Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
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What Is the Average Settlement for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Since a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be anything from a mild concussion to a life-changing, catastrophic injury that leaves the victim permanently without function (comatose), we cannot give a meaningful average settlement amount, but we can explain the factors that can determine how much compensation a person might receive. As the Brain Injury Association of America says, “Just as no two people are exactly alike, no two brain injuries are exactly alike.”
How Your Medical Treatment Can Affect Your Settlement Amount
Depending on the severity of your head injury and any complications you might experience, these are some of the typical places you might need to go for treatment:
- Emergency room
- Intensive care unit
- Specialty Neurotrauma or Polytrauma unit
- Treatment plan for long-term care
- Hospital or skilled nursing facility for comprehensive TBI rehabilitation
- Residential transitional rehabilitation facility
- Home with family, utilizing outpatient/day treatment, home-based services, or community-based services
- Independent living
- Group home with supported living program
- Apartment with supported living program
- Nursing care facility
Treatment at any residential facility, or at home, can cost thousands or even millions over time.
The extent of treatment you need in both the acute and post-acute phases will be a significant factor in the amount of recovery you can expect to receive, for two reasons:
- The level of treatment needed indicates the severity of injury you suffered
- We will use the cost of all the treatments you have undergone and those you can reasonably expect to need in the future to calculate the number of your economic losses, for purposes of your damages award.
Economic Losses That Are Typically Part of a TBI Settlement
Your treatment costs include both your medical treatment and the expense of the help you may need with daily tasks. Other economic losses include your lost wages and the impact the traumatic brain injury will have on your ability to earn a living. We will work with vocational experts to determine the dollar value of the decreased earning potential portion of your claim.
Non-Economic Damages for a Traumatic Brain Injury
When you experience a TBI, you will endure other things that are difficult to measure in dollars, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. We will calculate the reasonable amount for your non-economic damages based in part on the number of your economic damages.
How a TBI Can Affect You Long-Term
According to the Mayo Clinic, most people need to go through rehabilitation after a significant TBI. The brain injury might cause you to have to learn how to walk or talk again. You might have a permanent cognitive impairment, such that you cannot perform your previous job. TBIs often cause extreme personality changes, such as depression and uncontrolled rage. You might suffer frequent, excruciating headaches.
The National Institutes of Health says that TBIs can leave you unable to:
- Make decisions
- Feel physical sensations in affected areas of your body
TBIs can also cause epilepsy, consigning your to a lifetime of seizures.
While some of the long-term issues can improve with medication or extensive therapy, others might be a part of your life from this point forward. Many people find life as they know it is never the same after a traumatic brain injury.
Get Help Recovering the Compensation You NeedIf you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury, please call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC at 404-474-0804 to discuss recovering the compensation you need and deserve.
When Is a Homeowner Liable for a Child Swimming Pool Accident?
A homeowner can be liable for a child swimming pool accident if he did something or failed to do something that could have prevented the accident from occurring.
Here are 10 occurrences when a homeowner might be liable for a child swimming pool accident:
Lack of a Barrier or Fence
Many cities mandate that pool owners build compliant fencing or other barriers around swimming pools. The law considers pools to be “attractive nuisances” which, like trampolines or other items in this category, can attract children who can get hurt.
If a homeowner does not build a complaint fence and a child gets into the pool and drowns or injures herself, the homeowner may be liable for those injuries.
Faulty or Non-Functioning Alarms
If young children inside the house can get to the pool, the homeowner should have an alarm in the pool to notify people inside the house that someone has entered the pool. Also, the homeowner should secure the doors that lead to the pool and install alarms on them. If the homeowner leaves a gate open, turns off the alarm, or fails to secure a door, the homeowner can be liable for an injured child.
Lack of Supervision
The National Safety Council (NSC) warns it only takes a moment for a child to drown, and that drowning is one of the leading causes of death for young children. While all parents should watch over their children while in the pool, a homeowner can be liable if a lack of supervision caused a child to suffer injuries in a swimming pool accident.
Old or Defective Pool Drains
While the drains in older pools tend to be more dangerous than newer ones, even a new pool drain can cause horrific injuries and fatalities. If a homeowner failed to turn off a dangerous drain or replace a broken one, he can be liable if the drain injures a child.
A homeowner can be liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions in or around the pool if the homeowner has not properly maintained the pool area.
Failure to check the screws that secure pool ladders can cause people to fall or lose their balance, which can make them strike their heads on the edge, side, or bottom of the pool. Broken pool edging can cause a child to suffer lacerations that could require stitches. Failure to clean up spills around the pool can make a child slip and fall, which could result in fractures or head injuries.
Dangerous Slides or Diving Boards
Many public pools have removed their slides and diving boards because of the high numbers of injuries. If a homeowner has a slide or diving board installed at a pool that does not have sufficient depth for people to use them without striking the bottom or side of the pool, a person can sustain a head or neck injury from hitting the bottom or sides. The victim can face paralysis, loss of cognitive function, drowning from loss of consciousness or paralysis, or another fatal injury.
The homeowner can be liable for any injuries that occur.
Contaminants in the Water
A pool owner has the responsibility of keeping the water clean and safe with a proper balance of chemicals. When a homeowner who slacks off on the water quality has guests over to swim, the homeowner can be liable if a child contracts a water-borne illness from contaminated water.
It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Children tend to have little sense of danger when playing in and around a pool. If a homeowner failed to corral either an adult or child who was behaving recklessly and your child suffered injuries, the homeowner may be liable for those injuries.
Lack of Rules or Enforcement
A responsible pool owner will have and enforce safety rules, such as no running around the pool. If they fail to create or enforce rules, they could be liable for any injury a child suffers.
A homeowner can be liable for injuries caused by intoxicated adults or for allowing underage kids to consume alcohol and then swim. If the homeowner was watching the swimmers while intoxicated, he may be liable for any injuries.
Jason R. Schultz: Your Pool Accident Injury Lawyer
At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, we sincerely hope your summer is accident-free and that you get to enjoy days by the pool without incident.
Unfortunately, accidents happen. If your child suffered injuries at a friend’s or neighbor’s private pool, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries. However, you must be able to prove that the party in question failed to do something to protect your child from injury.
Note: We know it can be difficult to consider suing a friend or neighbor. However, if that friend’s negligence caused your child to suffer injuries, you deserve compensation. And because the friend’s homeowner’s insurance should cover the compensation you need, your friend will not pay anything out of pocket.
The child injury team at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help you prove the homeowner is liable for the injuries your child suffered. Call 404-474-0804 for a free consultation.
Can I Sue If I Was Hit by a Car in a Parking Lot?
Yes, you can sue if you were hit by a car accident in a parking lot. However, you must prove another party was at-fault for your parking lot accident before you can sue.
The police might write a report if there were injuries in the crash, but often you have to prove to the insurance company who was at fault. At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, we will collect the evidence and build your case to get you all the compensation you deserve.
How to Determine Who Was at Fault in a Parking Lot Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrians usually have the right of way, so drivers are often held responsible for striking walkers, but these four factors determine who is negligent and thereby at fault:
Duty of care - Drivers have a commitment to proceed with caution in parking lots, keeping a careful lookout for pedestrians and other vehicles. Pedestrians have an obligation to walk carefully, paying attention to their surroundings and watching out for cars and other hazards.
Breach of Duty of Care - If a driver drives too fast for the circumstances in a parking lot or fails to watch out for pedestrians and other vehicles, she has breached her duty of care. If a walker does not look where he is going or darts out into driving lanes without looking, he has violated his duty of care. A party who violates the duty of care is negligent.
Causation - If an accident is the end-result of negligence, the careless person caused the wreck. Ask your car accident attorney if you are not sure that causation is clear in your situation.
Damages - There must be measurable damages from the accident. For example, if the vehicle made contact only with the walker’s backpack, but no one suffered injuries, she cannot sue. A “close call” that frightens a person is not, by itself, grounds for a lawsuit. On the other hand, if the pedestrian needed medical treatment for injuries from the accident, she can claim the driver for her damages.
You can get compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
How to Avoid Being Hit by a Vehicle When Walking Through a Parking Lot
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these tips to pedestrians to avoid collisions with vehicles:
- Do not assume that a driver sees you. The driver could be distracted, under the influence, or just not notice you.
- Cross at locations where a driver would expect you to be, instead of darting out from between parked vehicles.
- Be more cautious at night or when wearing dark clothing.
- Only enter a driving lane in a parking lot in well-lit locations, after looking both ways.
- Make sure you have more than enough time to clear the driving lane without any approaching vehicles having to slow down to avoid hitting you.
At the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., we hope you will avoid injury when walking through parking lots. No matter how careful you are, however, sometimes accidents happen. If you suffered damage as a pedestrian, please call us at 404-474-0804, and we will schedule your free consultation.
I Was In a Bicycle Accident Without a Helmet. Can I Still File a Claim?
Yes. If you were in a bicycle accident without a helmet, you can still file a claim. Below, we discuss what you might expect after suffering injuries in an accident while not wearing a bicycle helmet.
Does Georgia Have a Bicycle Helmet Law?
Yes, Georgia does have a bicycle helmet law. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296 requires all riders and passengers under 16 to wear a helmet while on a bicycle. This means you are not violating a law if you ride a bike without a helmet as an adult.
While the statute requires certain riders to wear a helmet, the statute also states, “Violation of any provision of this subsection shall not constitute negligence per se nor contributory negligence per se or be considered evidence of negligence or liability.”
What Is Contributory Negligence?
To better understand the statute, we should first explain what contributory negligence means. Contributory or comparative negligence is a legal concept that allows you to recover compensation for injuries even if you were partly at fault. However, it also allows the other party to subtract from your settlement based on your contribution to the accident. For example, if you were 50 percent at fault and you had $20,000 in damages, you will get $10,000 after deducting half of the settlement (50 percent).
Each state has its own version of the law. Some versions allow plaintiffs to be 99 percent at fault while others bar compensation if you were even one percent at-fault. Georgia follows a modified negligence law which allows plaintiffs to be 49 percent or less at-fault for an accident. If you are 50 percent or more at-fault for the accident, you must pay for your losses alone.
In some states, violation of a helmet law would make your child partially at-fault for an accident. However, as the statute stated, the defense cannot use the violation as negligence per se. This means that if you or your child is injured in a bicycle accident and he was not wearing a helmet, the other side cannot use your child’s lack of helmet use against him.
For example, say your child was riding his bicycle unhelmeted in a bike lane when a driver entered his lane, hitting him. Your child suffered a broken arm and a traumatic brain injury. Georgia’s helmet statute forbids the other party from using your child’s helmet use, or lack thereof, against him. To prove your child caused or contributed to the accident, the driver would need to prove he was negligent in some other way. This could include refusing to yield right-of-way or running a red light.
So How Can Not Wearing a Bicycle Helmet Affect My Case if It Does Not Make Me Negligent?
While it will not contribute to your negligence, not wearing a bicycle helmet can contribute to your injuries. For example, say you were cycling when a driver hit you. You fell and hit your head, but only suffered road rash because you were wearing a helmet. If you were not wearing a helmet, you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury or even died.
Traumatic brain injuries can be very expensive, costing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars over a lifetime. This can make your claim much higher. Depending on the other party and its insurer, you may be unable to recover the entirety of your settlement demand.
How Can I Prove My Georgia Bicycle Accident Case?
What you need to prove is the same regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet or not. We must be able to establish the other party was more negligent than you were. For example, Georgia law considers bicycles motor vehicles. This means that bicyclists have the same right to the road as drivers. However, many drivers refuse to honor this. We will work to prove the other driver refused to yield the right-of-way (e.g., they turned in front of you, ran a red light while you were proceeding through an intersection, etc.) or did something else to cause your accident.
We will also fight against any accusations that you were at-fault for the accident.
Get Help After an Atlanta Bicycle Accident. Call 404-474-0804 Today.
Bicycle crashes can result in catastrophic injuries because the bike rider’s body has little or no protection from the impact of a motor vehicle that can weigh a ton or more. This is true regardless of whether you are wearing a helmet or not. The bicycle accident team at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. wants to help you navigate the complex process you now face and get all the compensation you deserve.
Please call us today at 404-474-0804, so we can set up your free, no-obligation case evaluation and consultation with our car accident lawyer. And because we handle all cases on a contingency basis, we do not recover compensation unless you do.
Who Is Liable for a Swimming Pool Accident?
The person whose negligent action or inaction caused or contributed to your injuries is liable for a swimming pool accident.
Does It Matter if My Injury Occured at a Public or Private Pool?
No, it does not. As long as someone else’s negligence caused or directly contributed to your injuries, they can be liable, whether you are at:
- A pool at a hotel or your apartment complex
- A friend’s pool
- Public pool
What Negligent Actions Might Entitle Me to Compensation?
Swimming pool owners, regardless of whether the land is public or private, must keep their pools safe for anyone who uses them. This is due to premises liability laws that require owners to keep all parts of their property safe for visitors. Any of the following could make a pool owner liable for pool injuries:
- A lack of “No Diving” signs
- No lifeguard (and no “No Lifeguard on Duty” signs)
- A distracted or otherwise negligent lifeguard
- No fence around the pool (Pools are a known attractive nuisance. Children trespassing on the property can drown if the pool is easily accessible.)
Is the Pool Owner Liable If I Was Not Invited Onto the Property?
Most likely not. If you broke into someone’s backyard at night to swim in their pool and injured yourself, that person would not be liable.
There is one big exception: the trespasser was a child. Georgia’s attractive nuisance law holds property owners liable for injuries trespassing children suffer if the child entered the property to engage with an “attractive nuisance” (i.e., a manmade object that a child would find enticing, such as a pool). For example, if your child trespassed on a neighbor’s property and drowned in an unfenced pool, you would likely be entitled to compensation.
For What Types of Accidents and Injuries Might I Be Able to Recover Compensation?
Drowning: If someone who was supposed to be supervising your loved one failed to do so, and your loved one drowned as a result, that person can be liable.
Submersion injuries (previously called a “near drowning”): You can recover compensation for the after-effects of a submersion injury (e.g., cognitive effects that resulted from the brain being without oxygen, cardiovascular disorders, etc.) Whoever was in charge of supervision can be liable for a near drowning.
Slip and fall: Injuries might include broken bones and head injuries. The property owner will likely be liable for any injuries you suffer. If you were running around the pool, you might be liable for your own injuries.
Neck and spine injuries: Often resulting from diving in too-shallow water, a neck or spine injury can lead to paralysis or other complications. If the injuries resulted from diving in too-shallow water, the pool owner can be liable if there were no warning signs.
Head injuries. A person can sustain a head injury at a pool from a slip and fall, a diving or jumping accident, and from horseplay. In most cases, the pool owner will be liable; however, in cases of horseplay, you might be partially liable.
Drain injuries: Can include damage to body parts, drowning, or submersion injuries. If the drains did not comply with regulations, the pool owner could be liable for any injuries that occur.
Contaminated water. Many people do not observe correct pool hygiene, and others knowingly go for a swim while sick. The most common infections and illnesses from pools are E. coli, parasites, Legionnaire’s disease, norovirus, and intestinal infections. A severe infection can be fatal to a person with a weak immune system. Both the person who swam while sick and the party in charge of maintenance can be liable.
What Types of Damages Can You Get for a Drowning?
If you lost your loved one to drowning caused by the negligence of someone else, you might have a wrongful death claim. You might receive compensation for the medical and final expenses, loss of services and support, loss of companionship, emotional anguish, and the pain and suffering your loved one experienced from the moment of injury until the time of death.
What Types of Damages Can You Get for a Swimming Pool Injury?
The same kinds of damages are available for swimming pool injuries as are in any other type of negligence personal injury case. These items can include:
- Medical bills (current and future care)
- Lost wages and loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If you suffered injuries or a loved one died from drowning or injuries at a pool due to someone else’s negligence, please call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., so we can help you. For a caring and compassionate consultation at no charge to you, call 404-474-0804 today.
How Do Local Leash Laws Affect Georgia Dog Bite Cases?
Leash laws tell dog owners when they must keep their dog leashed or locked up. Local leash laws can affect your dog bite case by helping you prove negligence.
What Are Georgia’s Leash Laws?
Most counties and cities in Georgia have local ordinances preventing dogs from roaming free. Atlanta’s leash law holds that dogs cannot leave the “premises of the owner” unless they are attached to a leash that is no more than six feet long.
What Affect Does a Leash Law Have on a Dog Bite Case?
You have two options to prove liability in a dog bite case:
- The owner knew the dog was “vicious” or “dangerous” and the owner allowed the dog to roam free and you did not provoke the dog; or
- The owner violated a leash law.
Proving a dog is vicious or dangerous requires knowledge of a previous attack or act of aggression. If the dog was running loose at the time of the attack, it may be easier to prove your case.
For example, if you were visiting your friend’s house and his dog attacked you, you would need to prove the owner knew the dog was vicious or dangerous to recover injury compensation. To establish dangerous or viciousness, you would need to prove the dog had previously bitten someone or had acted aggressively toward a person or pet. If the dog had no history of aggression, you cannot hold the owner liable.
However, say you were walking down the street when an unleashed dog attacked you. If you can prove the dog belonged to someone who failed to keep the dog under control, you can hold the owner liable for any injuries you sustained in the attack.
What If the Dog Escaped Its Confines?
Under state dog bite laws, a dog owner must always keep his or her dog locked in, leashed, or with someone who can control it. When the owner leaves his or her dog unsupervised, it must not be able to escape the property.
For example, if an owner leaves his dog outside in a fenced yard during the day, the owner may still be liable if the dog is able to escape and injure someone. If the dog had previously escaped the yard, we can use that to prove the owner’s negligence.
Free Consultation on Your Case
Proving an owner’s leash law violation led to your dog attack can be complicated. An Atlanta dog bite lawyer knows what evidence you might need to gather and how to deal with insurance companies who might be trying to devalue your claim. Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today at 404-474-0804. Under Georgia law, you only have two years after the dog bites to file a lawsuit so do not wait.
Who Is Responsible for an Accident with a FedEx or UPS Truck?
Who is responsible for an accident with a UPS/FedEx truck depends on who behaved negligently.
Who Is Responsible if the Truck Driver Caused the Accident with a UPS Truck?
In a typical car accident, the driver who caused the accident is the liable party. Truck accidents are a bit different. While you can hold the truck driver liable, FedEx and UPS are responsible for accidents their drivers cause while working. This is called “vicarious liability” and means you can sue both the driver and the company for your costs from the accident, so long as the driver caused the accident while acting within the scope of his employment.
This can be good news if you have injuries or damages, as employers usually have better insurance than the driver. Unfortunately, it also means dealing with a large trucking company and experienced insurance company. We will protect you against the trucking company and its insurer.
How Can I Prove UPS or FedEx Is Liable for the Accident?
First, we must prove the driver was negligent. This might involve establishing:
- The driver violated hours of service laws. Drivers can only drive a certain number of hours at a time. If the driver was fatigued when he caused the accident, we can obtain his logbooks to determine how long he had been behind the wheel.
- The driver was texting behind the wheel. It is illegal for truck drivers to text while driving. If the driver was texting or talking on the phone, we will subpoena the driver’s phone records to prove it.
- The driver was acting recklessly (e.g., speeding, swerving, etc.)
What if UPS or FedEx Claims the Driver is an Independent Contractor?
This is a common tactic UPS and FedEx use to absolve themselves of liability. The trucking company will claim that the driver was not an employee, but rather an independent contractor. As such, the driver himself, not the company, is responsible for the accident costs.
We will look into the driver’s personnel file and determine whether the driver is an employee or independent contractor.
What if Another Party is to Blame for the Accident with a FedEx Truck?
Depending on the factors of the accident, another party may have caused or contributed to the accident. These liable parties might include:
- Another driver: If another driver behaved negligently, we can prove that driver’s negligence and recover compensation from his insurance company.
- A manufacturer: If the accident resulted from a defective truck part, we can hold the manufacturer liable.
- A mechanic: If poor maintenance caused the accident, we might be able to hold the mechanic liable. UPS or FedEx might still be liable if the accident resulted from a lack of maintenance.
- A shipping company: If unsecured or poorly loaded cargo contributed to the accident, the shipper or cargo loader might be liable.
Proving who is at fault is hard and time-consuming. There are many things to handle and investigate when proving liability for the accident with a UPS or FedEx truck. You do not need to handle this on your own. A truck accident lawyer can help you. Schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. to discuss your FedEx or UPS truck accident today: 404-474-0804.
How Much Is a Whiplash Settlement Worth?
How much your whiplash settlement is worth depends on what happened in your case. The total cost is different for each case because of the unique nature of the injury and the effect on the person injured.
What Can I Recover for My Whiplash Injury?
In any whiplash case, you will be entitled to:
- Medical expenses: These might include your initial medical exam, any medications you required, physical therapy, or even surgery if your case required it.
- Lost wages: If your whiplash kept you from returning to work for any amount of time, you can recover compensation for that time you spent out of work. You can also recover compensation for any time you needed to take off to attend doctor’s appointments or physical therapy sessions.
- Lost earning capacity: Severe or long-lasting whiplash can require sufferers to work less hours, take a lesser-paying job, or even retire. We can help you recover compensation for the wages you would have earned had your accident not occurred.
- Pain and suffering: Whiplash comes with many inconveniences and difficulties. Many people have trouble finding a comfortable position or sleeping at all, which can strain the injured person’s relationship with family and friends and lessen his quality of life. We will ensure your settlement accounts for any pain and suffering you endured.
What Might Affect My Whiplash Settlement?
Various factors might affect what you can recover for your whiplash injury. Some of these factors include:
The Severity of Your Injuries
If your injuries are more severe, long-lasting, require surgical intervention, or keep you out of work for an extended period of time, you will likely recover more than you would for a whiplash injury that lasted a month.
Whether You Had a Preexisting Injury
If you had an existing neck, shoulder, or back injury at the time of the accident, you will likely receive less compensation. The insurer will likely argue that the accident in question only exacerbated your existing injury rather than causing a new one.
Whether You Contributed to Your Injuries
If you contributed to your own whiplash injury or the accident that caused it, you might be unable to recover the total amount of compensation for your injury.
For example, say you suffered whiplash in a rear-end car accident. The driver who rear-ended you was texting and did not see you stop, but your brake lights were burnt out. The investigation found you 40 percent at-fault and the other driver 60 percent at-fault. You demanded $10,000 for your injuries. You would only be able to recover 60 percent of your demand (i.e., $6,000).
If You Do Not File in Time, You Get Nothing. Call Us Today
In Georgia, you have two years to file a claim for a whiplash injury. If you try to file after that, the court will not hear your case. You should file as soon as possible to make sure you meet the deadlines.Get a free evaluation of your case. Call the Law Offices of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.
Is a Pedestrian at Fault for an Accident Outside a Crosswalk?
Whether a pedestrian is at-fault for an accident outside a crosswalk depends on a few factors. As a first step, you need to determine when you are inside and outside a crosswalk in Georgia.
When Are You “Outside” a Crosswalk?
Under Georgia pedestrian law, not all crosswalks have painted lines or other markers. Marked crosswalks have some kind of visible marker, most commonly painted lines. But there are also unmarked crosswalks. Both marked and unmarked crosswalks are legal and exist at most places where roads intersect.
This can make it difficult to determine when you are outside a crosswalk. Pedestrians are crossing outside a crosswalk if:
- They are crossing the road diagonally without a traffic signal that allows it.
- There is a marked crosswalk with a traffic signal and they ignore it and cross the road outside it.
- They are walking in the middle of the road (i.e., not at an intersection). There are no legal unmarked crosswalks in the middle of the road.
- There is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing but they choose to cross the road instead.
Example: A pedestrian is crossing between two intersections with no traffic or crosswalk signals. The pedestrian walks into the street without looking both ways. A driver does not have time to slow down to avoid the pedestrian and hits him. The pedestrian is likely at-fault for this accident.
You can legally cross the street in Georgia without using a crosswalk, but pedestrians must still yield to traffic and give the right of way to vehicles.
While pedestrians must yield to drivers when they are outside a crosswalk, simply being outside one does not mean they are automatically at-fault for an accident.
Was the Driver at Fault?
Drivers must take precautions to avoid hitting pedestrians, regardless of whether the pedestrian was inside or outside a crosswalk.
A driver might be at-fault for hitting a pedestrian outside a crosswalk if he:
- Could have avoided the pedestrian but was not paying attention or was under the influence
- Ran a red light or stop sign
- Was speeding
Example: A driver is texting and does not see a pedestrian crossing the road. If the driver hits the pedestrian, he will likely be liable for any injuries.
The driver might also be at-fault if the pedestrian was already crossing the road. For example, if the driver turned right on green and hit a pedestrian who was already crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the driver might be liable even though the pedestrian was not inside a crosswalk.
What if the Pedestrian and Driver Are Both at Fault?
Fault for an accident outside a crosswalk might land on both parties. When more than one person is to blame for an accident, Georgia uses a law called “comparative fault.” This law holds that parties in an accident can still recover compensation even if they were at-fault, as long as they are less than 50 percent at-fault. However, the percentage of fault decreases the settlement they are eligible to recover.
Example: The pedestrian is 20 percent to blame for the accident while the driver is 80 percent to blame. The pedestrian requested $80,000 for damages. The insurer or court will subtract 20 percent ($16,000) of the total. The pedestrian will only receive $64,000.
Get Help from Jason R. Schultz Today
Proving fault in an accident that occurs outside a crosswalk can be tough. You need to collect evidence as well as defend against any accusations of fault. This can be difficult to do especially when recovering from serious injuries that often come with pedestrian accidents.
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can handle your entire case from start to finish. We know what tricks insurers might pull to place the blame on you. More importantly, we know how to defend against them. Call 404-474-0804 today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.
What Is an Unmarked Crosswalk?
Georgia defines a crosswalk as a part of a roadway designated for pedestrian crossing. Marked crosswalks have painted lines or other visible markings to make the crosswalk obvious. An “unmarked crosswalk” has no visible markings.
Georgia recognizes both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Thus, crosswalks exist on all four corners of most intersections in Georgia, even if there are no painted lines.
Who Has the Right of Way in an Unmarked Crosswalk?
Georgia pedestrian laws state that pedestrians have the right of way in an unmarked crosswalk if:
- There is no traffic signal at the crosswalk intersection.
- They are on the half of the road a driver is on.
- They are within one lane of the road the driver is on or is turning on.
- They are already crossing.
- The driver is turning on a green light.
What if the “Don’t Walk” sign is flashing? Pedestrians still have the right of way. However, pedestrians should not start walking when the sign is flashing.
Is a vehicle moving and too close to yield to a pedestrian? Then it is illegal for pedestrians to move into the vehicle’s path.
Vehicles have the right of way if:
- A A pedestrian is crossing outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk unless the pedestrian is already on the road.
- There is a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing but the pedestrian decides to cross on the road.
Drivers must stop before reaching a crosswalk to allow pedestrians to cross safely.
If another driver stopped at a crosswalk, marked or unmarked, to allow a pedestrian to cross, all drivers must also stop until the pedestrian has left the road.
Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian Accident in an Unmarked Crosswalk?
To determine liability for a pedestrian accident in an unmarked crosswalk, we must identify who had the right of way. Let us consider two examples:
Example A: A pedestrian steps into an unmarked crosswalk. There are no pedestrian crossing signals. A driver with a green light turns right and hits the pedestrian. Who was at-fault?
It is likely the driver will be at-fault because he failed to yield right of way to the pedestrian.
Example B: A driver is turning right on green when a pedestrian steps into an unmarked crosswalk. The driver hits the pedestrian. Because the driver was already making his turn and likely did not have time to stop, the pedestrian will likely be at-fault. If the driver had time to stop but did not because he was not paying attention, both the driver and the pedestrian might share fault.
Injured in an Accident in a Crosswalk? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Have you been in an accident involving a marked or unmarked crosswalk? You can get a free consultation on your legal options. Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.