Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Crosswalk Pedestrian Accidents
Whether you are an adult or child crossing the street in a crosswalk, it is a zone specifically designed for the safety of pedestrians. Although there should be no safer area of roadway for pedestrians, people both young and old are struck by vehicles in crosswalks across the U.S. on an almost daily basis. Georgia and the Atlanta-Metro area have repeatedly been included in the Top 10 on lists of the most dangerous cities and states for pedestrians.
Our state was the location of over 176 pedestrian deaths in 2013, which amounts to almost 15 percent of all traffic-related deaths in Georgia during that same year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Approximately twenty percent of all pedestrian accidents occur in intersections, and many of these have crosswalks that often offer the false hope of pedestrian safety.
If you or someone close to you is struck by a vehicle in a crosswalk, you need to understand both the law and your rights. A basic starting point is O.C.G.A. § 40-16-91 which essentially provides that "a driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk" if a pedestrian is within the crosswalk or approaching. As the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety website clearly explains, vehicles must "stop and stay stopped for pedestrians, not just yield to them."
However, the provision also imposes a duty on pedestrians to safeguard their own safety by exercising common sense at crosswalks. This exercise of caution means a pedestrian should "not leave a curb or other place of safety" and enter the path of a vehicle such that it is nearly impossible for the motorist to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
When drivers fail to exercise a duty of care at a crosswalk by not obeying the Georgia Rules of the Road, including keeping a lookout for walkers, joggers and bicyclists, these violations can constitute negligent conduct. The most common forms of negligent driving that cause pedestrian crosswalk accidents involve the following, among others:
- Failing to obey traffic lights and signs
- Traveling at an unsafe speed
- Inattentive driving and multi-tasking behind the wheel
- Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Driving without making adjustments for traffic, road conditions, and weather
- Disobeying rules regarding right of way or obligation to yield
Motorists owe an even higher duty of care to child pedestrians because of their youth, inexperience with traffic and more limited ability to judge time, distance and speed.
Insurance companies typically defend these cases vigorously because the potential liability of their insured drivers can be substantial. The vulnerability of pedestrians to severe injuries that frequently result in permanent disability and disfigurement likely causes insurers to have financial incentive to aggressively pursue a defense verdict or low settlement. Insurance carriers commonly use tactics like blaming the pedestrian for suddenly "darting" into traffic or disputing the severity of the plaintiff's injuries. Injury victims who hire an experienced Personal Injury Attorney can increase their chances of a successful settlement or judgment because a lawyer can evaluate the facts and circumstances of what happened as well as take the necessary steps to protect the victim's rights.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Experience to Work For Your Claim!
If you have been run down in a crosswalk by a careless or distracted driver, our lawyers are committed to pursuing a positive outcome for our clients. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries in Atlanta and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and 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.