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Can Pedestrians be Held Liable for a Motor Vehicle Accident?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 76,000 pedestrian accidents during 2012. When most people consider a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident, they generally imagine a situation in which the pedestrian is the victim of a careless driver who failed to yield the right of way.

In many cases, this is exactly what occurs, sometimes resulting in serious injuries that could affect a person for the rest of his or her life. Sometimes, however, pedestrians are actually the party at fault for causing an accident. While there is little risk that vehicle occupants will be injured if the vehicle in which they are traveling hits a pedestrian, it is possible that a pedestrian may negligently cause an accident between two or more vehicles.

If this is the case, it is possible that the injured parties may be able to recover for their losses by bringing a claim against the pedestrian.

While this situation is fairly rare, it does occur. As a result, it is important for anyone who has been involved in an accident that occurred as a result of trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian to discuss their options with an experienced Atlanta injury attorney as soon as possible.

Our lawyers are dedicated to helping people who have been injured by the negligence of others obtain justice through the Georgia civil courts. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers, call Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. today at (404) 869-8600.

Examples of pedestrian negligence

There is a common misconception that pedestrians always have the right of way. Legally, this is not the case. While pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a crosswalk, the Georgia code also prohibits pedestrians from leaving a curb or other place of safety into the path of a vehicle when it is impractical for the driver to yield.

Of course, this does not give drivers the legal authority to simply run into pedestrians who are in the road, as that itself would likely be deemed negligent, if not criminal. Some examples of the types of pedestrian negligence that has the potential to cause a car accident include the following:

  • Jaywalking
  • “Dart out” incidents
  • Walking into the street intoxicated
  • Walking where pedestrian access is prohibited, such as on highways or bridges

After a car accident, significant investigation may be required in order to determine who was at fault. Often, the assistance of an attorney can have a significant impact on your ability to recover as well as the amount that you ultimately receive, if any. It may be necessary to obtain evidence in the form of surveillance videos, eyewitness testimony, police reports, or even the opinion of an accident reconstruction specialist.

In many cases, significant resources and legal maneuvering may be necessary in order to obtain this type of evidence, a process which is best handled by an attorney. Consequently, anyone involved in a car accident which they suspect was caused by a negligent pedestrian should discuss their options with an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer as soon as possible.