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What you Need to Know about Pedestrian Safety Laws in Georgia

The number of pedestrians has been increasing all throughout Georgia as more people choose to walk for health or recreational reasons. The City of Atlanta has especially taken extra efforts to become a more walker friendly town.  Therefore, as a pedestrian, you should be aware of the protections and rights afforded to you under Georgia laws. Learning about these laws will help you obey traffic rules as well as keep you safe.

First of all, pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk in Georgia. If you are already waking on the crosswalk, then all motorists must stop and yield to you. The law requires a motorist to stop and remain stopped while the pedestrian is crossing the road.  The motorist can only resume driving when the pedestrian has safely completed crossing. That means that a motorist can’t try to squeeze by you, or barely give you any room to squeeze by them while they are on the road.

However, the picture becomes different when you are crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk. Now, it’s the motorist’s rights that take precedence, and you must yield to motorists who are driving. You, as a pedestrian, also have the duty to look in both directions to first make sure that the street is safe to cross – a lesson that we all learned as children.  This doesn’t mean that a motorist can continue to speed towards you though.  A driver still has the duty to avoid hitting a pedestrian if he or she is already in the process of crossing the street.   A driver also must anticipate that a pedestrian could attempt to cross the street at any point, and has the duty to warn a pedestrian of their approach by honking the horn or give some other type of warning.

There are many times, however, when collisions do occur between pedestrians and motorists, and sometimes, they are at least partially the fault of the pedestrian.   A classic example is an accident involving a pedestrian crossing the road outside of a marked and designated crosswalk.

Being involved in an accident that was at least partially caused by you, does not, however, nullify your chances of recovering damages in the accident. If the accident was also the fault of the motorist in question, you may still be able to recover damages for your losses in the crash.  However, the damages recoverable will be reduced by the percentage of your fault in causing the accident.  In other words, the court will calculate the percentage of your fault. If you are found 30 recent at fault in the accident, then your damages will be reduced by 30 percent.

However, if you were found to be more than 50 percent at fault in the accident, you may not be eligible to recover any damages at all.  These rules fall under Georgia’s comparative negligence laws which hold that the plaintiff’s or injured party’s damages may be reduced by the percentage of his fault in causing the accident.

It is important to understand comparative negligence laws and their impact on your case. Injured pedestrians sometimes make the mistake of assuming that they are not eligible for any compensation at all because they were at least partly to blame for the accident. They may therefore lose out on the damages they are owed.  This is why consulting with an attorney after your accident can help avoid this outcome.

If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, talk to an attorney about your rights to file a claim for damages even if you believe that the accident was at least partly your fault. Schedule a free consultation with an Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and discuss your case.