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Pedestrian Accidents: Legal Rights and Recourse for Injured Walkers

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Pedestrians crossing the street.
March 12, 2024

Each time pedestrians walk across the street at an intersection, there is a risk of being hit by a moving vehicle. Although the Georgia Department of Transportation has been actively trying to keep pedestrians safe with pedestrian safety programs, statistics indicate that accidents keep increasing. 

In fact, during just 2022, there were 548 accidents in Atlanta that involved a person who was either walking, biking, or rolling when struck. Please know that if you have been the victim of a pedestrian accident, our hearts go out to you; you are not just a statistic to Hoffspiegel Law.

If you or your loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian accident, you may be facing costly medical bills due to suffering severe injuries. Since you likely have many questions about your legal rights to seek compensation for damages, you can bring them to our law firm for answers – or keep reading to get an idea of the recourse available to you.

Identifying Potentially Liable Parties 

One potentially liable party could be the driver of the car since most pedestrian accidents involve being struck by a motor vehicle while crossing the street. 

The driver of the car could be found liable for damages if he or she engaged in some type of negligent driving, such as the following:

  • Distracted driving: Using a cell phone, applying makeup, and eating and drinking are all forms of distracted driving which can cause pedestrians to be struck while walking and sustain severe injuries
  • Reckless driving: Drivers who ignore safe speeds in traffic, tailgate, or run stop signs and red lights show disregard for the safety of pedestrians
  • Driving under the influence: A car driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts pedestrians at risk since his or her judgment is impaired
  • Drowsy driving: Lack of proper rest and side effects from some medications can cause a driver to feel sleepy at the wheel, which makes him or her unaware of pedestrians in crosswalks

There may be other potentially liable parties involved, which may not be so obvious immediately following a pedestrian accident, including:

  • The manufacturer: If a faulty car part is discovered to have caused the accident, the manufacturer could be found liable
  • An employer: If a driver disregards traffic laws, such as by exceeding the speed limit due to pressure from an employer to meet deadlines, then the employer may also be liable for damages
  • A municipality: If poorly maintained roads caused a driver to lose control of the car and hit a pedestrian, the municipality could be held liable; the same would be true if pedestrians trip and fall due to potholes, cracks, or other hazardous conditions in a crosswalk or sidewalk

Of course, this list is not comprehensive. No two pedestrian accidents are alike. Having the assistance of an experienced lawyer can go a long way toward isolating the cause of the pedestrian accident and pursuing compensation from all liable parties.

Be Aware of Your Legal Options 

If you have been in a pedestrian accident, you have the legal right to pursue the at-fault party for compensation. After hiring an attorney, the first step towards resolution would be for your legal team to perform a thorough investigation. 

The goal of investigating is to gather the facts and find all potentially liable parties. Once the facts have been discovered, your lawyer can file an accident claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, along with a demand letter explaining why the responsible party is liable. The letter would also specify what type of compensation is being sought for damages.

If you are contacted by an insurance company, there are some points to keep in mind when speaking with the adjuster. Insurance companies look to minimize the amount of your claim and could use your words against you, so you must remember: 

  • Don’t admit fault
  • Keep your words brief
  • Don’t mention details of the accident or injuries
  • Don’t agree to a quick settlement

If the insurance adjuster refuses to negotiate a fair settlement with your attorney, or if the amount of damages exceeds the limits of the policy, then the pedestrian accident case will go to trial. This means that the details regarding the pedestrian accident would be discussed in court and a judge or jury would decide the outcome. 

Modified comparative negligence

Georgia is one of the states that has adopted the law of modified comparative negligence. This means that if a pedestrian is found to be partially at fault, then the liable party has to pay a reduced amount of compensation. 

For example, if it is found that a pedestrian did not cross safely, such as crossing on a “Do Not Walk” signal or even failing to use the crosswalk, then he or she could share part of the blame, thus reducing the percentage of liability of the at-fault party. 

Unfortunately, an insurance company may try to use the law of comparative negligence to try to reduce the amount of your claim – but a lawyer can help mitigate the consequences of their efforts.

Hit-and-run accidents 

If a pedestrian has been struck and the motor vehicle driver attempts to flee, the victim should attempt to get the license plate number. This would help the police to locate the offender. If it is not possible to obtain the license plate number, an attorney can explain the legal action the pedestrian might pursue to receive compensation. 

Why the Assistance a Personal Injury Lawyer Is Greatly Needed 

In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the change in your circumstances. You may be tempted to take a quick settlement offer from the insurance adjuster in an effort to move forward with your life. But don’t be fooled. 

Insurance adjusters are skillful at negotiating a quick settlement for a lower amount than what you would likely be entitled to receive. Once you accept the offer, any unexpected injuries that may later appear or long-term medical expenses must be paid for by you. Why go that route? 

Let the legal warriors of Hoffspiegel Law fight on your behalf and get you the settlement you are entitled to receive. The legal process is much easier with an experienced team to guide you through to a fair resolution. Pick up the phone and call (404) 760-8600 or click the Contact Us for a free consultation with us to learn more about how we can help.