Walking is typically a safe activity, but you could be risking your life when you stroll along the roadside or cross the street. Pedestrians are frequently struck by cars in Augusta, often with tragic consequences.
Even a minor accident at a slow speed can put you in the hospital, and a more serious accident can alter your life forever. But you don’t have to pay for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Instead, talk to an Augusta pedestrian accident lawyer.
Our legal team at John Foy & Associates knows how to get results. Let us give you a free consultation to answer your questions and explain how we can help you.
What Are Some of the Reasons Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
Often, pedestrian accidents are caused by careless drivers who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. As a result, people walking on the street can suffer catastrophic injuries. Some of the main reasons pedestrian accidents occur include:
- Distracted driving: Cell phones have become a major source of distraction for negligent drivers who are preoccupied with texting, checking email, looking at a GPS, or talking on the phone. A car’s passengers, control knobs for the car’s stereo or heating and cooling system, or things along the side of the road can also compete for a driver’s attention. Distracted drivers are less likely to be aware of pedestrians.
- Speeding: When drivers exceed the posted speed, they increase the rate and the severity of pedestrian accidents. The faster a vehicle travels, the longer it will take to stop in an emergency, and the greater the likelihood it will cause severe or fatal injuries.
- Not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks: Drivers are supposed to stop and yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing on a “walk” signal or crossing in a crosswalk within one lane of the lane driver is traveling in. Crosswalk accidents are especially common when cars turn right on red.
- Not checking behind the vehicle when backing up: Small children are often the victims of accidents when someone backs out of the driveway. Children could also lose their ball in a neighbor’s driveway and suffer severe injuries when the driver backs out.
- Drunk driving: Drunk drivers may fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks or weave onto the shoulder of the road, striking people walking along the roadside.
No matter how the accident happened, the person whose carelessness caused it is liable for your injuries. That means the person must pay ALL of your costs, no matter how minor or serious your injuries are. Our pedestrian accident lawyers in Augusta, GA, can help you recover the financial compensation you need to cover your costs.
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How Is Fault Established in a Pedestrian Accident?
Four elements of negligence must be present in a pedestrian accident to be eligible to file a compensation claim. A pedestrian accident lawyer in Augusta, GA, can help you prove the following elements:
Duty of Care
The duty of care is a legal obligation that requires people to act with precaution to avoid causing harm. Drivers, for example, have a duty of care to ensure that they operate their vehicles safely and responsibly, taking measures to avoid collisions and minimize the risk of injury to pedestrians.
In any situation where someone could suffer harm or injuries, a duty of care applies. Your personal injury attorney must prove this as the first element.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second element that must be present is a breach of the duty of care. This means the party failed to follow the duty of care by ignoring it or performing a negligent action that risks harm. In the context of pedestrian accidents, someone can breach the duty of care in many ways.
For example, if a property manager fails to remove a hazard, such as a spill on the sidewalk, and the property owner knows there is a hazard, you could hold them accountable for your injuries.
As a result of the breach of the duty of care, you must have suffered injuries. To connect your injuries to the negligent party’s breach of duty, we’ll use evidence such as accident scene photos, police reports, medical records, and witnesses’ testimonies.
The general rule for connecting your injuries to the liable party’s actions is that you wouldn’t have suffered injuries if the liable party hadn’t acted negligently.
As a result of your injuries, you must have suffered financial and non-financial damages. Your personal injury attorney in Augusta can help identify what damages you’re eligible for in a free initial consultation. If your pedestrian accident in Augusta, GA, has all four elements of negligence, you can file a personal injury claim.
How Long do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?
In Georgia, you have limited time to file a claim for fair compensation. You have two years to file a pedestrian accident claim. It’s important that you file your claim as soon as you can to ensure you are eligible for maximum compensation.
Even though the statute of limitations only gives you two years, depending on the details of your pedestrian accident, you may have longer to file. A pedestrian accident lawyer in Augusta, GA, from our legal team, can tell you exactly how long you have to file.
However, if you miss the deadline, you cannot collect compensation for your injuries. Instead, you’ll have to pay your expenses out of pocket. This can be incredibly stressful and put you into medical debt.
What Can I Recover Damages for After a Pedestrian Accident?
You can recover money if you have an injury caused by a pedestrian accident in Augusta-Richmond County. Our clients who suffered severe injuries while walking have been able to recover several types of damage:
- Special damages are awarded for “economic” losses or things that have a monetary cost that can be calculated. This includes medical expenses, physical therapy, lost wages, property damage, and funeral expenses in the event of a fatality.
- General damages are awarded for “non-economic” losses or the effects of the accident that are harder to describe and put a dollar value on. This includes chronic pain, emotional distress, adjusting to life with a disability, inability to do what you used to do, loss of consortium, and mental health issues stemming from the accident. The amount you receive in general damages after a serious accident can be significant.
- If a drunk driver caused your accident, you might be eligible for a third category of damages known as “punitive damages.” The amount of these damages isn’t related to your losses. Instead, punitive damages are awarded to you by the local courts to punish behavior that the state wants to discourage, in this case, drinking and driving.
- If you lost someone close to you in a pedestrian accident, you might be able to recover “wrongful death” damages for the life that was lost. Of course, money can never replace a precious human life, but wrongful death damages can help the family find a way forward after an unthinkable loss.
You may be eligible for additional damages depending on the severity of your injuries.
How Should You Deal With the Insurance Company After a Pedestrian Accident?
Our team of pedestrian accident lawyers in Augusta, GA, has been around insurance companies long enough to know they don’t have your best interests at heart. They care far more about their profits than getting you the money you need to care for yourself. For this reason, we urge you to be very cautious when talking to the insurance adjusters, no matter how nice they seem.
Here are some guidelines on how to deal with the insurance company after a pedestrian accident:
- DO give the insurance company the basic facts about how your injury occurred, such as when and where it happened. Don’t offer additional information or speculate about how you were injured or whose fault it was. Don’t go into details about your injuries; say doctors are evaluating the injuries you suffered. And whatever you do, don’t apologize, take the blame, or suggest that you might have done anything wrong.
- DO NOT give the insurance company a recorded statement. A recorded statement is unnecessary to your claim, and there is no advantage to giving one, even if you think you have nothing to hide. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask confusing questions and push you for answers that will hurt your compensation claim. Once you say something on tape, it is very hard to change your statement.
- DO NOT take money from an insurance company or sign anything without talking to a personal injury lawyer first. Insurance companies almost always make a very low offer at first. If you take their check, you’ll also have to sign a release saying you won’t ever ask for any more money for your injuries. If you find out the check is too little to pay for everything, and it almost always is, you will be out of luck.
Dealing with the insurance company can be exhausting, but you can let your lawyer handle it. Just tell the insurance company you’re working with John Foy & Associates, and our pedestrian accident attorneys in Augusta, GA, will handle the rest. We’ll gather the relevant evidence you need to prove your claim.
Georgia Pedestrian Accidents Statistics
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety data, from 2011 to 2020, there were 2,092 pedestrian fatalities. In 2011 there were 130 fatalities, and as time went on, the numbers increased, and in 2020 there were 279 pedestrian fatalities. These statistics show that pedestrian accidents and fatalities are increasing significantly.
According to Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design report for 2022, Georgia ranks as the ninth most dangerous state for pedestrians. Georgia has 2.4 pedestrian fatalities per every 100,000 people.
Talk to an Augusta Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, our law practice is built on helping accident victims and their families. For more than two decades, we have been helping accident victims get the money they need to pay their medical bills, support their families, and begin to rebuild their lives.
We can help you, too, starting with our free, no-obligation consultation. If you decide to work with our pedestrian accident attorneys in Augusta, GA, we won’t charge a fee unless we get compensation on your behalf. Contact us by calling or filling out our contact form on our website for a free consultation.