Understanding Pedestrian Rights in Savannah, GeorgiaHolding someone accountable for an accident as a pedestrian can be challenging. Georgia overhauled its pedestrian law to protect pedestrians from incurring damages after a pedestrian-car accident, requiring motor vehicle drivers and motorcyclists to come to a complete stop on crosswalks and give way. Here's what you should know about pedestrian laws in Savannah:
Right-of-Way CrosswalkIt's illegal for motorcyclists, cyclists, or drivers to squeeze through a crosswalk or drive around and cut off someone in a crosswalk. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-9, regardless of the pedestrian's position on the road, the driver must stop and allow them to cross. If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk within one lane on the driver's side, they still must stop and allow the pedestrian to finish crossing the lane.
Jaywalking or Crossing Outside of a CrosswalkThough jaywalking hasn't been entirely defined by any state laws, it refers to a pedestrian illegally walking outside a crosswalk. According to Georgia code O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92, a pedestrian can legally cross outside a crosswalk only if they yield to oncoming traffic. To determine if the pedestrian had a right to cross during the accident, lawyers can consider if the pedestrian used the shortest distance possible to cross the street. Crossing the street diagonally is not advisable. This is because there can be traffic lights on both sides of the street adjacent to a road where no intersection is present. Though pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks, they must adhere to the rules of crossing the road. Pedestrians cannot leave the curb or sidewalk abruptly and enter the roadway. If a pedestrian fails to follow these laws or take precautions while crossing the road, they can be partially liable for an accident. In this case, their compensation will be limited by the modified comparative negligence law.
Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in SavannahAll drivers in Savannah have a responsibility to use reasonable care and respect all other road users, including pedestrians. In some cases, motorists fail to follow traffic or state laws and cause accidents, which can happen due to behaviors such as:
- Driving while intoxicated or drowsy. Fatigue and drunk driving impair a driver's ability to concentrate on the road. A drunk or sleepy driver can drift into the path of pedestrians or fail to notice a stop sign.
- Running stop signs and red lights. This is a common accident that occurs at an intersection or crosswalk. If a driver runs a red light or fails to stop at a stop sign, there's a high chance that they'll hit a pedestrian who has the right of way at intersections and crosswalks.
- Distracted driving. When a driver is not paying attention to the road, they're likely to cause an accident because they may fail to see a pedestrian on the crosswalk. In some cases, a driver may not notice that they're veering off the road and can hit pedestrians on the shoulder or sidewalk. A driver can be distracted when using the phone, eating, or adjusting the car stereo.
Common Injuries From a Pedestrian AccidentA pedestrian can sustain minor, severe, permanent, or fatal injuries depending on the severity of the impact or the nature of the accident. It's vital to seek medical attention immediately after the accident, regardless of the extent of the injuries. Some of the common injuries from pedestrian accidents include:
- Torn ligaments and skin
- Broken bones or fractures
- Head, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Knee damage
- Internal bleeding
- Bruising and sore muscles
- Brain injuries
Why Hire Our Savannah Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?Several factors cause pedestrian accidents, and multiple parties could be liable for the damages. Also, depending on the accident, you might be partly at fault or held responsible without proof of guilt. To protect your rights and ensure you claim total compensation, consider working with our lawyer familiar with such cases. To establish negligence and liability, your lawyer will investigate the accident and gather evidence from different sources, such as:
- The police report
- Witness statements
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Video surveillance footage
- Medical records
- Driver's records