Georgia is rated as the sixth most dangerous state for pedestrians; this is according to a study done in 2019. The number of pedestrian deaths attributed to car accidents has risen by 35% between 2008 and 2018. Pedestrians do not have anything to protect them from vehicles during an accident; thus, they are a significantly high chance of sustaining severe injuries or fatalities.
Individuals that have been hurt or have a loved one that was killed or injured by a car while walking can seek compensation. We at Calvin Smith Laws have highly accomplished personal injury attorneys that will represent you and fight for your rights to fair compensation. Call a Macon pedestrian accident lawyer today at (404) 383-7552 to find out more about how we can help you.
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What Qualified Me As A Pedestrian?
A pedestrian is not necessarily anyone who is out for a walk on the roads in Macon, Georgia. According to the accident liability law of the State of Georgia, a pedestrian is anyone that is not in an automotive machine when the crash occurred. Therefore, this means that you will qualify as a pedestrian when you are:
- Standing on the sidewalk
- Traveling on foot
- Riding in a wheelchair
- Inspecting or fixing a problem on the exterior of your car
What Are The Common Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents In Macon?
In 2018, Georgia had 261 pedestrian fatalities compared to 253 deaths in 2017, which is not a worrisome trend. But statistics show that pedestrian deaths have risen by as much as 60% in the last five years.
All motorists are expected to be on the lookout for other road users, including those on foot. Pedestrian accidents tend to happen when drivers are not attentive and fail to see an individual entering an intersection crosswalk, walking along the road, or when crossing the street.
Below some of the prevalent reasons for pedestrian accidents in Macon and the greater Georgia area:
The severity of the injuries that a pedestrian sustains directly correlates with the impact speed of the vehicle that hit him or her. Up to 5% of pedestrians die after being hit by a car traveling at a speed of 20 Mph or even less; this is according to the United States Department of Transportation. Interestingly, 40% of pedestrians will die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 Mph, and that number rises to 80% for those hit by a car traveling at speeds of 40 Mph are higher.
Failure to Yield
The Georgia traffic laws stipulate that drivers are expected to yield the right of way to pedestrians when in certain situations. For instance, the right of way is required for pedestrians crossing at an intersection even if it has no traffic lights or signals. Drivers are should are yield when the WALK signal is on, or the traffic lights are red at the pedestrian crossing. All drivers puling out on alleys, private roads, and driveways are also required to yield the right of way to people on sidewalks.
Yellow signs are often placed in areas where there are many pedestrians crossing the streets. Therefore, motorists should be on the lookout for these road signs and reduce their speed as well as drive attentively. Moreover, drivers are expected to be alert and watch out for individuals that are partially or completed blind and are using service dogs or a white cane to get their bearings when walking. Failure to yield the right of way can result in a pedestrian sustained serious injuries or death.
Distractions can occur anytime, and different factors might be in play that results in the driver not being attentive when behind the wheel. Drivers can get preoccupied with the radio, cellphone, GPS, talking with a passenger, or eating. Such distractions pose a significant danger to other road users – pedestrians and motorists alike. Distracted motorists will not see a pedestrian in good time to maneuver their vehicle and avoid causing an accident.
According to findings of a survey done by the Governor’s Highway Safety Commission, nearly 15% of pedestrians struck by cars and suffered severe injuries or fatalities were in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Conversely, 3% of pedestrians in road accidents were either under the influence of alcohol or were lying down, walking, or sited on the side of the road.
According to stats for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75% of fatal pedestrian accidents occur at night. Drivers will often have a hard time seeing people that are walking or using the side of the road, more so if the persons are wearing dark clothes.
Is It Possible That Crosswalks Are Part Of The Problem?
Motorists are not always the ones to blame for pedestrian accidents. Where crosswalks are located, and even the road design might contribute to such accidents occurring.
Our pedestrian accident attorneys here at Calvin Smith Law will seek to place the blame on the parties responsible for the designing and maintenance of the public roads. These entities have a duty to consider pedestrian safety. Failure to uphold this duty makes the roads unsafe for pedestrians and even the drivers and other users.
The parties that can be held liable for the negligence of road and crosswalk safety include the municipality offices and the infrastructure engineering firms. Our team of legal experts and investigators will review the various factors surrounding your case to help determine who to hold liable for your injuries.
The team assigned to your case will visit the accident scene to examine it and collect any evidence that will be vital in putting together a solid strategy that will help you win your claim. We might need to high engineering experts and accident reconstruction specialists to help paint a clear picture of what happened and build a strong winning case.
Who Is Liable For The Injuries Or Fatalities That Pedestrian Suffer?
Liability for pedestrian accidents can be determined based on three crucial factors:
Every pedestrian must behave responsibly and abide by the set traffic rules. They are required to use crosswalks and avoid walking in the direct paths of traffic, like on or along highways. On the flip side, drivers are expected to yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Consider a scenario where a driver abides by all the rules and behaves prudently but fails to avoid knocking down a pedestrian that suddenly jumped in front of the car. Moreover, the pedestrian in this example is under the influence of alcohol. In such a situation, it is improbable for the driver to be held liable for the accident and the injuries or death of the pedestrian.
In a situation where a motorist blatantly breaks the traffic rules such as driving while intoxicated, being distracted, or driving recklessly, then the driver can be held accountable for the accident even if the pedestrian shoulder some fault. The driver also faces different charges aside from the injuries or death of the person they hit. And in extreme cases of reckless driving, the motorists can face criminal charges apart from the civil suit. The motorists that hit pedestrians and flee the scene will face hit-and-run charges.
In some cases, the accident might not be the fault of the pedestrian or the driver. Nature’s elements might be the cause. For instance, the weather might be so bad that it leads to poor visibility, making it hard for the driver to see a pedestrian in time. In such situations, the accident is not anybody’s fault. However, there are instances where the road was defective, or an environmental hazard was present and led to the collision happening. In such a scenario, the city or the property owner where the environmental hazard, such as a fallen tree, comes from will be held responsible for the pedestrian accident.
Determining liability can be a complicated process, especially when some different parties or entities share fault. If you are injured as a pedestrian in Macon, you should get in touch with our experienced car accident lawyers here at Calvin Smith Law for help and guidance on how to best pursue the compensation you rightly deserve. Keep in mind that you might still have a case worth pursuing, even if you should some blame for the collision.
What Types Of Serious Injuries Can A Pedestrian Suffer In An Accident?
Since a pedestrian has nothing that protects them when in an accident, the risk of sustaining severe injuries when hit by a car is high. The force of being struck by thousands of pounds of metal can have a devastating or fatal blow. Some of the common injuries sustained include:
- Spinal injuries that can lead to partial or complete loss of motor functions
- Deep cuts and bruises that can be extensive to the point of damaging major organs
- Facial and dental damage that can result in loss of teeth and vision
- Orthopedic injuries that might include dislocated joints, bone fractures, and damage to the musculoskeletal system
- Head injuries that can include concussions, traumatic brain injury, or coma
What Steps Should I Take After A Pedestrian Accident In Macon?
The most important thing is to gather as much information as possible about the collision and your injuries or losses. You should get the name of the driver, the vehicle’s license plate, the driver’s insurance details, and the names and contacts of any eyewitnesses. Take photos if possible.
Take note of the surroundings. Was a walkway available? Were there working streetlights? Were there traffic signs if you were at an intersection? Remember to call the police and make your formal report, which will be a critical element in the evidence your lawyers will need during the claim case. Also, seek medical attention; do not underestimate or overlook any injuries that you might have sustained in the accident.
You also should get in touch with a personal injury attorney who will represent your interests and fight for your rights. Do not discuss anything with any insurance provider without your lawyer present. Insurance companies will try to do things with haste just to avoid paying out settlements. They will also try to discredit your claim and downplay your injuries. Most importantly, do not accept any offers the insurance providers offer you because you will never have another chance to recover your damages after the accident is the awarded amount was insufficient to cover all your losses.
How Are Pedestrian Collisions Different from Other Accidents?
The unfortunate reality is that pedestrian accidents are often swift, occur unexpected, and devastating. According to the Department of Transportation, 88% of the pedestrian fatalities that are on record happened in normal weather conditions. A report from the Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center stated that nearly three out of four pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas. It further adds that 26% of all the pedestrian fatalities tend to happen between 1800hrs and 2100hrs.
Do I Qualify To File For Compensation After A Pedestrian Accident?
You have the right to seek compensation for injuries or the death of a loved one that happened in a pedestrian accident attributed to the recklessness of a motorist. The claim can attempt to cover your losses, such as wages, pain and suffering, the demise of a loved one, and your medical expenses, among other damages.
When seeking compensation after the pedestrian accident, you will have two options:
- File a personal injury lawsuit in the civil court
- File a claim with the driver’s insurance provider
It the driver responsible for the accident was insured, you can file a claim with his or her insurance provider. But keep in mind that the claim negotiations and settlement process can be tough to navigate if you do not have the best legal representatives on your side. The insurance company will have a claims adjuster who will try to convince you to access the least amount of settlement possible while also waiving your right to sue the driver.
Injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident can be very severe, and this makes a personal injury lawsuit that most feasible option that will ensure you recover your losses. The compensation that our lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will help you obtain should cover your current and future expenses and damages.
What Settlement Amount Am I Entitled To In A Pedestrian Accident Case?
The compensation you are entitled to should cover your medical costs lost wage, loss capacity to earn a living, pain, and suffering. If the driver responsible was intoxicated, you might also be eligible to sue for punitive damages. If a loved one was killed in the accident, then you can as well as seek wrongful death compensation.
Get in touch with our lawyers at (404) 383-7552 to know more about your options and the way forward regarding your case.
Wrongful Death In Pedestrian Accident Cases
If a pedestrian involved in an accident does not survive, then his or her family can sue the driver responsible and file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one. But they must submit proof as is with any pedestrian that pursues negligence claim. With the help of a personal injury attorney, the family can take the right steps when filing a lawsuit and ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.
Is Driver The Always The Only Party At-Fault In Pedestrian Accidents?
Not all pedestrian accidents are straightforward. Different factors can lead to such accidents happening. As such, the driver that hit the pedestrian might always be the one responsible. That is why such cases need a lot of investigation. Our team of experts will look into things such as, was there a working pedestrian signal in place? Was the pedestrian on a sidewalk? Did the pedestrian walk into oncoming traffic? The lawyer handling your case will help prove who is at fault in the matter.
How Is Liability Determined In Pedestrian Accident Cases?
We first consider the civil liability for the pedestrian collision. A prevalent misconception in Macon, GA, is that a pedestrian always has the right of way. In as much as a motorist is required to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, the pedestrian is also expected to abide by traffic rules such as obeying traffic signals and walk signs. Failure to uphold this responsibility will place the pedestrian liable – at least in part – for the accident.
If you want to win your compensation case, you must prove negligence on the part of the driver or the defendant. You should show that his or her actions directly led to your injuries or damages. As the plaintiff, you are expected to establish that the defendant did not honor his or her duty of care given the circumstances surrounding the accident.
In the claim case, you will be required to give proof supporting your losses and that they are as a result of the negligence conduct or actions of the defendant. Never assume that because you were the one who was knocked and injured, the case is straightforward. You might share some degree of responsibility for the accident, and this can impact the outcomes of your claim case.
Comparative negligence is something that some attorneys will employ when handling Macon pedestrian accidents. The motorist at fault might allege that you as the pedestrian were not attentive when walking, and thus, you stepped into the crosswalk or the road without looking out for oncoming traffic. If the court established a shared fault for the accident, then the awarded amount will be based on the degree of responsibility. You will be eligible for compensation if your level of fault for the accident is below 50%.
But you will lose a percentage of the compensation awarded based on your degree of fault. For instance, if your fault is found to be at 30% and the awarded amount is $100,000, then you will lose 30,000 of the compensation and receive $70,000.
If you are keen on lowering your degree of responsibility for the accident, you will need the assistance of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Macon. Our attorneys will investigate the incident, gather enough evidence, including eyewitness statements and police reports, to put together a winning strategy for your lawsuit. The information collected by your lawyer will help show that the driver – the defendant – is entirely liable for your injuries.
Is There A Time Limit For When To File A Lawsuit After A Pedestrian Accident?
You will have 2 years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. But keep in mind that the period can be short. You should consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to know which step you should take. Out lawyers at Calvin Smith Law will even help ensure you get the right medical attention and that you are on the right path to recovery as they pursue the compensation case on your behalf.
Why Should I Call A Macon Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
The fact that you have little to protect you when walking down a street in Macon is the primary reason for contacting a good pedestrian accident lawyer. Your injuries might be severe and will become an expensive and perhaps prolonged medical nightmare. You might even be mourning the untimely demise of a loved one. Bouncing back from such pain and trauma takes time, and this is time that will not be on your side. That is why acting quickly and setting the ball rolling for the legal side of things is essential to ensuring you are compensated for your losses.
If your woes are because of another person’s negligent behavior or conduct, then you should hold the parties responsible for their actions. You are rightly entitled to seek compensation, but getting what you duly deserve can prove to be a challenge. You will face stiff opposition from the insurance companies as they fight to discredit your claim, try and lower it, or deny you what you are entitled to receive. They might even shift all the blame or some part of it onto you.
By enlisting the services of our accomplished Macon personal injury lawyers, you will have a better chance of getting full compensation. Calvin Smith Law will be there to help you, to even the playing field, and make sure that justice is served. Our mission will be to:
- Protect your rights and preserve your innocence in the matter
- Work with different experts in Macon today to help determine what your case is worth.
- Investigate the accident to figure out what happened and who is at fault
- Help you seek compensation for your losses.
- Face the insurance companies and ensure they take your claim seriously
Our legal experts will take an aggressive approach when defending your rights and ensuring you are compensated. We are here for you. Call our law offices today at (404) 383-7552 to book a free consultation.