Q: 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.