Pedestrian accidents can lead to life-altering injuries or even loss of life. In the state of Georgia, there are specific laws and regulations that dictate pedestrian safety and the obligations of drivers. This blog aims to provide an understanding of these laws, injured pedestrians’ legal rights, and potential compensation claims.
Decoding Georgia’s Pedestrian Laws
In Georgia, the term “pedestrian” encompasses any person on foot, including those standing, walking, jogging, running, or otherwise on foot. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) provides specific laws dealing with pedestrian safety.
Sidewalks and Roadways
As per O.C.G.A. § 40-6-96, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to stand or stride along an adjacent roadway where a sidewalk is provided unless there is no motor vehicle traveling within 1,000 feet of such pedestrian on such roadway or the available sidewalk presents an imminent threat of bodily injury to such pedestrian.
O.C.G.A. §40-6-95 states that a person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug to a degree which renders him a hazard shall not walk or be upon any roadway or the shoulder of any roadway. Violation of this Code section is a misdemeanor and is punishable upon conviction by a fine not to exceed $500.00.
According to O.C.G.A. §40-6-97, no person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride. It is also illegal to stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting employment, business, or contributions from the occupant of any vehicle.
Crossing the Roadway
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92 mandates that every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway.
Pedestrians are not allowed to cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices.
Rights and Responsibilities
In Georgia, pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at all intersections within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Pedestrians crossing at an intersection must obey traffic control signals and devices, such as stop signs and traffic lights. If there is no traffic control signal, stop sign, or device, pedestrians who cross must yield the right of way to vehicles.
Pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings, obey traffic signals and laws, and use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible. At the same time, drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care, which includes keeping an eye out for pedestrians, yielding the right of way when necessary, and obeying traffic signals and signs.
Compensation for Pedestrian Accident Victims
The victim must establish that the driver’s negligence caused the accident. Instances of driver negligence that can lead to pedestrian accidents include failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, not yielding when required, ignoring crosswalks, distracted driving, and driving under the influence.
The Role of Comparative Negligence in Georgia
Georgia employs a modified comparative fault standard for all motor vehicle accident claims. This legal principle stipulates that each party involved in an accident bears responsibility for their proportion of the fault.
For example, if a pedestrian is deemed to be 30% at fault in an accident, their compensation could be reduced by 30%.
If a pedestrian is struck by a car and the driver is found to be at fault, the victim can seek compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
Georgia law sets minimum limits for auto insurance coverage, although drivers can choose to carry higher coverage. The minimum liability coverage for injuries is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.
Insurance companies may attempt to use comparative negligence as a strategy to reduce your settlement. Therefore, it’s crucial to hire a knowledgeable attorney who can negotiate for the full compensation you deserve.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit
If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer will file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This can result in a court-ordered judgment for monetary damages. Damages may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call Our Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today!
Understanding Georgia’s pedestrian laws is crucial for anyone who walks on the state’s roads. It’s not just about avoiding penalties—it’s about staying safe. If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, a knowledgeable Atlanta accident attorney at the Weinstein Firm can guide you through the legal process and help you seek the compensation you deserve.