I Hit a Pedestrian Driving, Now What Do I Do?
Published in Car Accidents,Pedestrian Accident Crosswalk Requirement and Exceptions on April 27, 2020.
The state of Georgia is primarily a motorist state. Very few areas see high rates of foot traffic on a daily basis. However, pedestrians can legally walk along most roadways and some choose to do so. If you are involved in a pedestrian-related car accident, knowing what to do in the aftermath can help protect your legal rights.
Pedestrian Laws in Georgia
Pedestrian laws vary from state to state. In Georgia, our laws place responsibility in the hands of both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers are responsible for stopping at crosswalks and taking reasonable actions to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Pedestrians are responsible for using crosswalks, sidewalks, and crossing lights (when available), and they are responsible for yielding to motor vehicle traffic on all other roads.
Specifically, pedestrian-related laws include the following:
- Around crosswalks, drivers should stop and wait for pedestrians to clear the roadway instead of yielding to them.
- Pedestrians cannot leave the side of the road and enter the roadway unexpectedly and so close to a driver that he or she cannot stop or yield.
- Drivers behind vehicles stopped for pedestrian traffic cannot pass the stopped vehicle.
- Pedestrians who crossroads away from marked pedestrian crossings must yield to vehicle traffic.
- Jaywalking is not addressed in the Georgia Code. In other words, you can legally cross a road on foot unless otherwise directed.
The state uses a modified comparative fault system, meaning injured individuals can still pursue legal action even if they are partly at fault for the incident. Only individuals responsible for 50% or more of the contributing accident factors may not recover damages.
Take These Steps After a Pedestrian Accident
After a pedestrian accident, you may automatically assume you are at fault for the incident. In reality, the pedestrian may bear responsibility for part or all of the accident if he or she was not safely crossing or walking along a roadway. Take these steps to protect yourself and your rights after a pedestrian-related car accident:
- Stop the vehicle and check for injuries. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. Stop your vehicle, assess your injuries, and assess the injuries of anyone involved in the incident. Unless the pedestrian is in a dire situation, avoid moving the individual or providing first aid.
- Contact emergency services. If anyone was seriously injured, dial 911 for emergency services. Then, contact the police for assistance and to file an accident report. When you are able to do so, contact your auto insurance provider to report the incident.
- Use caution when you speak about the incident. Take a deep breath. You may want to accept blame for the entire accident since you were in the vehicle. Avoid doing so. Many people involved in accidents may not remember the reality of what happened in the immediate aftermath. Stick with the facts, and tell the officer or insurance representative you aren’t sure if you can’t accurately remember something. Anything you say during this time may end up in a formal record and could hurt your case or your defense.
- Contact an attorney. Always contact an attorney after a pedestrian-related accident. If you were involved in criminal activity, such as drinking and driving, you will need a criminal defense attorney. A criminal or civil attorney will protect your rights and make sure the facts of the case are presented accurately during insurance negotiations and in any personal injury or criminal case.
- Drive with caution. After an accident, avoid speeding or engaging in any other reckless driving behavior the pedestrian may use to prove a pattern of negligence. While pedestrians have some responsibility, the greater burden for safety tends to fall on a driver’s shoulders.
In limited cases, you may have a civil case against the pedestrian. Pedestrians who behave negligently and cause accidents are responsible for the injuries and property damage they cause. Every pedestrian case is different. A personal injury attorney can guide you through the legal process and assist you with insurance, medical care, and more.