Getting hit by a car while you’re walking is a devastating experience. Pedestrians don’t have the protection of two-ton-plus vehicles like drivers, so the accident can cause serious and even life-threatening injuries, not to mention costly medical bills and missed work time. Thankfully, as a pedestrian in an accident, you have legal rights in Georgia.
Pedestrians often face unfair blame after an accident on the roads. The driver involved, and sometimes the responding police officers, assume you caused the accident by walking somewhere you weren’t supposed to. Read on to learn more about your rights after a Georgia pedestrian accident.
What Rights Do I Have As a Pedestrian After an Accident in Georgia?
If you are injured in the accident, which is incredibly likely if you were hit by a car as a pedestrian, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your damages. You can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
According to Ga. Code § 40-6-91, all drivers in Georgia must come to a complete stop when pedestrians are present on a crosswalk and anywhere on the roadway the vehicle is traveling on (or within one lane of that roadway). This is a part of the duty of care drivers must abide by.
This has changed from Georgia laws in 1995 that only required drivers to yield to people in crosswalks. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to follow the updated law due to carelessness or distracted driving.
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Am I at Fault if I Was Jaywalking?
Many people do not realize that “jaywalking” means nothing in the scope of Georgia traffic laws. Jaywalking refers to a pedestrian illegally crossing a street (outside a crosswalk). However, this is a myth.
Walking across a street without a crosswalk is legal if you yield to traffic there. However, crossing the road does become illegal if:
- You cross a road with traffic light intersections on each side of your crossing per Ga. Code § 40-6-92.
- You do not cross the road straight across, utilizing the shortest distance you can.
As a pedestrian, you must also avoid suddenly walking or running into the path of a vehicle when it is close enough and won’t have enough time to yield.
How To Identify Crosswalks for Pedestrians
Most intersections have crosswalks, even if they are not clearly shown with the traditional white lines. According to Ga. Code § 40-1-1, a crosswalk can refer to any area of a road at an intersection within the boundaries of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on the opposing sides of the road.
It can also mean any roadway area specifically indicated for pedestrians with crossing lines or green and white crosswalk signs.
What Injuries Can I Suffer After I Am Hit in a Pedestrian Accident?
After a car hits you, you’re likely to sustain severe injuries, depending on how the car hit you. Common injuries in pedestrian accidents include:
- Internal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
After you’re injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. A medical professional can diagnose any injuries you may have that aren’t showing symptoms yet.
What Damages Can I Recover After Getting Hit By a Car?
You can file a claim for compensation for any losses you experience resulting from the pedestrian accident and your injuries. For pedestrian accident settlements, those losses can include:
- Medical expenses like doctor visits, hospital bills, and prescription medications
- Travel to and from your doctor appointments
- Lost wages from missed work time
- Loss of quality of life
- Physical therapy
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage if any personal property was damaged in the accident
- Pain and suffering damages, such as emotional trauma, scarring, or disfigurement
- Punitive damages, if applicable
Biases are common against those who were hit by a car while walking. The driver or their insurance company may try to pin some of the blame on you, saying you walked in front of the vehicle or were not paying attention to where you were going.
You must protect your rights by gathering evidence of the accident, keeping track of all your expenses, seeing a doctor as soon as possible, and contacting a Georgia pedestrian accident lawyer immediately to take legal action.
You Must File a Personal Injury Claim Before Time Runs Out
If you get hit by a car while crossing the street, you can file a lawsuit against the liable party. However, you should start immediately to take advantage of that right. Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for pedestrian accident victims to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Failing to file your lawsuit on time can negate your right to compensation. Additionally, other factors in your case may limit the time you have to file. The best way to ensure that you don’t miss out on your chance to get the money you need is by hiring a pedestrian accident attorney immediately after your accident.
An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer can review your case and ensure that all your paperwork is filed on time so you don’t fall victim to any deadlines. If you don’t get in touch with an attorney, you could miss the deadline and have to pay out-of-pocket for your medical bills.
Your Insurance Company May Cover Your Damages
You may wonder about your options if you get hit by a driver who flees the scene and can not be tracked down. Fortunately, you are likely not out of luck in this situation. Even though you were a pedestrian at the time of the accident, there is a strong chance that your car insurance company will cover the damages.
Talk to your insurance provider to learn more about your coverage and if it includes protection for pedestrian accidents.
If your car insurance policy does not protect you in this situation, consider looking into your health insurance plan. While many health insurance plans do not provide coverage in the case of a car accident, some do. Check with your health insurance provider to find out if you have coverage.
Talk to a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer for Free Today
If you were injured after being hit by a car while walking, you have the legal right to financial recovery for your damages. However, you should not have to pay for the consequences of the driver’s negligence. John Foy & Associates can help.
We can begin investigating your case immediately, and there are no costs to you unless we win you money. So call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and discuss the details of your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to take your call.