Speed causes most pedestrian accidents in Georgia. At impact speeds under 20mph, the pedestrian death rate is under 10 percent. At impact speeds over 50mph, the pedestrian death rate skyrockets to 75%. Most pedestrian accidents happen outside marked crosswalks and in non-intersections. So, in almost all cases, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is traveling at or near top speed at the moment of impact. That is bad news for pedestrians because even if they survive, they often sustain catastrophic injuries.
The good news for injured pedestrians and their families is that a Marietta personal injury attorney can obtain substantial compensation for these victims and their survivors in civil court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. These funds don’t magically make serious or catastrophic injuries disappear. However, the money helps victims and survivors pay accident-related bills and otherwise move on with the rest of their lives.
During vehicle collisions, multiple restraint layers and the latest engineering advances protect vehicle occupants. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are completely exposed to danger. As a result, their serious injuries often include:
- Head Injuries: The motion of a wreck, as opposed to a trauma impact, often causes a head injury. When pedestrian accident victims fall and land hard, their brains violently slam against the insides of their skulls. Usually, the force of a wreck throws these victims through the air, multiplying this effect even further.
- Broken Bones: Motion often causes broken bones, especially arm and wrist bones, as well. When victims fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. Their bones cannot withstand the force, so this reaction often causes crushed bones. Doctors must use metal parts, like screws, to painstakingly reconstruct these shattered bones.
- Serious Abrasions: These injuries usually aren’t life-threatening. However, they usually never entirely heal, either. So, they serve as a permanent reminder of the trauma the victim endured on that day. Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to imagine the horror of a vehicle bearing down on you, and all you can do is brace yourself for impact.
The medical bills in a catastrophic injury case often exceed $100,000. To ease the financial pain these victims and families feel, a Marietta personal injury attorney usually connects victims with top-notch doctors who charge nothing upfront for their professional medical services.
Compensation is available if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was legally responsible for the wreck. Legal responsibility, or liability, is often different from an initial fault determination. So, even if an insurance adjuster says you were at fault, a lawyer should always evaluate any car crash claim.
Ordinary negligence, or a lack of ordinary care, is the most common legal theory in pedestrian accident claims. All motorists have a duty to drive defensively and avoid injuring other people if they can. Striking a pedestrian inside or outside of a crosswalk violates that duty.
If an emergency responder issues a citation to the tortfeasor, the negligence per se rule could apply. In Georgia, tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law if they violate safety laws and cause wrecks.
Especially in non-crosswalk cases, the sudden emergency defense may be the most common insurance company defense. Insurance company lawyers often argue that the victim “darted out into traffic” and the tortfeasor couldn’t avoid a wreck. That sounds good. However, from a legal perspective, a jaywalking pedestrian usually isn’t a “sudden emergency.” Instead, a jaywalking pedestrian is an everyday hazard that the duty of care requires motorists to anticipate and avoid.