College Park is a vibrant and growing city in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Unfortunately, as the city grows, so does the number of pedestrian/vehicular accidents. If you have been injured in a pedestrian/vehicular accident in College Park, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To obtain this compensation, you may benefit from the help of the legal team at The Millar Law Firm.
Our experienced lawyers at can help you understand your legal rights and options after a pedestrian/vehicular accident. We will investigate the accident to determine who was at fault, and we will fight to maximize the compensation you deserve.
In College Park, pedestrian/vehicular accidents are a serious problem. In 2022, there were over 100 pedestrian accidents in this community, resulting in 10 deaths and 50 serious injuries. When drivers fail to follow the law, life-altering injuries can be the consequence for hapless pedestrians.
When these tragedies happen, it’s often necessary for injured pedestrians to seek the help of personal injury specialists. The Millar Law Firm has over three decades of experience handling pedestrian accident cases.
Georgia Laws Meant to Protect Pedestrians in College Park
The State of Georgia has a number of laws designed to regulate the behavior of pedestrians and drivers. These laws are designed to keep pedestrians safe and to prevent traffic accidents. Some of the most important pedestrian laws in Georgia include the following:
O.C.G.A § 40-6-91
When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, drivers must stop and let them cross. This law applies to all crosswalks, whether they are marked or unmarked. Drivers must stop even when the pedestrian is just approaching the crosswalk, as long as they are approaching the half of the roadway on which the driver is traveling. If a driver fails to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, they could be issued a ticket and fined.
O.C.G.A § 40-6-95 and O.C.G.A § 40-6-96
These two laws apply to pedestrians who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They are specific as to where and how an intoxicated person may use or be upon the roadway. In summary, the statutes state that if you are under the influence, you are prohibited from walking or being upon any roadway or the shoulder of any roadway where vehicles may travel. However, pedestrians who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs may cross the roadway IF they use the crosswalk.
In other words, pedestrians who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are only allowed to cross the street at crosswalks or intersections.
O.C.G.A § 40-6-144
Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks. This law applies to all sidewalks, whether they are marked or unmarked. Drivers must stop even if the pedestrian is not yet in the crosswalk, as long as they are approaching it and are within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the driver is traveling.
O.C.G.A § 40-6-92
If you are a pedestrian, you should use crosswalks whenever possible. Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks, but they must yield to vehicles if they have not yet entered the crosswalk. If you are crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, you must yield to vehicles that are already on the road.
O.C.G.A § 40-6-93
Drivers must exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians on any roadway. Drivers should also be especially careful when driving near schools, parks, and other areas where pedestrians are likely to be present.
If a driver fails to exercise due care and collides with a pedestrian, they could be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. In some cases, the driver could also be charged with a crime.
O.C.G.A § 40-6-22
Pedestrians must obey traffic control devices and traffic regulations specifically applicable to pedestrians. This includes flashing red lights on school buses.
Drivers must stop for school buses that are stopped and have their red lights flashing. The flashing red lights indicate that pedestrian children might be present. This law applies to all school buses, whether they are picking up or dropping off children.
The law requires drivers to stop at least 10 feet from the bus and remain stopped until the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus resumes motion. Drivers who violate this law could be fined up to $1,000.
Common Injuries Suffered in Vehicular/Pedestrian Accidents
Accidents that happen between pedestrians and vehicles can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor to fatal. The most common injuries include:
Head and Brain Injuries: This can include concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Symptoms might be as mild as a headache or could be severe enough to cause unconsciousness or long-term cognitive impairment.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to any part of the spinal cord can cause temporary or permanent changes in its function, potentially resulting in paralysis.
Bone Fractures and Breaks: Impact with a moving vehicle can easily break bones, especially legs, arms, and ribs. Hip fractures are also common in pedestrian accidents as well, particularly among older individuals.
Internal Injuries: These can include damage to organs, internal bleeding, and other life-threatening conditions that may not immediately present symptoms.
Cuts and Lacerations: These can result from being hit by the vehicle, being thrown onto the pavement, or from broken glass or other debris.
Abrasion and “Road Rash”: When a pedestrian is thrown and skids along the ground, it can cause severe skin damage.
Psychological Trauma: Beyond the physical injuries, an individual hit by a car might suffer from psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
Pelvic Injuries: Due to the height of a car bumper in relation to a person, pelvic fractures are common in pedestrian accidents.
Lower Extremity Injuries: Pedestrians are often struck in the lower body first, leading to injuries to the legs, knees, and feet. This could include anything from simple sprains to complex fractures.
Facial and Eye Injuries: If the pedestrian is thrown onto the hood or windshield, or onto the pavement, they may sustain significant facial injuries or eye damage.
Pedestrian Accident Claims are Challenging – Having a Lawyer Can Help
In Georgia, pedestrians are not automatically covered by their own auto insurance policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This means that pedestrian victims will probably not be able to file a claim with their own insurance company to receive reimbursement for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket costs.
However, one may still be able to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company if they are found to be at fault for the accident. The driver’s insurance company will likely try to offer you a settlement amount that is lower than what you are actually owed. This is why it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
If you do decide to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company, you will need to provide them with the same information you would share in the event of a vehicular accident. That information includes:
- Your name, address, and contact information
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- The names and contact information of any witnesses
- A description of your injuries
- All medical bills you have incurred
- A total of income you have lost
The driver’s insurance company will then investigate the accident and determine whether or not their driver was at fault. If they find that their driver was at fault, they may offer you a settlement amount. If you are not satisfied with the settlement amount, you might want to consult with an attorney and file a lawsuit against the driver.
It is important to remember that you have a limited amount of time to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. This means that you must file your claim within two years of the date of the accident.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian/vehicle accident in Georgia, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At The Millar Law Firm, we can help you understand your legal rights and options and advise you on the best course of action.
Gathering Evidence in a Pedestrian Accident Can Be Difficult
In Georgia accidents involving pedestrian and vehicles, the driver is most often at fault. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, in 2021, drivers were at fault in 79% of pedestrian/vehicular accidents that resulted in a fatality. This means that in almost 8 out of 10 pedestrian/vehicular accidents that resulted in a fatality, the driver was either negligent or reckless.
There are a number of challenges that can make it very difficult to gather evidence in a Georgia pedestrian/vehicular accident. These challenges include:
- The accident may occur in a busy area, making it difficult to find witnesses.
- The driver may flee the scene of the accident, making it difficult to identify them.
- The pedestrian may be injured, unconscious, or otherwise unable to provide a clear account of what happened.
- There may be no physical evidence at the scene of the accident, such as skid marks or damage to vehicles.
In addition to these challenges, there are a number of factors that can make it difficult to preserve evidence in a pedestrian/vehicular accident. These factors include:
- The weather may change, making it difficult to collect physical evidence.
- The scene of the accident may be cleaned up, making it difficult to find evidence that was originally present.
- Witnesses may have left the accident scene or forgotten what they saw. They may change their story over time.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian/vehicular accident in Georgia, it is important to take steps to gather evidence as soon as possible. These steps include:
- Exchanging information with the driver, including their name, address, insurance information, and license plate number
- Getting medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’re injured
- Taking photos of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle and the driver’s vehicle
- Filing a police report
- Contacting the insurance company to file a claim
Whether or not you choose to retain a lawyer to help you with your claim, taking these initials steps as soon as possible after the accident can help to ensure that you have the evidence you need to file a successful personal injury claim.
If you have any questions about gathering evidence in a pedestrian/vehicular accident, you should consult with an experienced lawyer like the legal team at The Millar Law Firm. Their decades of experience in handling pedestrian/vehicle accidents can make getting a full settlement more likely.
The Challenges for Pedestrians Seeking Compensation
An accident can leave you with large medical bills, lost income and ongoing pain and suffering. Unfortunately, obtaining compensation following an accident can be very tricky. There are many challenges pedestrians face in gaining compensation in Georgia pedestrian/vehicular accidents. These challenges include:
- Pedestrians are not driving or controlling a large, heavy machine that can be difficult to stop. For this reason, it is often assumed that the pedestrian is more likely to be at fault for an accident, even when they are not. This is because people may think that pedestrians were not paying attention or that they were not following the rules of the road.
- Pedestrians may not be able to provide as much evidence as drivers. Drivers have access to their vehicles, which often provide physical evidence of the accident such as damage to the vehicle or “black box” evidence that details vehicle speed as well as a timeline for braking and stopping. Pedestrians may only have injuries to support their claim.
- Pedestrians may have difficulty finding witnesses. Accidents involving pedestrians often occur in busy areas, where there are many people around. However, these people may not be paying attention to the accident or may not be able to provide accurate information.
- Insurance companies may try to deny or minimize the pedestrian’s claim. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and they may try to deny or minimize a pedestrian’s claim in order to save money.
Despite these challenges, pedestrians can still gain compensation for their injuries in Georgia pedestrian/vehicular accidents. If you have been injured in a pedestrian/vehicular accident, you will probably find it helpful to speak with an experienced legal expert as soon as possible. Knowing your rights is an important first step.
Georgia Has Low Insurance Coverage Mandates
Georgia’s requirements for insurance coverage is very low. The state’s minimum liability insurance requirements are:
- Bodily injury liability – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.
- Property damage liability – $25,000 per incident.
These limits are very low, and they are often not enough to cover the full cost of injuries a pedestrian sustains in a car accident. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to serious injury when they are hit by a car because they are not surrounded or protected by the heavy metal structure of a vehicle. For this reason, they can be more catastrophically injured in a collision.
When a pedestrian is seriously injured in an accident, the victim’s medical bills can easily exceed $25,000. Given the low insurance policy limits in Georgia, in such cases, the pedestrian would probably have to sue the driver in order to access his/her other assets in order to recover the remaining costs.
If you are a pedestrian, it is important to be aware of the minimum liability insurance requirements in Georgia. As a driver, you should consider purchasing more coverage than the minimum, if you can afford it. This will help to protect you in the event of a car accident.
Your Health Insurance May Help
If the offending vehicle has only the low mandated coverage limits, the pedestrian will likely have to work with their health insurance company to get the additional medical costs covered. This is because the driver’s insurance company will only be able to pay up to the policy limits, and if the pedestrian’s medical bills exceed the limits, the victim will be responsible for the difference.
The pedestrian’s health insurance company may be able to cover the additional costs, but they may not. It depends on the terms of the victim’s health insurance policy. Some health insurance policies have limits on how much they will pay for medical expenses incurred in a car accident. Others may not cover car accident injuries at all.
If the pedestrian’s health insurance company does not cover the additional costs, the pedestrian may have to sue the driver to recover the money. However, this can be a long and difficult process.
Catastrophic Injuries Lead to Catastrophic Medical Bills
The medical expenses in a Georgia pedestrian/vehicular accident can be substantially large. This is because pedestrians are often more vulnerable to serious injuries than drivers. For example, if a pedestrian is hit by a car, they may suffer broken bones, head injuries, or spinal cord injuries. These injuries can require extensive medical care, including surgery, hospitalization, and physical therapy. The cost of this care can easily exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars – far in excess of the insurance coverage most drivers have.
In addition to the cost of medical care, pedestrians who are injured in a car accident may also suffer lost wages and pain and suffering. Lost wages can be substantial if the pedestrian is unable to work for an extended period of time. Pain and suffering is a more difficult to quantify, but it can be significant and often includes physical pain, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These losses can often be recovered, but securing compensation for them can mean a legal battle.
Painful Injuries Can Last a Lifetime – How is Compensation Calculated?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the appropriate compensation for pain and suffering that could last a lifetime will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. However, there are a number of factors that your legal team and insurance companies may negotiate when making this estimate. These factors may include:
- The severity of the injuries.
- The extent of the pain and suffering.
- The length of time the pain and suffering is expected to last.
- The impact of the pain and suffering on the victim’s life.
- The victim’s age, occupation, and lifestyle.
- Any relevant case law.
In some cases, lawyers and insurance companies may use a multiplier method to estimate the appropriate compensation. This method involves multiplying the victim’s economic damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages) by a factor that reflects the severity of the pain and suffering. A victim who suffered severe injuries and who is expected to suffer pain and suffering for the rest of their life could be awarded a higher multiplier of 5 or 6, for example.
In addition to the factors listed above, your lawyer and the driver’s insurance companies may also consider the following when estimating the appropriate compensation for pain and suffering:
- The victim’s medical records.
- The victim’s testimony.
- The testimony of any experts, such as doctors or psychologists.
- The amount of compensation that has been awarded in similar cases.
It is important to note that the amount of compensation awarded for pain and suffering can vary widely, even in cases with similar facts. This is because the value of pain and suffering is subjective and cannot be easily quantified. As a result, we urge you to consult with a member of our legal team if you have been injured in an accident and are seeking compensation for pain and suffering.
An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options as well as advise you on the best course of action. Additionally, they are experts in knowing what evidence is necessary and how to gather that evidence in order to support your claim and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Proving Who is At Fault
A pedestrian involved in an accident with a car in Georgia does not have to prove that the driver broke a law in order to gain compensation. Georgia is a comparative negligence state, which means that both the pedestrian and the driver can be at fault for an accident. The pedestrian’s compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault, but they can still recover compensation even if they were partially at fault.
For example, if a pedestrian is crossing the street illegally and is hit by a car, the pedestrian may be found to be 20% at fault for the accident. This means that the pedestrian’s compensation will be reduced by 20%. However, the pedestrian may still be able to recover 80% of their damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The amount of compensation that a pedestrian can recover in a Georgia pedestrian accident depends on a number of factors, including the severity of their injuries, their lost wages, and their pain and suffering. Also of critical importance is the effectiveness of your negotiation skills. Insurance company lawyers are seasoned experts at keeping insurance pay-outs low. In order to obtain a full and fair settlement, having a lawyer who is also an expert negotiator can make a big difference in the scope of the settlement.
Our Law Firm Helps Injured Pedestrians in College Park
The Millar Law Firm has been fighting for pedestrian accident victims for decades. Our experience makes it possible for us to accurately calculate the full cost of the accident and effectively communicate that cost to insurance companies. This gives the victim an excellent chance of getting a fair settlement.
Not only are we experts at identifying which laws may have been broken, leading to the accident and injuries, but we are also able to gather the evidence necessary to prove the facts around the accident. This makes it possible to gain full and fair compensation for our clients.
Call The Millar Law Firm to arrange a free first consultation. Allow us to help you understand your rights and help you negotiate the insurance settlement you deserve.