In a crowded urban environment like Atlanta, pedestrian accidents are an unfortunate inevitability. The Georgia Department of Transportation reports 37 people died, and another 391 sustained injuries in Atlanta pedestrian crashes during one recent year. But what happens when a pedestrian is partly to blame for a collision? Can they still recover compensation from the driver who hit them?

In short, yes, pedestrians can recover compensation when they are partly at fault for a crash. Doing so, however, requires help from a driven and knowledgeable legal team. The Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer at the W. Winston Briggs Law Firm has decades of legal experience and can protect your rights after a collision.

Georgia’s Traffic Laws for Pedestrians

Georgia’s traffic laws aim to balance the rights and needs of both pedestrians and drivers. Here’s what the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has to say about pedestrian safety:

  • Drivers must stop and yield to any pedestrian in a crosswalk if the pedestrian is on the vehicle’s half of the roadway. Drivers must also stop and yield to pedestrians if they are within one lane of the driver’s half of the roadway.
  • Pedestrians should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. Furthermore, no pedestrians should enter the road if doing so would create a hazard for oncoming cars.
  • When crossing the street outside a crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to traffic unless they have already safely entered the roadway.

In short, drivers should watch out for and generally yield to pedestrians crossing the street, but pedestrians should also watch out before entering the road outside a crosswalk.

Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Laws

Now that we have discussed Georgia’s traffic laws for pedestrians, it’s time to talk about negligence. In a legal context, negligence means someone failed to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries to another party. So, for example, if a driver was not paying attention and hit a pedestrian in the middle of a street, they acted negligently and are liable for the pedestrian’s injuries.

Suppose, however, the pedestrian crossed the street outside the crosswalk and stepped out right in front of the car. In this example, the pedestrian would likely share liability for the accident. It would be up to the insurance companies or the courts to determine each party’s degree of responsibility.

When two or more parties share fault for an accident in Georgia, state law uses a form of comparative negligence to determine liability and award compensation. Under this model, a plaintiff (the person who files a personal injury claim) can recover compensation as long as their degree of fault for their injuries is 49 percent or less. If a plaintiff is partly liable for their injuries, their compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault. As an example, if a plaintiff would have received $50,000 in compensation, but they are 20 percent liable for an accident, they would lose 20 percent of their compensation and obtain only $40,000.

How Our Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Can Help

If a driver hit you in Atlanta while you were walking, they will almost certainly argue that you contributed to your injuries so they can reduce their potential financial burden. The Atlanta pedestrian accident attorney at the W. Winston Briggs Law Firm can protect your rights and push back against these allegations to maximize your compensation. We can use police reports, eyewitness accounts, forensic accident investigations, and other evidence to minimize your degree of fault and help you recover as much money as possible. Moreover, we can take care of all the legal work in your case while you focus on your medical treatments.

Negligent drivers should pay for the harm they cause, and the W. Winston Briggs Law Firm proudly stands by injured pedestrians in their hour of need. Call (404) 522-1500 today or reach out online for a complimentary case evaluation.