Like cars, motorcyclists, trucks and bicyclists, a pedestrian must follow the rules of the road. Like any other injury case, a pedestrian must show that another person is at fault before he or she may recover for injuries. Pedestrian cases require immediate investigation so as to preserve key evidence. Witnesses should be interviewed so as document their version of events while it is fresh in their memory. Photos should be taken of the scene in case it is later altered due to road construction. An open records request should be sent to the police and 911 so as to obtain any video or audio footage of the incident. Experts, such as an accident reconstructionist, should be hired in any case involving catastrophic injuries or death.
Rules of the Road
Georgia law has rules regarding the rights of pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way when approaching or entering a crosswalk. All drivers are required to yield to pedestrians and should not attempt to squeeze by, cut through or drive around a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Crosswalk cases are usually straightforward and blame can easily be determined so long as a pedestrian can show that they were struck while in the crosswalk. The rules of the road change when a pedestrian attempts to cross a road without using a crosswalk. In these situations, the pedestrian has to give the right of way to other vehicles, unless he or she has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway. These cases are much more difficult because both the pedestrian and the other party could be found at fault for causing the accident.
Fault on Part of the Pedestrian
In some cases, both the pedestrian and the driver of a vehicle may be at fault. Georgia utilizes a comparative fault system to determine if a pedestrian can recover for his or her injuries. Comparative fault works in the following manner:
Example A: Pedestrian is 51% or more at fault – no recovery (even if the driver is found to be at fault).
Example B: Pedestrian is 0% at fault – pedestrian can seek full recovery.
Example C: Pedestrian is 25% at fault – pedestrian’s financial recovery is reduced by his or her fault. In this case, the recovery would be reduced by 25%.