Pedestrian accidents involve the injury or death of a pedestrian in a vehicle accident. Under Georgia law, a pedestrian includes anyone who is "on foot." The average individual is not equipped with the safety features of a motor vehicle, and as such, will be harmed much more in a collision between vehicle and person. These accidents can be serious, and result in severe injuries, and sometimes death.
According to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, between the years 1994 and 2011, Georgia suffered over 130 pedestrian fatalities per year. While pedestrian accidents are less common than motor vehicle accidents, the consequences of these accidents are often much more severe than that of a vehicle accident.
Pedestrian Accidents in Georgia
When a person is struck by a vehicle while on foot, they are likely to be injured. A car is a large vehicle with a large mass. A person on foot struck by this is not afforded the same protections they would have if they were in a vehicle. Pedestrians often have the right of way over vehicles, as well, meaning that vehicle operators should be attentive and aware of pedestrians on the road. Drivers should be aware of pedestrians and should be ready to stop for them when necessary. Consequences from pedestrian accidents can be catastrophic.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
- Distracted Driving: If a driver is distracted on the road by their cell phone or other distraction, they are likely to injure another person. Distracted driving can prevent a driver from seeing important things on the road such as crosswalks or pedestrian signals, which can lead to an accident occurring.
- Impaired Driving: When a driver is impaired by either drugs or alcohol, their reflexes and judgement will be dulled. This can be especially dangerous for pedestrians, as impaired drivers often travel at higher speeds, and demonstrate a severe lack of attention to their surroundings. Such behavior can result in an accident that injures a pedestrian.
- Driver Error: Failing to yield for pedestrians or failing to heed proper attention to a crosswalk or other signals is the cause of many resulting accidents. Driver error can occur on the road, or through the form of allowing a vehicle to descend into poor repair that limits visibility or could feasibly cause an accident.
Types of Injuries Seen in Pedestrian Accidents
- Fatal Injuries: Due to the mass and speed of a vehicle impacting a person, a fatal injury is likely to result from the accident. Fatal injuries are exactly as they sound: an injury that causes a person's death.
- Traumatic Injuries: A traumatic injury is an injury that is potentially life threatening and requires immediate emergency medical attention. These injuries are common to pedestrian accidents, even when collisions occur at lower speeds.
- Serious Injuries: Serious injuries are those that require medical attention, such as a broken bone. These are common to pedestrian accidents at lower speeds.
- Permanent Injuries: A permanent injury is normally the result of a traumatic injury. These are considered injuries that have long-lasting or permanently disabling or debilitating effects.
Georgia Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits
At times, it may be possible to pursue a case against a driver who has struck a pedestrian. When a person wishes to file a lawsuit against a driver they must look at the circumstances surrounding the accident. If a case is in order, the plaintiff will demand damages from the defendant to compensate for the loss or harm done in the accident. "Damages" is a legal term that refers to monetary amounts paid to the plaintiff for various reasons.
Damages Commonly Seen in Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits
- Medical Costs: One of the most common sources of damages is a demand for repayment of medical costs. Pedestrian injuries can result in a multitude of injuries, which can, in turn, result in a very high amount of medical bills. Demands for medical costs can be made in both wrongful death and personal injury claims.
- Funeral Costs: When a person loses their life in an accident, their family will not only be burdened with grief, but also with the heavy costs of their loved one's funeral. In a wrongful death case, one of the common claims is repayment of a loved one's funeral costs.
- Loss of Income: If a person is injured in a pedestrian accident, they may be left out of work for the time it takes them to recover. These types of accidents almost always result in serious injuries, and sometimes death. A person may demand payment for income lost during their time spent out of work. A family who lost their loved one may also demand repayment for loss of their loved one's income, especially if their loved one was supporting the household.
- Non-economic Damages: Non-economic damages are considered those that cannot be measured in terms of finances, or strictly numerically. This can include damages that serve as compensation for pain and suffering, or loss of companionship, as well as a person's value of their own life.
Georgia Pedestrian Accident Lawsuits
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A Georgia personal injury attorney will be able to pursue your claim. Contact the Gautreaux Law Firm for a free consultation on your case today.