Located just south of Atlanta, the beautiful city of Macon is Georgia’s fourth-largest city. Macon annually welcomes thousands of visitors. Many of these tourists, as well as permanent residents, travel around on foot, often taking their safety for granted. The danger of being hit by a car is a very real one, especially in today’s society where distracted driving seems to be the norm. With little to no protection, pedestrians are so exposed that an impact from even a slow-moving vehicle can easily cause serious injury or death.
Serious Injuries – A Serious Problem
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia, 4,743 pedestrians were killed and another 76,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available). On average, a pedestrian was killed in a traffic crash every 120 minutes and injured in a traffic crash every 7 minutes. Statistics show that the fatalities in 2012 reflected an increase of 6 percent from 2011 and were the most in the last 5 years. In 2012 alone, 167 pedestrians were killed in the state of Georgia. In fact, a report by the national organization Smart Growth America reveals that the most dangerous places to walk tend to be communities in the South. The report noted that many of these places grew in the postwar period through rapid spreading of low-density neighborhoods that relied on wider streets with high speeds to connect homes with schools and businesses.
Determining Fault in Georgia Pedestrian Accidents
The law expects that both drivers and pedestrians will follow the rules of the road and exercise reasonable care. In some states, pedestrians that are partly responsible for their injuries cannot collect any compensation because their negligence contributed to the accident. However, Georgia follows a modified comparative fault system. This means that pedestrians who are partly at fault for an accident can still recover damages, but their recovery will be reduced by their degree of fault. Additionally, they can collect only if they are less than 50 percent at fault. In many cases, pedestrians who use caution before entering a roadway have a great deal of control in avoiding a collision with a motor vehicle.
Without exercising such caution, pedestrians can cause accidents by:
- Ignoring traffic signals while crossing the street
- Not using marked crosswalks
- Not crossing at a corner or intersection
- Carelessly walking, playing, or working on a roadway
- Walking into a roadway without looking for traffic (as in the case of a darting child or a parent following such a child)
- Being inattentive near a roadway (talking, texting, eating, drinking, etc.)
- Carelessly entering or leaving public transportation (bus, trolley, taxi, etc.).
Drivers Usually At Fault
Most pedestrian injuries and deaths are caused by careless or negligent motorists. Motorists can cause accidents by:
- Distracted/reckless driving (especially texting)
- Ignoring traffic signs or signals
- Failing to stay in lane
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Failing to yield right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Failing to use turn signals
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Most Common Pedestrian Injuries From Car Accidents
Pedestrians involved in motor vehicle crashes usually sustain severe injuries. In fact, when struck by a car going 50 mph, pedestrian fatality rates are 75 percent and injury rates are more than 90 percent. Common injuries include broken bones, neck injuries, brain injuries, nerve damage, loss of limbs, and disfigurement. In addition to the immediate costs of medical care related to the accident, victims must shoulder the burdens of future medical needs, reduced or lost income, and the radical lifestyle changes that come with a permanent health problem or disability. Of course, a pedestrian injured in a motor vehicle accident can suffer psychological and emotional trauma even greater than any physical injury, and these can be very difficult to measure. Those who lose a loved one in an accident can suffer from the unexpected loss of an income, burial expenses, and the irretrievable loss of love, care, and companionship.
Legal Claims in Georgia Pedestrian Injury Cases
If you or a loved one has been hit by a car or truck while walking, or if you are the survivor of someone who was killed by a negligent driver, contact a Macon pedestrian injury lawyer of the Mann Law Firm to schedule a consultation. We understand the distress that comes with an injury, and we will work quickly to get you the compensation you deserve. Our law firm has experience in fighting to protect the rights of pedestrian accident victims and we can help you. Please call us at (478) 742-3381 or fill out our online form.
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