In a car crash involving a pedestrian, it is typically believed that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not the case. Although drivers are responsible for most car-pedestrian collisions, pedestrians can be liable in some situations. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident in Atlanta, GA, it is best to consult an Atlanta car accident lawyer.
Fault in any car crash hinges on the determination of the duty of care, its breach, and associated losses. A driver owes a duty of care to others on the road. This duty constitutes observing traffic rules, obeying traffic signals, driving responsibly, and taking reasonable care in general not to hurt anyone.
A similar duty of care also rests with the pedestrians on or near the road. When determining negligence in a car-pedestrian collision, this duty of care will be examined to see if it was breached. Here is a look at some examples of a pedestrian’s duty of care.
Pedestrian’s Duty of Care
A pedestrian has a duty of care towards other vehicles, drivers, and persons on the road. This duty comprises of:
- Crossing a street only at a designated crosswalk
- Crossing at a designated crosswalk only when there’s a green light or the sign says “Walk”
- Walking at a suitable distance from the roadway
- Walking along the roadside or crossing a street while sober and alert
Keeping this duty of care in view, a pedestrian may be guilty of the breach of duty of care when:
- Jaywalking, or crossing a street without regard for the traffic rules
- Crossing in the middle of the street where there is no designated crosswalk and where a driver would typically not expect a pedestrian
- Crossing the street when the sign is red or says “Do Not Walk”
- Walking on the highways or causeways where pedestrians are not legally allowed
The breaches noted above can often result in accidents between a vehicle and a pedestrian. In the event of such a crash, the fault may lie partially or fully with the pedestrian. If the driver of the vehicle was not speeding, running a red light, driving under influence, or guilty of any other negligence, the pedestrian may be held fully at fault.
In such a case, the pedestrian will not be able to recover any compensatory damages from the driver. However, if the pedestrian was negligent but the driver was also acting negligently, the pedestrian may be able to recover partial compensation.
Shared Fault in Car-Pedestrian Accident
In most cases where a pedestrian may be at fault, a drive also typically shares some blame. This is because an alert driver is not likely to hit a pedestrian unless the pedestrian rushed onto the roadway. Most drivers can avoid a collision if they are driving alertly and at a safe speed. So for practical purposes, a pedestrian is very rarely considered fully at fault.
In a shared fault car crash, the fault is distributed between all the at-fault parties in proportion to their degree of negligence. If a pedestrian was jaywalking and a driver was speeding, for instance, the pedestrian may be held 40% at fault. This means that the driver will be considered 60% at fault.
Georgia’s Comparative Fault Rule
When more than one party is responsible for a personal injury incident, Georgia’s comparative fault rule is applied. Under this rule, you can seek damages as an injured pedestrian only when your percentage of fault is 49% or less. If you are found to be 50% or more at fault in an accident, you are legally barred from any compensation.
If your percentage of fault is less than 50%, your amount of compensation will be reduced in proportion to your fault. For instance, if you were originally entitled to $10,000 but were found 30% at fault, you will end up receiving $7,000.
Why Hire an Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
If you have been hurt in a pedestrian car crash, the at-fault driver may claim that you were entirely to blame for the crash. This can effectively prevent you from getting any damages to cover the medical costs of your injury and other losses from the car crash.
Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we help pedestrians injured in Atlanta crashes seek the maximum amount of damages. In doing so, we help you show how the other party was at fault and get compensation even when you were partially responsible for the car crash. Reach out to us now to discuss your Atlanta pedestrian accident with our lawyers.