We tend to think of car accidents as the crash-bang-boom of two cars slamming into each other. Unfortunately, many accidents involve just one car. Sometimes the car hits a neighbor’s new mailbox, sometimes a cyclist, and in this case: a pedestrian. The impact of such an accident can be devastating for the pedestrian, causing serious injuries or even death. The legal implications of pedestrian accidents depend on several factors, including the circumstances of the accident, the applicable laws, and the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred. In this post, we’ll examine what happens when a pedestrian is hit by a car and whether or not the pedestrian can sue.
Negligence and Liability
When a pedestrian is hit by a car, the first question that arises is who is at fault? The answer lies in the concept of negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care that results in harm to another person. In the case of pedestrian accidents, negligence occurs when a driver fails to exercise reasonable care while driving, causing harm to a pedestrian. Negligence can take many forms, such as distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or disregarding traffic signals.
If the driver’s negligence caused the accident, they can be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries or damages. Liability refers to the legal responsibility of the person or entity responsible for the accident. In most cases, the driver of the car will be liable for the pedestrian’s injuries or damages.
However, liability is not always clear cut in pedestrian accidents. The pedestrian may also share some responsibility for the accident, such as jaywalking or not paying attention while crossing the road. In such cases, the principle of comparative fault comes into play. Comparative fault refers to the allocation of fault between the parties involved in an accident based on their degree of negligence. For example: Person 1 was 40% at fault and Person 2 was 60% at fault. The total fault is equal to 100%.
Georgia follows a rule known as modified comparative fault to determine liability in personal injury accidents. Under this rule, a person injured in an accident can receive monetary damages when the court or jury finds that the injured person was no more than 49% at fault for the accident.
Statute of Limitations
If a pedestrian decides to sue the driver for their injuries or damages, they must do so within a certain time frame. This time frame is known as the statute of limitations. If the pedestrian fails to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, they may lose their right to sue.
Proving Negligence when a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car
To win a personal injury lawsuit in a pedestrian accident case, the plaintiff must prove that the driver was negligent and that their negligence caused the accident. To do so, the plaintiff must establish four elements:
- Duty of care: The driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving.
- Breach of duty: The driver breached their duty of care by acting negligently.
- Causation: The driver’s breach of duty caused the pedestrian’s injuries or damages.
- Damages: The pedestrian suffered injuries or damages as a result of the accident.
If the plaintiff can prove all four elements, they may be entitled to damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Pedestrian accidents involving vehicles are a serious legal matter, and the injured pedestrian may have the right to sue the driver for their injuries or damages. Liability in pedestrian accidents is determined by the concept of negligence, and the principle of comparative fault may also apply. If a pedestrian decides to sue the driver, they must do so within the statute of limitations and prove that the driver was negligent and caused the accident. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, there is no time to waste. Call us today at 678-935-6000 or live chat with us 24/7.