Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
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What Happens if a Pedestrian is Injured on an Atlanta Sidewalk?
If you are walking on an Atlanta sidewalk and you suffer injury, you might be able to get compensation for the person or company whose negligence caused you to get hurt or an adjacent landowner.
What Happens When Construction Makes a Public Sidewalk Dangerous
Whoever places any material on public sidewalks in Atlanta violates Section 138-12 of the Atlanta Municipal Code, which provides that:
“Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to dump, deposit, or store any refuse, waste, garbage or other material of any nature, in or along the public right-of-way.”
If a construction company puts any debris or other substances on the public sidewalks, whether intentionally or inadvertently and someone gets hurt, the company can be liable. A warning sign will not shield the construction company from responsibility. If the construction activity will impact the safety of the sidewalk, the company must put up barriers and warning lights and other measures to protect the safety of the public.
For example, a construction company demolishes a building to replace it. During the demolition, bricks from the old building landed on the abutting sidewalk. When the crew left for the day, instead of removing the debris or putting up physical barriers, they placed a sign on the fence near the sidewalk warning of construction debris.
The sign does not satisfy their duty of care. If someone suffers injury because of the bricks, the construction company will be liable.
Who Has to Pay for Repairs to Atlanta Sidewalks
While you might think your tax dollars should pay for safe sidewalks, the City of Atlanta thinks otherwise. If a house abuts a damaged sidewalk, the City can order the homeowner to fix the sidewalk. If the department of public works sends a notice to fix the sidewalk and the homeowner does not repair it within what the department feels is a “reasonable time,” the department of public works can fix it and send the homeowner the repair bill.
Atlanta ordinances also require homeowners to keep the sidewalks around their houses free of ice and snow. Also, if part of the sidewalk space is unpaved, the city ordinances require the adjacent homeowner to keep the unpaved area sodded, watered, trimmed, pruned, weeded, and maintained.
Who Can Be Liable for Injuries on Sidewalks in Atlanta Residential Areas?
If you receive an injury while walking on a sidewalk in a residential area of Atlanta, you might have a claim against the abutting homeowner. If the homeowner did not maintain the sidewalk as the Atlanta ordinances require, this failure could be negligence. When the law imposes a duty on a person or entity and the failure to comply with that responsibility results in injury to someone, that person or entity can be liable to the person who suffered harm.
For example, if a section of a sidewalk is broken into chunks and you suffer injury from either losing your balance on the uneven surface or from a car hitting you when you step into the street to walk around the hazardous section of, the adjacent homeowner can be liable. The injury must be the result of the negligent maintenance of the sidewalk.
What Happens if the Pedestrian Is Also Negligent?
Sometimes more than one person is at fault in an accident that results in an injury. Let us say that a walker was playing a game on their phone while strolling down the sidewalk. Due to inattention, they did not notice uneven areas on the sidewalk. The walker tripped on and fell on the cracked and misaligned concrete, breaking their arm.
The judge finds the pedestrian was 40 percent at fault for not paying attention, and the abutting homeowner was 60 percent responsible for failing to maintain the sidewalk. Georgia’s comparative negligence law will reduce the walker’s damages by 40 percent to account for their fault.
How to Get Help for an Atlanta Sidewalk Injury
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC can talk with you and evaluate whether you might be eligible for compensation for the harm you suffered.
Call us today at 404-474-0804, and we will set up your free consultation.
What happens when a pedestrian is at-fault for a car accident?
When a pedestrian is at-fault for a car accident, s/he will be liable for all losses sustained in the accident. S/he will need to depend on his/her own insurance to cover the damages. Of course, this only applies if s/he was wholly at fault. With many pedestrian accidents, both parties share some of the fault, which adds another dimension to the insurance claims process.
Below, we review liability for pedestrian accidents in Georgia and what kinds of options injured pedestrians have for recovery. For assistance with an accident claim or for a free case evaluation, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. at 404-474-0804.
When is a pedestrian at fault for an accident?
Any time a pedestrian behaves in a way that puts others’ safety at risk, s/he is breaching his/her legal duty of care, i.e., acting negligently. And when his/her negligence causes an accident, s/he will be at-fault and financially liable for the victims’ damages.
Some of the most common things pedestrians do to cause accidents include:
- Texting while walking
- Talking on the phone
- Walking while intoxicated
- Not paying attention to or outright disobeying road signs and crosswalk signals
- Crossing the street outside of an intersection
- Running into the road
Which party’s insurance company pays for pedestrian accident damages?
Georgia is a tort or “fault” state when it comes to auto accident claims. This means that at-fault parties are financially responsible for the harms they cause. So, the insurance company you turn to for recovery hinges on fault or negligence. Here is how it works:
When the pedestrian is 100 percent at fault, the pedestrian will need to turn to his own insurance company for recovery. If the pedestrian carries auto insurance, he can use his personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for his medical bills. PIP is an optional coverage though, and he may not carry it.
In fact, many pedestrians who do not own a car do not carry auto insurance at all. If this is the case, the pedestrian will need to use his own health insurance and disability insurance to offset his expenses.
By the same token, if the driver or other road users involved in the pedestrian accident sustained harm or personal property damage, they have the right to pursue compensation from an at-fault pedestrian, as well. They can either file an insurance claim or sue the pedestrian to recover their losses.
This could leave an at-fault pedestrian paying thousands out-of-pocket.
Georgia adheres to a modified comparative negligence rule, which states that injured parties can recover compensation if they were at-fault — as long as they were less than 50 percent at fault.
If the insurer or courts deem the pedestrian, say 40 percent at fault for the accident, s/he can still file a claim against the driver and recoup his/her losses. The caveat is that his/her degree of fault will reduce the potential settlement value. In this example, the injured pedestrian will only be able to recover 60 percent of his/her damages, e.g., $6,000 out of $10,000.
How can I limit my liability in a pedestrian accident case?
Because your eligibility to collect damages relies on who was at fault for the accident, it is important for the insurers or courts to carefully and fairly assign liability after a pedestrian accident. This is often easier said than done. In every case, insurers will do what they can to limit the liability of their policyholder. This means claimants will need to fight to prove the other party’s liability and minimize their own. Having a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer represent you is the best way to accomplish this.
When you work with the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C., we will gather evidence surrounding your case to reduce your liability and try to uncover any ways in which the driver or other parties were negligent.
Perhaps the driver was texting or talking on the phone when the accident occurred. We can subpoena his/her phone records. Maybe s/he did not come to a stop at a stop sign. We can see if there is any traffic camera footage of the accident or witnesses that can testify. Or maybe the city or township is at fault for defective or poorly designed roadways that were a hazard for the pedestrian.
We can also review the police report, speak to witnesses, and even hire an accident reconstructionist to determine exactly how the accident occurred and who was at fault. And if the other party tries to pin a disproportionate amount of blame on you, we will reject it with evidence. Our goal will be to obtain the fullest recovery possible for you. And we will do all this with no up-front costs from you.
Call attorney Jason R. Schultz to explore all your compensation options.
Pedestrian accidents are one of the most complicated types of traffic accident cases. Liability and recovery are challenging issues, but given Jason’s 25+ years’ experience helping pedestrian accident victims, there are no injury cases that he cannot handle.
Contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. to discuss your case and determine how best to proceed. We will review the specifics of the accident as well as the insurance policies involved, and counsel you on your rights and responsibilities. We will explore all available avenues of recovery and help you maximize your compensation.
Let our caring, qualified team assist with all the legal and insurance hassles so that you can focus on getting better. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our pedestrian accident attorney: 404-474-0804.