Jaywalking refers to the act of crossing a street outside of designated crosswalks or against the signal at an intersection.
While jaywalking is often seen as a minor offense, it can have serious consequences.
This is especially true if a vehicle strikes a pedestrian.
If you’re a pedestrian who sustained injuries in an accident while not in a crosswalk, you’re likely wondering, Can I sue if I was hit by a car while jaywalking?
Yes, you can sue for your injuries and other damages. However, suing a driver involved in a jaywalking accident doesn’t guarantee you will receive total compensation. That’s because every accident is unique. Your circumstances could result in no compensation at all.
Read on to learn more about pursuing damages for a jaywalking accident.
Jaywalking Law in Georgia
In Georgia, jaywalking is a violation of the state’s pedestrian laws. Pedestrians must use crosswalks or intersections whenever possible and obey traffic signals. Pedestrians must use sidewalks when available, and if there are no sidewalks, they must walk facing traffic. If a pedestrian crosses outside a crosswalk or against the signal, they could share fault for any resulting accident.
However, this does not mean that a pedestrian jaywalking and hit by a car in GA has no legal recourse. Sometimes, the driver may still be partially or fully responsible for the accident.
Examples include drivers who were:
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or
- Driving at excessive speeds.
Additionally, a driver who breaks other traffic laws can be liable. Examples include running a red light or stop sign. If a dangerous or poorly maintained road condition contributed to the accident, you might have additional recourse as a pedestrian.
What to Do After a Jaywalking Accident in Georgia
If you are hit while jaywalking, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health should always be your top priority, and seeking prompt medical attention can help document any relevant injuries. Call 911 to request emergency medical attention at the scene if you can. Otherwise, someone else will need to call the police.
In addition to seeking medical attention, gathering evidence to help build your case is essential. That includes eyewitness accounts, surveillance footage, or photos of the accident scene. Be sure to exchange information with the driver and get their insurance information. Report the accident to the driver’s insurance company. You’ll also want to request a copy of the police report once it’s available.
Contacting a pedestrian accident lawyer is also essential, especially if you were jaywalking at the time of the accident. You have legal rights, but the driver’s insurance company will try to blame you as much as possible, so they don’t have to pay compensation. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, so it is crucial to act fast. If your claim involves a government municipality, you might only have 90 days to bring an administrative claim.
Proving Negligence in Georgia
In Georgia, negligence laws play a crucial role in determining who is responsible for an accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.
To prove negligence in a personal injury case, you must show the following:
- The driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care;
- The driver breached this duty;
- The breach directly caused your injuries; and
- You suffered financial losses.
Drivers have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care when operating a vehicle on the road. This duty includes paying attention to the road, obeying traffic laws, and avoiding distractions. If a driver breaches this duty by texting while driving, for example, and hits a pedestrian crossing outside a crosswalk, the driver may have some negligence.
In addition to driver negligence, Georgia law also recognizes pedestrian negligence. When you cross outside a crosswalk or against the signal, you also share some responsibility for an accident. The driver’s insurance company will argue that your negligence for jaywalking exceeds the driver’s fault. The percentage of negligence determines whether you’ll collect any compensation at all.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Georgia
In Georgia, the statute for comparative negligence is found in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-12-33. This statute provides that a person who is 50% or more at fault for an accident cannot recover any damages. A person who is 49% or less at fault can recover damages, but their percentage of fault reduces their compensation.
For example, suppose you were jaywalking and 25% at fault for an accident that injured you. That means the maximum compensation you can recover is 75% of your total damages. If you are 50% at fault, you will receive nothing.
There are various scenarios where a pedestrian can be at fault for a car accident, including jaywalking.
Other ways in which a pedestrian can be at fault for a car accident include, but are not limited to the following:
- Crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk,
- Failing to look both ways before crossing the street,
- Ignoring traffic signals or crossing the road against the light,
- Walking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and
- Wearing dark clothing or using a cell phone while crossing the street.
As a pedestrian, it is essential to be aware of your responsibilities and always exercise caution when crossing the street to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident. Because Georgia’s comparative negligence laws significantly impact whether you can recover compensation, you need to hire an experienced lawyer if you get injured while jaywalking.
Contact Us Today
If you’ve been injured and your bills are piling up, contact the experienced personal injury team at MG Law. We can help you understand your options and guide you through the claims process while helping you fight for compensation for your losses.
With years of experience assisting injured pedestrians, we know what it takes to build a solid case for compensation. You need a skilled negotiator to argue liability in a jaywalking accident. The driver’s insurance company will claim you are primarily at fault for jaywalking and, therefore, not entitled to any compensation. We know how to fight back and get you the money you need to move forward.