When a vehicle collides with someone walking down the street, it might be easy to blame the motorist. However, liability in Gwinnett County pedestrian accident cases is not always obvious. A court must determine which party had the right of way and whether either party violated traffic laws. A skilled attorney could help an injured pedestrian build a case that minimizes their percentage of fault.
An insurance company typically determines who is at fault for a pedestrian accident in Gwinnett County, unless an attorney wants to dispute it. In those cases, a jury would decide if the attorney and insurance company cannot agree.
Liability is determined by who was legally entitled to be on the roadway at the time the collision occurred. If the pedestrian had the right of way, the driver is at fault. If the driver had the right of way, the pedestrian could be found at fault.
An experienced attorney could build a claim minimizing a pedestrian’s fault and argue on their behalf in court. If the case is heard in front of a judge, it is a known as a bench trial. Cases heard before juries are known as jury trials.
Liability in pedestrian cases can be a lot harder to determine because in car wreck cases, the damage to the vehicles tells the story. Often, if a person is struck by a vehicle, they will be thrown to a different part of the roadway, and it may be more of a he-said, she-said situation. If they were crossing on a crosswalk with a crossing signal, the driver might argue that the pedestrian did not have the right of way.
Contributory negligence on the part of the pedestrian will serve to reduce or dismiss their recovery. For example, if they are found 50 percent at-fault, the pedestrian has no case. If they are found less than 50 percent responsible, their recovery award will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them by a court. For example, if the pedestrian is found 30 percent at fault and a jury awards $100,000, the pedestrian’s award for damages would be reduced to $70,000.
If the pedestrian was in the roadway without authorization, for instance, they were crossing the roadway where there was not a crosswalk, they could be liable for their injuries if they did not yield to oncoming traffic. If a pedestrian was distracted at the time of the accident, that also could go against them.
For instance, if a pedestrian was distracted by their phone, the driver can make an argument for contributory negligence. The defense could argue the pedestrian could have gotten out of the way or taken measures to be safe had they not been distracted.
If the vehicle was traveling way above the speed limit, there might be an argument for punitive damages. The speed of the vehicle will determine the amount of damages recovered by the pedestrian, because the faster the vehicle is going, the more damage to the person being hit. Also, if the driver is driving at a reckless speed, that will be a key factor in determining the negligence of the driver versus a pedestrian.
Georgia has a hands-free law, so if someone was texting or they were distracted when they were driving, that will be a factor in determining liability against the driver. If the driver committed a traffic violation, it may point to them being negligent and causing the wreck.
Crosswalks are extremely important in determining liability. It will be very difficult for a driver to claim that a pedestrian was negligent, since crosswalks protect pedestrians under the law, giving them the right of way.
At intersections controlled by traffic lights, people traveling on foot must make sure to have the crossing signal to be in the crosswalk legally. There are a lot of crosswalks in Georgia and Gwinnett County where the cars must stop no matter what, and the pedestrians have the absolute right and authority to be in the crosswalk.
An accomplished attorney could investigate the scene of the wreck to gather all the evidence, talk to witnesses, and get camera footage from a light or a nearby business. A lawyer may even hire an accident reconstructionist to determine liability in Gwinnett County pedestrian accident cases. Speak with an attorney now to discuss your case.