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In Car v. Pedestrian Accidents, Can the Pedestrian Be Found at Fault?

Posted on - Tuesday, March 1, 2016 under Pedestrian Accidents

Accidents between vehicles and pedestrians injure and kill tens of thousands of Americans every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012:

  • 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States
  • 76,000 pedestrians were injured in such crashes.
  • One crash-related pedestrian death occurs every 2 hours, and a pedestrian injury every 7 minutes
  • Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.

Many of these incidents become the subject of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. As the pedestrian is usually the party who suffers the most injuries, and most cases are in fact the result of the driver’s negligence, pedestrians are usually the plaintiffs. After all, how often do you hear someone say “I was just driving along and out of nowhere my car was hit by a pedestrian?”

But are pedestrians ever to blame for these collisions? Can a driver who suffers injuries or property damage sue and recover compensation from the pedestrian?

Just as drivers are expected to use reasonable care and follow the rules of the road while driving, pedestrians are expected to do the same. When a pedestrian fails to exercise reasonable care when crossing a street or being in the flow of traffic, that can constitute negligence. If that negligence led to others being injured or killed, they can be held liable.

Perhaps the most common example would be jaywalking. Similarly, if a person suddenly darts out into the street between two parked cars or tries to run across a busy highway, they could be found at fault for any accident or injuries that result.

It is not uncommon in pedestrian/vehicle collisions for both the driver and the pedestrian to be partially at fault. When that happens, and an injured driver or passenger wants to recover damages from the pedestrian, whether they will be able to do so and how much they will be able to recover depends on how much a jury finds they were to blame for the accident.

Under Georgia law, if you are found to be less at fault than the defendant(s), you may still be able to recover damages, but “the judge shall reduce the amount of damages otherwise awarded to the plaintiff in proportion to his or her percentage of fault.” O.C.G.A. §51-12-33(a).

However, “if the plaintiff is 50 percent or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed,” they will be barred from recovering any damages at all.  O.C.G.A.  § 51-12-33(g).

The bottom line is this: it doesn’t ultimately matter if you were behind the wheel or on your feet. Drivers and pedestrians alike need to exercise caution and follow the rules of the road.

Call the Metro Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Lawyers of The Parian Law Firm, LLC

When you or someone you care about has been injured as a pedestrian, you need the personal injury attorneys of The Parian Law Firm, LLC.  You can call us anytime at (770) 727-5550.  We look forward to assisting you.