Pedestrians are 15 times more likely than vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash. Traffic accidents kill more than 4,700 pedestrians each year.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks, which means drivers must stop their vehicles and wait until pedestrians are safely across the street. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91. Even outside of crosswalks, drivers have a responsibility to watch out for pedestrians. If drivers speed through intersections, drive while distracted or under the influence of alcohol, or fail to yield to pedestrians, they can be held accountable for the injuries they cause.
Determining who is responsible for a pedestrian accident under Georgia law usually begins with the police report, but it doesn’t end there. We try to track down witnesses who may have seen what happened in the road. We knock on businesses’ doors to talk with employees who may have seen the incident. We’ll ask business owners in properties around the site of the pedestrian accident to preserve surveillance footage from cameras outside their establishments. We leave no stone unturned as we investigate what happened to our clients.
Pedestrian Rights under Georgia Law
Because pedestrians are vulnerable, there are some specific rights granted to all pedestrians in Georgia. The law requires that drivers watch out for pedestrians and exercise “due care” to avoid them—even outside of crosswalks. Further, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians using a crosswalk, and pedestrians have the right-of-way on sidewalks.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91: pedestrians have the right-of-way in Georgia crosswalks
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92: pedestrians entering the roadway outside of a crosswalk must yield to vehicles, “
unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway”
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-22: pedestrians with the “WALK” sign have the right-of-way
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144: vehicles emerging from an alley, building, private road, or driveway must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-203: drivers must not park their vehicles on sidewalks or crosswalks
Insurance Coverage for Georgia Pedestrian Accidents
Georgia law allows many types of insurance policies to cover pedestrian accidents. Usually, the first type of insurance coverage to apply is auto insurance.
The insurance of the driver who caused the pedestrian accident usually pays first. If that insurance policy isn’t large enough to compensate the pedestrian for his or her injuries, then other liability insurance may come into play. For instance, the at-fault driver may have a personal umbrella policy. Or, if the at-fault driver was acting in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the pedestrian accident, then under Georgia law, the employer may bear responsibility under the principles of respondeat superior or vicarious liability. In that case, the business’s insurance policy (often a “commercial general liability” or “CGL” policy) may provide coverage.
If there isn’t enough liability insurance to cover the pedestrian’s injuries from the accident, then often, the pedestrian’s own uninsured or underinsured motorist (“UM”) may step in. (Even though UM insurance is auto insurance, it can cover pedestrian accidents in Georgia.) If that still isn’t enough, then under Georgia law, the UM insurance policies of “resident relatives” may be available under O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11.
In other words, there are many different types of insurance policies that can cover a pedestrian accident in Georgia. We have been happy, on many occasions, to find insurance policies that our clients didn’t even know they had.
Georgia Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, we can’t take your pain away. What we can do is build a plan and determine the best way to recover for your losses. We have reached favorable settlements for victims of pedestrian accidents and, where needed, won jury verdicts in pedestrian injury cases.
In pedestrian accident cases, it is important to move fast so that the attorney can gather any evidence from the scene of the collision (like vehicle debris or surveillance videos) and find eyewitnesses (before their phone numbers change or they move away). That’s why it’s important to choose the right lawyer for your first call.
Alternative Transportation in Georgia: Motorcycles, Bicycles, Scooters, and Pedestrians
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