Got Hit by a Car While Crossing the Street?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2020

How common are car-pedestrian accidents?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6,000 pedestrians died in crashes in the U.S. in 2017. That means one death every 88 minutes. Also, about 137,000 pedestrians were treated at the ER for injuries in 2017. Almost 50% of the crashes where a pedestrian was killed involved alcohol for the driver and/or the pedestrian. Speeding is also a big factor in these crashes.

Who has the right of way on the road when the pedestrian is within a crosswalk?

When a person is crossing the roadway within a crosswalk, the driver of a car must stop and remain stopped to allow that person to cross the roadway when:

  • The pedestrian is on the roadway in the direction in which the car is travelling; or
  • The pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the roadway on which the car is travelling or onto which the car is turning.

A crosswalk may be marked or unmarked. Whenever a car is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway, other cars behind that car cannot pass that stopped car.

Who has the right of way on the road when the pedestrian is outside a crosswalk?

Unless the pedestrian has already entered the roadway safely, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to all cars on the roadway. Also, it is illegal for a pedestrian to cross an intersection diagonally unless allowed by traffic-control devices. Nonetheless, every driver must exercise due car to avoid hitting a pedestrian on the roadway and must give warnings by honking when necessary.

What if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs?

If the driver who hit a pedestrian within a crosswalk was drunk or high on drugs, the pedestrian might be able to get extra damages on top of the compensation he would get for his injuries. We call these punitive damages, which are available where the behavior of the at-fault person was very bad. The purpose of these punitive damages is to punish and deter such bad conduct.

What if the pedestrian is partially at fault?

In Georgia, a pedestrian who is partially at fault for causing the crash might still be able to get compensation for his injuries. If the pedestrian’s fault is 49% or less, the pedestrian’s claim is not barred. The amount of damages awarded to the pedestrian will be reduced by the extent of his fault. For example, if the pedestrian’s fault is 20% and the amount of total damages is $100,000, his award of damages would be reduced by $20,000.

On the other hand, if the pedestrian’s fault is 50% or more, the pedestrian will not be able to get any compensation.

Who pays for the pedestrian’s injuries?

Just as in crashes involving only cars, generally insurance companies pay for the damages resulting from a car-pedestrian accident. Thus, the driver’s automobile liability insurance policy would cover the damages to its policy limits.

Every driver in Georgia is required to have minimum automobile liability insurance coverage when operating a car so that if a driver causes an accident and a pedestrian is injured as a result, the driver’s automobile liability insurance policy would provide compensation to the injured pedestrian up to the policy limits. Ideally, every driver’s liability insurance policy would provide adequate coverage to pay for 100% of the damages. However, this may not be the case in reality. This is where the pedestrian’s uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, if provided in the pedestrian’s automobile insurance policy, comes in handy. Yes, the UM/UIM coverage of a pedestrian’s own automobile policy may provide extra coverage even though the pedestrian was not operating a car.