Crosswalk Pedestrian Accident
Crosswalks are meant to protect pedestrians, yet a high number of pedestrians are struck in crosswalks by negligent and reckless drivers. According to statistics by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Georgia had 92 pedestrian fatalities in the first six months of 2017—one of the highest numbers in the nation. These are alarming numbers, and warrant extra precaution for anyone who decides to walk instead of driving their car. If you’re injured at a crosswalk, it can be challenging to figure out what steps to take.Devastating Injuries
Because pedestrians are so unprotected, they can suffer serious injuries when they are hit by moving vehicles. Even at low speeds, a vehicle can strike a pedestrian with tremendous force, causing devastating injuries that are slow to heal. At Slappey & Sadd, we have seen:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Brain injuries, like concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Cuts, abrasions, and lacerations
Unfortunately, death is fairly common as well. According to federal government statistics, over 5000 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2015. In other words, one pedestrian died in a crash every 1.6 hours in the U.S. Grieving family members are left behind with fears about how they will take care of their families.Assigning Blame
Few drivers intentionally seek to hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Nevertheless, most motorists share some degree of blame for the collision, since they should have paid more attention or driven more carefully. Negligent and reckless driving contributes to a large number of accidents.
Nevertheless, pedestrians sometimes are also to blame for the collision. If you jumped in front of traffic or tried to cross even though the signal told you not too, then you are creating a risky situation for yourself. Also, walking while distracted by your cell phone can contribute to collisions since may not have been paying close attention to where you were going.
In certain situations, the city government might also be responsible. For example, if a walk signal malfunctioned, or if the crosswalk lines were faded, then the city might bear some of the responsibility for the accident as well. Suing a government agency is complicated, however, so you will need an experienced car accident attorney by your side.
If you are partially to blame, you should understand how your own negligence will affect your case. In Georgia, an injured victim can only receive compensation for their injuries if they were not more at fault than other parties combined. This means you can be up to 49% responsible for the injury—but not more. If you are 50% responsible for your injuries, then you typically cannot receive any compensation. To better understand how your own mistakes might have caused the crash, sit down with a Georgia car accident lawyer to discuss your case.What to do After a Crosswalk Accident
Things can get chaotic after a collision—especially a bad one. The first priority should be getting medical help for the injured pedestrian right away. Call emergency services and tell responding emergency medical technicians what happened. If you are too injured to call, ask a bystander to help. By receiving prompt treatment, you give yourself the best chance of making a recovery.
Second, you should begin collecting evidence about the accident, such as the following:
- The name of the driver and their insurance information.
- The names and contact information for any witnesses to the collision.
- Pictures of the vehicle involved. You can even take a picture with a smartphone if you don't have a camera with you.
- Pictures of any obstructions that might have contributed to the accident, such as malfunctioning traffic lights or branches that obscure stop signs.
If you have been injured, you might hear from the driver’s insurance carrier. Typically, they call to ask for your side of the story and to possibly begin discussing settlement. You should hesitate before talking to an insurer without the presence of an Atlanta car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can help you explain the accident to the insurance adjuster and can also negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries.Improving Pedestrian Safety
Although it would be ideal if drivers operated their vehicles more carefully, pedestrians must ultimately take their safety into their own hands. As a pedestrian, you can reduce your likelihood of a devastating injury by following some practical safety tips:
- Always turn your head to look both ways before entering the intersection. This rule applies even if the walk signal is telling you it is okay to go. Remember that drivers might run a red light, or turn right on a red, regardless of what the walk signal is telling you. Always take a couple of seconds to check for traffic before heading across an intersection.
- Make yourself visible, especially at night. If you walk for exercise, think of wearing reflective clothing or put reflective tape on your shirt or jacket.
- Report dangerous driving to the authorities. Intersection cameras might catch someone running a red light, but you can also report dangerous or erratic drivers to the police.
- Push your municipality to improve pedestrian safety by increasing the visibility of crosswalks.
Always remember not to engage in risky behavior as a pedestrian, either. Even if you are late for a meeting, there is no reason to fly out into the street when the walk signal is telling you to stay on the other side.Call an Atlanta Pedestrian Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Rights Today
Georgia gives personal injury victims only two years to bring a lawsuit for their injuries. This might sound like a long time, but you will be busy during the interim investigating the case and possibly negotiating a settlement. Before you know it, the two-year deadline is fast approaching.
Instead of scrambling to protect your rights, meet with a car accident lawyer in Georgia for a free consultation. Your lawyer can explain your options and offer their opinion regarding whether you have a valid case. Your lawyer might also quickly file a lawsuit in court before the statute of limitations runs out. Even if you hope to settle, the only leverage you have is the ability to sue, so do not delay.
If you have been injured in a crosswalk, we want to hear from you. Slappey & Sadd can fight to get you the compensation you need to recover from your injuries, both physical and emotional. Our clients have received compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering, among other losses. Contact us online or call us at 404-255-6677 to start the process.