On October 17, a man was struck by a motor vehicle while crossing I-75 on foot. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene, and the driver of the car that struck him indicated that the victim walked out into the lane in front of his vehicle. In Georgia, there were 261 pedestrian fatalities in 2018, and 253 in 2017. Pedestrian deaths in Georgia increased by 60% between 2013 and 2018. Authorities are still investigating the circumstances of the incident and the cause of the pedestrian crossing the highway on that point.
Pedestrians who suffer injuries after being struck by motor vehicles may be entitled to recover damages by filing a personal injury claim.
Negligence and Personal Injury Claims
Under Georgia law, a pedestrian or any other plaintiff claiming damages in a negligence claim must show the following elements, as determined by the Georgia Supreme Court in Johnson v. American Red Cross:
- A legal duty to follow a standard of conduct;
- A breach of the duty;
- A causal connection between breach of the duty and the resulting injury; and
- Damage to the plaintiff.
Pedestrian Rights and Duties Under the Law
The Georgia Code states that a pedestrian has the right of way when crossing the street at a crosswalk. Under Section 40-6-91:
- A vehicle must stop to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway in front of it if that pedestrian is crossing within a crosswalk.
- A pedestrian cannot suddenly leave a curb and walk or run into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
- If a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to let a pedestrian cross in front of it, another driver approaching from the rear may not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
However, Section 40-6-92 states that:
- Pedestrians crossing the road who are not using a designated crosswalk must yield to oncoming vehicles.
- Pedestrians crossing the road under a pedestrian tunnel must yield to oncoming vehicles since they are crossing the roadway instead of using the designated pedestrian crossing.
- Where traffic-control signals exist, pedestrians must cross at a marked crosswalk.
- Pedestrians may not cross intersections diagonally.
It is important to note that in evaluating a negligence claim by a pedestrian who suffered damages in an accident, the competent court will also analyze and determine whether the pedestrian as well as the driver complied with the statutory language discussed above. The result of this analysis could determine how the court would rule. It can also impact the amount of damages in case damages are awarded.