Pedestrian Accidents in Atlanta Intersections at Crosswalks
Atlanta intersections can be very dangerous places for pedestrians because they have relatively no protection when they are struck by a motor vehicle. While crosswalks are intended to be a safe haven for those who are on foot, many within this protected area are struck by motorists who fail to pay adequate attention or to drive safely. The vulnerability of those in crosswalks means that the risk of serious permanent injury and wrongful death is extremely high when crosswalk pedestrian accidents occur.
Many drivers are unaware that Georgia law requires that motorists not only yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, but also stop and remain stopped until the pedestrian has completely crossed the roadway, as well as when the pedestrian is approaching the lane that the pedestrian is approaching. This means that motorists are prohibited from placing pedestrians at risk by cutting off, squeezing by or driving around a pedestrian in a crosswalk. However, pedestrians are also barred from leaving the curb and entering a crosswalk when it is impractical for a motorist to stop.
Most crosswalk accidents involving pedestrians are caused by some form of negligence by the driver because motorists are required to remain stopped until the pedestrian has finished crossing the street. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence that lead to crosswalk collisions at intersections include:
• Motorists impaired by intoxicating substances
• Drivers violating the speed limit or traveling too quickly for road or weather conditions
• Elderly drivers lacking the physical or mental capacity to drive safely
• Drivers racing through yellow lights
• Distracted drivers using cell phones or otherwise not focusing attention on their driving
• Reckless drivers
• Lack of alertness in looking for small children crossing the street
• Unsafe passing near crosswalks
• Motorists struggling with glare from the sun
• Red light and stop sign violations
• Failing to keep proper lookout before executing a turn
When motorists violate the traffic safety rules regarding their duty to stop at crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing the street, drivers might be considered to be financially responsible based on the legal principle of "negligence per se." This legal theory provides that someone may be determined to be strict liable for violating a public safety statute, such as the provision that requires drivers to remain stopped when pedestrians are approaching or in a crosswalk.
Insurance companies recognize that their insured faces a high risk of being determined to be strictly liable or at least negligent when running down a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Therefore, the insurance company will typically argue that the pedestrian departed the curb too suddenly for their insured to react or that the extent of the injuries suffered are far less severe than what is being claimed by the pedestrian.
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