If you are a pedestrian and you were hit by a car in Georgia, you have the same right to compensation as anyone else hurt in a car accident. However, the process will work slightly differently for you than it would for someone in a car, because unlike a motorist, it’s unlikely that you have an insurance policy that covers your injury. Nonetheless, you still have a right to be compensated for your injuries.
Here is how the process works in Georgia:
- Police and insurance adjusters will work to determine who is at fault in the accident. As a pedestrian, in most cases you are not at fault.
- If the driver is found to be at fault, their insurance will pay for your injuries and all other losses—such as time missed at work. This is known as a financial recovery.
As with all car accident claims, pedestrians should not expect insurance companies to pay a fair amount unless they face legal pressure to do so. It’s a good idea to talk to a pedestrian accident attorney.
Are pedestrians ever considered to be at fault?
Fault is the backbone of all car accident cases in Georgia. Generally, the person who is at fault—the one who caused the accident, whether intentionally or simply by being careless—is the one who is liable for the costs. Normally, their insurance pays these costs for them.
As a pedestrian, the good news is that it’s rare for you to be found at fault. Here’s why:
- Vehicles are normally supposed to yield to pedestrians in Georgia. In many cases, pedestrians have the right of way.
- Even if you were not at a crosswalk, or were “jaywalking,” the vehicle should have stopped for you if possible.
- Cars entering or exiting driveways, parking lots, garages, etc. are supposed to stop and look for pedestrians before pulling onto the sidewalk or roadway.
- In areas where there are no sidewalks, it is generally legal for you to walk on the roadway, as long as you are off to the side.
The bottom line is: whether you were on the road legally or illegally, drivers are supposed to slow down and stop for pedestrians. If a driver was able to do this and did not, they are likely to be found either fully at fault, or at least partly at fault for hitting you.
The rare exception is a pedestrian who runs suddenly into the roadway without warning. Cars should still stop for the pedestrian, but it’s not always possible in time. If this is what happened, the pedestrian may be at fault. However, insurance companies (and drivers) will often claim you ran into the street suddenly even if you did not.
Never accept blame for an accident you didn’t cause. If you are being blamed, or are worried you might be, talk to a lawyer.
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What are my compensation rights as a pedestrian in Georgia?
Once the driver is found to be at fault, they or their insurance company will be liable for all of the following costs:
- Your medical bills
- Any property of yours that was damaged
- Other costs, like time missed at work due to your injuries
- In some cases they will have to pay you additional money for pain and suffering. This is normal in accidents involving serious injuries.
Be aware that insurance companies may try to reduce the amount they owe you, downplay how severe your injuries are, or outright refuse to pay if they think they can get away with it. But they do not have the final say. A lawyer can negotiate with them and, in many cases, force them to pay the amount they truly owe.
Even if the driver does not have insurance, they can be ordered to pay you the money owed out of pocket. This may involve paying slowly over time, but you still have a right to get your damages paid. It’s also possible that an insurance policy of your own may apply to the situation, even if you were on foot. A lawyer can help you determine which policies may cover you in your particular case.
John Foy & Associates can help you. Our legal team has over 20 years of experience helping pedestrians win cases, get paid, and get the full amount they deserve. Don’t face the insurance company alone—or an angry driver. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get a FREE consultation today.