Auto accident attorneys in know car accidents often have far-reaching effects that extend far beyond the reach of initial injuries. Sometimes, the dust never really settles. This will never end for me,” said a recent auto accident victim. The 30-year-old Georgia woman had been convicted of second degree vehicular homicide, reckless conduct and failure to use a crosswalk one year after her four-year-old son was struck and killed by a motorist as he crossed the street. The kicker? She could have actually served a longer sentence than the hit-and-run driver.
The family had been using public transportation to shop all day and the bus had just dropped the family off at the bus stop. The nearest crosswalk was half a mile away, it was getting dark, and the mother made a decision that would forever alter her life. She and her three children were hurrying across the four-lane highway, when a driver plowed through the family in his van.
The driver, who had previously been convicted of two separate hit-and-run incidents, was also blind in one eye and confessed to consuming alcohol and painkillers on the day of the April 2010 incident. He has already completed his six month sentence and is now serving five years probation, reports the New York Daily News. The mother, who has not yet had a chance to grieve her loss or heal from her own wounds, faced up to three years in prison and the additional loss of her two surviving daughters, prior to a July 26 sentencing that assigned her one year’s probation or gave her the option of a new trial. She chose a new trial.
In the wake of sentencing, many have questioned whether the mother will seek compensation for her loss. The answer? In the legal world, it all comes down to fault.
Generally, when it comes to car accidents, fault is determined by the law of negligence. The negligent person is the person who fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care under the circumstances. In many cases, both the driver and the pedestrian can be found negligent. However, the way the pedestrian-motorist accident scenario is treated varies by state.
In Georgia, the standard is proportional comparative fault. This means an injured person that is less than 50% at fault for the accident is entitled to compensation. If the injured party is 50% or more at fault, he or she is not entitled to recovery for the injury. For example, as is the case here, the pedestrian may be crossing the street illegally while the driver is traveling in excess of the posted speed limit. But factor in other intervening events – like the driver’s former convictions for the same offense, his eyesight and his blood alcohol level – and the scale seems to tip in the favor of the pedestrian. Ultimately, it’s up to judge or jury to decide.