Pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence on Georgia’s roads. While it is typically the driver’s responsibility to avoid hitting a pedestrian, there are instances when the pedestrian can share some fault. When is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident? Some people mistakenly believe that the driver is always at fault for an auto-pedestrian accident in Georgia. However, that is not always the case.
Can Pedestrians Be Liable in Car Accidents?
Yes, pedestrians can be liable for a car accident. Sometimes, their actions can make them partially at fault; other times, they might be the primary cause of the collision. Understanding how a pedestrian can cause an accident can help drivers and pedestrians be more aware of potential road hazards and prevent accidents. Read on to learn more about instances where a pedestrian can be liable.
Jaywalking refers to crossing a street outside a crosswalk or against the signal. This behavior is a traffic violation and is against the law in Georgia. If someone jaywalking is struck by a car, the driver’s insurance company will likely allege the pedestrian caused the collision. That is because jaywalking puts the pedestrian in a dangerous situation, making it difficult for the driver to avoid hitting them. Pedestrians who jaywalk put themselves at serious risk of injury when a vehicle turns or moves through an intersection.
Distracted walking has become a significant issue, especially with the popularity of smartphones and other digital devices. Texting, talking on the phone, or using other digital devices while crossing the street means you’re distracted. A pedestrian could be liable for the accident if they walk out in front of a vehicle while distracted. Pedestrians must pay attention and ensure it’s safe to cross the street, especially in busy areas or on streets with fast-moving traffic.
It’s no secret that alcohol and drugs impede your judgment, slow your reaction time, and cause you to struggle with balance. While walking home after one too many at the bar is a better alternative to driving, that doesn’t mean you’re absolved of fault if you cause an accident in your inebriated state. If you’re having a fun night out, grab a taxi or hail a rideshare vehicle to help ensure you get home safely and without hurting others on the road.
Ignoring Traffic Signals
When a pedestrian ignores traffic signals, it can confuse drivers. This confusion can make it difficult for them to anticipate the pedestrian’s movements and avoid an accident. Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals, including stop signs and traffic lights. When a pedestrian ignores a red light or stop sign, a driver might be unable to stop in time to avoid striking them.
Walking on a Highway
Pedestrians are not allowed to walk on highways in Georgia except in designated areas. Walking on the highway puts multiple parties at risk. Walking on the highway can also attract drunk drivers to light and unknown figures on the road. Highways are filled with fast-moving vehicles, and pedestrians have no protection from vehicles traveling at high rates of speed. So avoid walking on highways, and stick to sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, and crosswalks to ensure your safety.
Improper Use of Crosswalks
When a pedestrian crosses a street at a crosswalk, they must do so in a manner that is safe for both themselves and drivers. If a pedestrian darts in front of a car, they can cause an accident. Improper use of crosswalks can cause confusion and frustration for drivers, making it difficult for them to avoid hitting you.
Walking With Headphones
Pedestrians wearing headphones and listening to music or other audio may be unable to hear oncoming traffic. That puts them at an increased risk of being hit by a car. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid wearing headphones while walking on the road.
Not Looking in All Directions Before Crossing
Pedestrians must look both ways before crossing the street, even if they have the right of way. It’s akin to driving a car when a light turns green. Even though the driver has the right-of-way, they must ensure the intersection is clear before moving. Pedestrians must also make sure the intersection is clear and safe to cross.
Dressing in Dark or Non-Reflective Clothing
Pedestrians who dress in dark or non-reflective clothing are at risk of being hit by a car, especially in low-light conditions. In these situations, the pedestrian may be considered partially at fault for an accident, as they failed to take necessary precautions to ensure they were visible to drivers.
Intentionally Distracting a Driver
This situation is rare, but it’s always a possibility. A pedestrian who intentionally distracts a driver or tries to cause the car to hit them can be held liable. You might be wondering why a pedestrian would act that way. It could be a variation of “road rage” or someone trying to commit insurance fraud. It can also happen when kids or young adults are messing around and do not realize the seriousness of distracting a driver.
Determining the Degree of Fault
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. That means a pedestrian can be partially liable for the accident and still collect compensation. If the pedestrian is less than 50% at fault, they can receive a portion of their damages. The law bars the pedestrian from financial recovery if they are 50% or more at fault. For example, a pedestrian who is 20% at fault could receive 80% of their damages.
Contact Us Today
When is a pedestrian at fault for a car accident? Answering that question is not always straightforward. In many instances, the driver and pedestrian share liability.
All drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of their responsibilities and take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents on the road. Pedestrians must follow traffic laws and signals, be mindful of their surroundings, and take steps to ensure their visibility to drivers. Drivers must be aware of pedestrians and take necessary precautions to avoid hitting them.
However, this doesn’t always happen. You have rights if you suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence. Please contact MG Law to learn how we can help. Our lawyers have years of experience assisting injured victims in Georgia, including claims arising from car accidents with pedestrians. Please schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.