Pedestrian Safety in Georgia
There has recently been a spike in pedestrian deaths in the state of Georgia. It’s vital for pedestrians to exercise care when walking near traffic and to know their rights in the event a motorist injures them. It’s also important to understand the laws for pedestrian safety in the state.
State law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians, even on green lights. Pedestrians essentially always have the right of way. Despite this, pedestrians must exercise care when crossing any street and try to cross only at designated crosswalks when traffic signals indicate it is safe to do so.
Drivers must also be mindful of their speeds while driving. Speed limits are typically lower in areas with more pedestrian traffic, such as metropolitan centers and residential areas. Pedestrians are far more likely to die when hit by a car at higher speeds. According to Georgia statistics, nine out of every 10 pedestrians struck by a car traveling at 20 miles per hour will survive, compared to only five out of 10 hit by cars traveling at 30 miles per hour, and only one of 10 hit by cars driving at 40 miles per hour.
Potential Pedestrian Injuries
Any motor vehicle collision can cause serious injuries to those involved, but pedestrians typically incur much more serious injuries, as they have no protection. Some of the injuries pedestrians suffer in collisions include:
- Broken bones, which may necessitate surgery
- Spinal cord injuries that can have permanent effects, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions or penetrating wounds from debris
- Crushing injuries, if the pedestrian is pinned between the vehicle and another surface or object
- Heavy abrasions from sliding on the roadway
- Wrongful death
This is not an exhaustive list, and many pedestrians face life-threatening injuries when a car strikes them. If a driver injures you or a loved one while traveling on foot, it’s important to understand your rights and know what options are available to you for compensation.
As it is in any personal injury case, proving negligence on part of the defendant (the person being sued) is crucial to winning the case. The plaintiff (the person suing) must establish several facts in order for the court to rule in his or her favor:
- The defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care while operating their vehicle.
- The defendant breached this duty by some action or inaction.
- This breach of duty to act with reasonable care directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
It’s important to keep in mind that the state of Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence law, meaning the plaintiff may have the amount of damages reduced by their percentage of fault in the incident. In this state, if the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault for the incident, he or she cannot claim damages.
Once you recover from your injuries, you’ll want to obtain a medical report detailing the exact injuries you suffered and their effects. You will also need a police report for the accident. These two documents will be crucial to winning a personal injury case against a negligent driver. Retaining the services of a reliable and experienced personal injury attorney will also greatly improve your chances of winning your case.
At Roden + Love LLC, Eric Roden and Tyler Love believe that negligent drivers need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict on others. If a motor vehicle injures you or a loved one while walking, it’s important to know your rights and secure the services of a legal team that will fight on your behalf. Contact us for a free case evaluation.