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In Georgia, They’re More Complicated Than You Think!
In This Issue: Who Wins in the Case of Driver vs. Pedestrian?
If you get hit by a car, you might think your case against the driver for your injuries, loss of wages, and diminished quality of life is open and shut, but that’s far from the truth. According to a handful of statutes in Georgia law, cases of drivers versus pedestrians can go either way, depending on the specifics of the situation that led to the accident.
According to the 2018 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the total number of Georgia traffic deaths has decreased for two straight years, the number of pedestrian deaths in the state has gone up for a third straight year. There were 261 pedestrian fatalities in 2018, which is eight more than the 253 that occurred in 2017. Pedestrian deaths in Georgia have increased by 60 percent over the last five years.
Walking or Running on the Side of the Road
If there is a sidewalk alongside the road, then pedestrians are required by law to use it for walking and running. If there is no sidewalk, then you have to run or walk on the shoulder, as far away from the road as possible while not causing harm to yourself. If the road has no shoulder, then you should run or walk as close to the outside edge of the road as possible, always moving against traffic when the road has two lanes.
If a pedestrian is walking in the road, then they have to yield the right of way to any cars they encounter. However, this rule does come with a few stipulations and exceptions. Georgia drivers do have to exercise caution to avoid hitting pedestrians and warn them of oncoming traffic by honking their horns.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities occurred overwhelmingly after dark (76 percent), when many pedestrians had some alcohol in their systems (38 percent), and were not at intersections (74 percent; i.e., crossing in the middle of a street or road).
Pedestrians Involved in Fatal Accidents: Marietta vs The State of Georgia
Crossing the Road With and Without a Crosswalk
Drivers must yield to pedestrians when they are crossing the road at designated crosswalks, at least until they are done crossing the half of the road that the driver is using. However, if the pedestrian steps in front of a moving vehicle and leaves no time for the driver to properly yield, then the fault of the accident lies with the pedestrian.
Contrary to popular belief, it is actually perfectly legal to cross the road where there is no crosswalk, provided a few things are true. First, you have to yield to any oncoming traffic before crossing. Second, at intersections where traffic signals are operational on both sides of the street, you can’t cross anywhere except at the intersection itself. Third, you can’t cross the street diagonally — you must cross between the closest two points on either side of the street unless otherwise indicated by the crosswalk.
Whether you have a case for your accident depends on which of these laws were in play. For help navigating all the different factors, call GA Injury Advocates today at (770) 766-0555.