you should try getting in touch with our experienced attorneys at Calvin Smith Law, who will be ready to assist you and provide guidance on how to pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Don’t forget that even if you are partly to blame for the accident, you might have a case worth pursuing.
What Types Of Serious Injuries Can A Pedestrian Suffer In An Accident?
Since pedestrians have nothing to protect them during an accident, they tend to have a higher risk of sustaining severe injuries or even death. The sheer force of being struck by thousands of pounds of metal can really have a catastrophic blow. Some of the more common injuries sustained during such accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries that could lead to permanent or temporary loss of motor functions
- Dental or facial damage resulting in loss of vision or teeth
- Deep bruises or cuts that can be extensive to a point of damaging major organs
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injury, concussions, or coma
- Orthopedic injuries including bone fractures dislocated joints or any other damage to the musculoskeletal system
What Steps Should I Take After A Pedestrian Accident In Albany?
The most important thing is gathering as much information as possible about the collision as well as your losses or injuries. You should get the driver’s name, the license plate of the vehicle, and insurance details of the driver, and the names and contacts of any eyewitnesses. If possible, take photos.
Evaluate the surroundings: Was there a walkway? Were there any streetlights and were they working? If you were at an intersection, were there traffic signs/lights? Don’t forget to call the police and file a formal report. These will be critical elements in presenting evidence during the claim case. More importantly, remember to also seek immediate medical attention – never overlook or underestimate any injuries that you might have sustained in the accident.
Be sure to contact a personal injury attorney who will put your interests at heart and fight for your rights. Never discuss anything with any insurance company without the presence of your attorney. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to do whatever they can just to avoid paying the full settlement amount. They might try to discredit your claim and even downplay your injuries.
Perhaps more importantly, don’t accept any offers the insurance companies make, since you won’t have any other chance to recover the damages you incurred during the accident in case the awarded amount was not enough to cover your losses.
How Are Pedestrian Collisions Different from Other Accidents?
The most unfortunate thing about pedestrian accidents is that they are often devastating, and they happen unexpectedly and swiftly. According to data from the Department of Transport, 88% of the total pedestrian fatalities on record occurred in normal weather conditions. The Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center published a report saying that almost three out of four pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas. The report also states that 26% of the total pedestrian fatalities usually happen between 1800hrs and 2100 hrs.
Do I Qualify To File For Compensation After A Pedestrian Accident?
If you’re a victim of a pedestrian accident caused by a reckless driver, you have the right to pursue compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained. The claim will help you cover damages such as lost earnings, pain and suffering, hospital bills and medical expenses, the wrongful death of a loved one, and other damages.
When pursuing compensation following a pedestrian accident, you basically have two options:
- File an insurance claim with the insurance company of the driver
- File a formal personal injury lawsuit in a court of law
In cases where the driver responsible for the accident was insured, it’s possible to file your claim with their insurance provider. However, keep in mind that the settlement and negotiations process can be quite complex to navigate, especially if you don’t have expert legal representation by your side. The insurance company will ideally have a claims adjuster try to convince you to settle for the least amount possible, while also trying to waive your right to sue the driver.
The kind of injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident can be quite severe, which makes the personal injury lawsuit option more feasible to ensure that you recover all your losses. The experienced pedestrian accident lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will help you to obtain the compensation that amply covers your current and future expenses and/or damages.
What Settlement Amount Am I Entitled To In A Pedestrian Accident Case?
The amount of compensation you’re entitled to should cover your damages, including your hospital and medical costs, any lost earnings or capacity to earn a living, along with your pain and suffering. In case the driver was intoxicated, you might also be eligible to sue for punitive damages. In case you lost a loved one in the accident, you can also pursue wrongful death compensation.
Consult with Calvin Smith Law attorneys at (404) 383-7552 to learn more about your available options and the best way forward regarding your case.
Wrongful Death In Pedestrian Accident Cases
If an accident ultimately leads to the demise of the pedestrian, his or her family can sue the responsible driver and submit a claim for wrongful death on behalf of the deceased. They however must provide evidence just like all other pedestrians pursuing negligence claims. With assistance from a personal injury lawyer, the family can be guided on the right next steps to take to ensure the responsible people involved in the incident are brought to justice.
Is The Driver Always The Only Party At-Fault In Pedestrian Accidents?
Some of these pedestrian accidents are not straight forward, because different factors can contribute to it, so the driver that caused the hit could always be responsible. This is the main reason thorough investigations need to be conducted. With our team of experts at your disposal, things like functional pedestrian signals, pedestrian sidewalks, and the direction oncoming traffic with respect to the pedestrian will be looked at and assessed. The attorney will assist to determine who is at fault.
How Is Liability Determined In Pedestrian Accident Cases?
First, we look at the civil liability for the collision of pedestrians. There is a misconstruction that in Albany, the pedestrian permanently has the right of way. As much as the drivers are required to give pedestrians the right of way, the pedestrian is as well required to comply with set traffic signs and walk signs. If this is not observed by the pedestrian, it makes them partly liable for the accident.
You need to prove that there was neglect on the part of the defendant or the Driver to win your case. This will be by showing how their actions directly caused your damages, injuries, or demise. Your task is to prove that the defendant did not perform their duty of care rendered, with the integrity required under the given conditions, causing the accident.
The claim case you submit must contain concrete evidence supporting the losses you incur having been caused by the negligence of conduct on the defendant’s part. If you Assume that the case will be obvious because you are the once who suffered the injuries, you are wrong. You might discover you bear some responsibility for the accident, which will ultimately affect the results of your claim case.
When dealing with pedestrian accidents in Albany, some attorneys employ comparative negligence. One claim that can be portrayed by the motorist at fault is a lack of attention from the pedestrian when walking. They might say you stepped forward without being diligent and looking for oncoming traffic. Once the court establishes a shared responsibility between you and the motorist, the compensation will be granted based on the levels of responsibility between involved parties. If your fault levels are established to be below 50%, you will be entitled to compensation.
Based on your own negligence in the situation, you might lose a portion of the granted compensation. For example, if you are 30% at fault and the compensation amount is $100,000, you will only receive $70,000 and end up losing $30,000.
To lower your chances of accountability for the accident, a competent pedestrian attorney near Albany will come in handy. Our lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and collect all the evidence available like police reports and eyewitness accounts, to come up with a conclusive and mastermind strategy for the lawsuit. The evidence gathered will illustrate that the defendant is fully responsible for your injuries and damages.
Is There A Time Limit For Filing A Lawsuit After A Pedestrian Accident?
The window to file an injury lawsuit is typically 2 years from the date of the incident. The period can, however, be shorter. The best thing is to consider a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to identify the correct steps to take. Our experienced attorneys at Calvin Smith Law will go a step further to ensure you get the right medical service and that you are recovering well as they pursue the suit on your behalf.
Why Should I Call An Albany Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
The fact that you don’t have much to shield yourself from injuries caused by accidents when walking down an Albany street, is why you would contact a respectable pedestrian accident attorney. The expenses that come with severe and prolonged injuries can make the experience a medical nightmare. It is worse if you are mourning the death of a loved one. Healing and getting over such trauma and pain takes time, which you will have very little of. Your best bet is to act quickly by initiating and making sure legal stuff is taken care of, to ensure you are well compensated for any losses you incur.
When your afflictions are caused by another person’s neglect in conduct or behavior, the responsible people should be held accountable for their actions. You are correct and eligible to pursue compensation, but sometimes it becomes challenging receiving what you fittingly deserve. Insurance companies will give you firm opposition in their fight to dishonor your claim by trying to lower or deny you what you are rightfully entitled to. They will outrightly shift some or all the blame to you.
you have a better chance of receiving full compensation by recruiting the services of our skilled Albany personal injury attorneys.
Calvin Smith Law is always here to help you get a fair fight and see to it that justice is served. Our mission is to:
- Preserve your innocence and protect your rights in the matter.
- Get Experts from different fields in Albany to assist in the determination of the worth of the case.
- Conduct investigations into the accident and what really happened.
- Assist you get full compensation for losses or damages caused.
- Make sure the insurance companies take your claim with the seriousness it deserves
Our committed car accident lawyers will have an aggressive approach when handling the case to ensure you are fully compensated. Call us at (404) 383-7552 to book a consultation for free. We will always be here for you.