Critical Facts about Georgia Pedestrian-Motor Accidents
Almost ten percent of motor vehicle accident fatalities in Georgia in a typical year involve pedestrians, according to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety in Georgia. Further, the counties that constitute the Atlanta metro area provide the biggest risk with 42 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurring in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett and Bibb counties. With this in mind, consider the following statistics:
Who are the most likely victims of collisions between cars and pedestrians?
While children and the elderly are not the only victims that suffer catastrophic injuries or wrongful death in pedestrian accidents, they are the most common victims. Approximately one in six pedestrian accidents involve a child age 14 or below according to Traffic Safety Facts published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In fact, pedestrian fatalities account for twenty percent of traffic-related deaths involving children under 14 according to this source. Because kids have less experience with traffic generally and a less mature ability to judge speed and distance, they are more likely to misjudge whether it is safe to enter the roadway.
Elderly pedestrians are the next most likely group to be run down by a motor vehicle driver. According to Traffic Safety Fact, approximately 16 percent of those who die in pedestrian collisions are age 65 or above. While there are a range of theories that explain the increased risk faced by elderly pedestrians that include diminished vision and hearing, elderly pedestrian also may take longer to cross the street placing them in harm's way for a longer period of time.
Who is legally responsible for my injuries if I am hit by a driver while crossing the street at an intersection when the driver runs a red light or stop sign?
While the driver of the vehicle may be the most obvious negligent party in this situation, there may be other parties who also bear some degree of financial responsibility for the pedestrian accident. The vehicle manufacturer may bear responsibility if a defect in the vehicle contributed to the collision. For example, the vehicle brakes may have malfunctioned. The public entity responsible for the roadway may be liable if it failed to take adequate measures to correct hazards that it knew or should have known posed an unreasonable risk to pedestrians. For example, public entities may fail to take remedial measures at an intersection where a series of pedestrian accidents occur because a stop sign is obstructed or the speed limit is too high for vehicles approaching a blind intersection.
What are common defenses used by insurance companies in claims and lawsuits involving pedestrian-motor accident claims?
The most common defense used by insurance companies that is specific to pedestrian accidents involves the "darting child defense" or some version of this strategy. The theory is basically that a pedestrian entered the roadway in a place that the driver would not have expected, such as the middle of a block, and ran into traffic. The insurance company lawyers will argue that the driver had no time to take evasive action because the pedestrian stepped right out in front of the vehicle. This defense is most commonly employed when the pedestrian is a child because it is harder for motorists to see a child who darts out from between parked vehicles. In reality, insurance companies often attempt to employ this defense while using the term "dart" very liberally because the motorist had more than enough time to stop if he or she had been paying attention and driving at a safe speed.
Contact the Fulton County Auto Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates Now!
If you or someone you love has been involved in a pedestrian collision in Georgia, our Atlanta pedestrian accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.
Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.