On July 18th, an elderly man took out the trash, which was seemingly a harmless task and one that he probably engaged on a regular weekly basis. But on this day, he took the trash out for the last time. The man lived on the 3800 block of Avera Road, which has traffic traveling both east and westbound.
Apparently, according to witnesses, the elderly man dumped his trash and then leaned into traffic, at which time a man driving a pickup truck struck and killed him. No charges were initially filed, but that doesn't mean someone was not at fault for the death.
This case is sad, as are most accident-related fatalities because they are unexpected and shocking. It isn't known if there are surviving family members; he may have had a wife who is now grieving his sudden passing. We also don't know the circumstances that led to the driver of the pickup truck to strike this man. What we do know for sure is that pedestrian fatalities are on the rise throughout the U.S., including Georgia.
In the United States, 129,000 pedestrians were injured and 5,376 of them died from those injuries in 2015, which was a 9.5% increase from 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In Georgia for the same year, according to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, 193 pedestrians were killed, which was an 18.4% increase in pedestrian fatality deaths from 2014 and which also attributed to 13.5% of all auto collision-related fatalities in 2015. If that weren't enough, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that 2016 had the highest yet in car accident-related pedestrian deaths throughout the U.S.
The law in Georgia is clear that drivers owe a duty to pedestrians. Georgia Code, 40-6-93 (2016) requires that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway[.]” When a duty is breached, a claim for damages often follows.
Surviving Family Members Can Seek Damages
Although we are uncertain of the exact circumstances, the driver of the pickup nevertheless owed a duty to look out and be careful. If there is a surviving spouse, she may have a wrongful death case against the pickup driver and may be able to recover the financial and emotional costs of his death.
What should you do if you live in Georgia and a loved one is struck and killed by a vehicle while walking? First, you should obtain police reports, medical records, and any other reports that can shed light on what happened. Second, if you believe your loved one was wrongfully killed by someone acting negligently, even if by accident, then you should hire a Georgia wrongful death attorney to protect your rights and interests either with a claims adjuster or before a judge and jury. Georgia law requires drivers to pay attention to pedestrians, and if the law can't make drivers do their duty, then maybe lawsuits will.