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I was in an accident with a car while walking downtown. Could I be at fault?

distracted man walking with phone and coffeedistracted man walking with phone and coffeeWhen most people think of pedestrian accidents, they assume that the driver of the vehicle was at fault. This is often the case, and motorists cause these accidents in many ways, such as running a red light, talking on a cell phone, texting, or driving while intoxicated. However, is the driver always at fault in causing these tragic accidents?

When the Pedestrian Could Be at Fault in a Pedestrian-Car Crash

Unfortunately, pedestrians can be partially or fully at fault in causing these accidents. Not only do drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care when driving, but pedestrians also have this same duty when they are walking. Some of the ways pedestrians cause or contribute to these accidents include:

  • Jaywalking or walking in the middle of the street. Pedestrians often jaywalk instead of obeying traffic signals or cross in the middle of the street instead of walking to the corner. While this is a common practice, it is illegal and dangerous—especially when the pedestrian is making a quick run for it across the roadway.
  • Crossing against a traffic signal. Like jaywalking and crossing in the middle of the street, crossing when the traffic signal says “Do not walk” is dangerous and plays a part in many pedestrian accidents.
  • Intoxication. Pedestrians who are intoxicated on drugs or alcohol have slower reaction times and impaired decision-making abilities—just like impaired drivers. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 36 percent of pedestrians aged 16 and older who died in one of these accidents had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams or higher—over the legal limit for a DUI.
  • Walking where prohibited. Pedestrians are prohibited from walking in certain areas such as bridges and highways where the danger of being hit is greater and the injuries deadlier. It can be a recipe for disaster when a pedestrian disobeys these traffic laws.

The Special Dangers of Distracted Walking and Pokémon Go

Two Hands Holding Cell Phones While Standing in a Cross WalkThere are two dangerous practices pedestrians engage in that cause or contribute to pedestrian-vehicle accidents. Not surprisingly, they both often involve using cell phones. The first is distracted walking and can involve the following:

  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Texting
  • Reading emails, texts, or videos or surfing the net
  • Checking a GPS
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking with other pedestrians while walking

According to a CBS News investigative report, approximately 10 percent of pedestrian injuries that require a visit to the emergency room—sometimes with fatal injuries—are caused by distracted walking. In addition, the problem of cell phone usage is so serious that the National Safety Council has decided to add statistics on injuries and fatalities caused by cell phone distracted walking in its annual report.

A recent danger for both drivers and pedestrians is the newly released Pokémon Go game that people play on their cell phones. Since the game is new, there are no statistics on how many accidents playing the game causes. However, both drivers and pedestrians are engaging in unsafe practices when playing the game. Pedestrians are not aware of their surroundings and can jaywalk and dart in front of vehicles in their quest to catch the Pokémon character. Equally or more dangerous, drivers are being caught playing the game while they are driving.

You Still Could Be Entitled to Compensation If You Were Partially at Fault in Causing a Pedestrian Accident

In most pedestrian-vehicle accidents, the pedestrian is not completely at fault, and the driver could be partially liable for compensating the pedestrian for his injuries. If you believe you were partially at fault in causing your pedestrian accident, do not let this stop you from obtaining the compensation you deserve. While your negligence could result in a smaller settlement, you still could be entitled to a substantial sum under Georgia’s comparative negligence laws. Start an online chat today or call us toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with David Brauns to learn about your legal options.

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