Pedestrian Injuries

Atlanta Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

Whether crossing the street, walking in a parking lot, or simply checking the mailbox, everyone is a pedestrian at some point each day.  Between busy roads and distracted drivers, Atlanta sees thousands of pedestrian accidents every year. From life-changing injuries to death, these accidents lead to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and financial burdens. After being hit by a car, many victims trust the striking driver’s insurance to do the right thing. However, insurance companies care more about their profits than being fair.  Worse, when someone does receive compensation from an insurance company, the victim’s health insurer will demand full reimbursement of all money spent on healthcare.  This means many people hit by cars walk away with nothing.  We can help.

Getting hit by a car can be a life changing experience.  Being taken advantage of – or ignored – by an insurance company makes it worse.  You deserve support from someone who has your best interests in mind. We are confident we can help you receive maximum compensation for everything from medical expenses to lost income to a lower quality of life.

 

The Number of Pedestrians Killed by Vehicles is Increasing Nationwide

Pedestrian deaths are at all-time highs and the problem is getting worse.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is a federal agency charged with determining the probable cause of transportation accidents.  According to the latest data from NTSB, nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed each year.  Since 2007, pedestrian deaths have increased by 27 percent.  Pedestrian deaths now account for over 16% of ALL motor vehicle fatalities in the United States.

 

YEAR TOTAL MOTOR VEHICLE FATALITIES TOTAL PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES AS A PERCENT OF ALL VEHICLE FATALITIES
2007 41,259 4,699 11.4%
2008 37,423 4,414 11.8%
2009 33,833 4,109 12.1%
2010 32,999 4,302 13.0%
2011 32,479 4,457 13.7%
2012 33,782 4,818 14.3%
2013 32,894 4,779 14.5%
2014 32,744 4,910 15.0%
2015 35,485 5,495 15.5%
2016 37,461 5,987 16.0%

Most pedestrians are hit by passenger vehicles, like cars and truck.  As of 2016, 84% of pedestrians were struck by a passenger vehicle, 6% by large trucks, and the remaining 10% by buses, motorcycles, and unclassified vehicles.  This steady increase in pedestrian deaths shows a crisis in pedestrian safety.

 

Pedestrian Deaths are Also Rising in Georgia

The Federal Highway Administration recently required Georgia to compile data on pedestrian deaths in Georgia.  The Wetherington Law Firm has long argued that Atlanta is not doing enough to protect pedestrians.  The data proves we were right.  There has been a major spike in pedestrian deaths in Georgia.  According to the report, “In 2016 & 2017, Georgia had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities since at least 1975, the earliest year for which traffic fatality data is available.”  (cite)

The 2016 report also concluded that Georgia’s pedestrian fatality numbers would get worse.  And they did.  In 2017, Georgia’s fatal pedestrian wrecks went up 9%.  (cite).  This number earned Georgia the dishonor of being the 16th worst state for pedestrians in Georgia.  (cite).

 

Pedestrian Safety Should be a Top Priority, But it is Not

For help understanding this disturbing trend in pedestrian deaths, the Wetherington Firm worked with data from another federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  NHTSA manages the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).  According to the latest FARS data, the number of people killed on urban roads versus rural roads has remained roughly the same.  Approximately 75% of all pedestrian fatalities occur on rural roads compared to 25% on rural roads.

This makes sense.  There are more vehicles and pedestrians in cities like Atlanta and Macon, than in rural areas of Georgia.  However, our government leaders already know this common-sense fact.  Our elected officials have a responsibility to make sure that our roadways, intersections, and sidewalks are pedestrian friendly.  Similarly, drivers also have a responsibility to be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially in high pedestrian areas like near Piedmont Park, Georgia State, or Buford Highway.  Despite 75% of pedestrian deaths occurring in cities, only 18% of pedestrian deaths occur at intersections.  Most pedestrian deaths occur when crossing outside of an intersection.  Note, this does not mean that most people are crossing outside of a crosswalk; many crosswalks are in the middle of roadways, near bus stops and MARTA/ATL stations.  This shows that more work is needed to protect pedestrians in high traffic areas.

In 2018, the Atlanta Regional Commission joined with 20 other cities with a goal of reducing the number of pedestrian deaths to zero by 2030.  The move is modeled after Vision Zero, a movement launched in Sweden.  Vision Zero calls for safety measures like adding lighting, narrowing road lanes, and making wider sidewalks and bike lanes.

While these initiatives are admirable, more work is needed to stop the rising number of pedestrian deaths in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

 

What Should You Do After Being Hit By a Car in Georgia?

We presume that you are only reading this page after being hit by a car and discharged from a hospital.  You are probably now wondering what to do about hospital bills, future medical treatment, lost time from work, and getting compensated for your pain & suffering, and the general disruption the injury.  If you a family member reading this page after the death of a loved one, you likely want to know what steps are needed to file a legal claim on behalf of your lost family member.  Regardless of where you are located or they type of injury, we can help.

If you were in a pedestrian accident, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance company.  When filing a claim, you will be asked to make a recorded statement.  That statement is designed to get you to admit to certain facts that will be used against you.  Every insurance company in the country has a similar script designed to help them deny your claim.  If the insurance company cannot deny your claim, they will use your statement to minimize the amount paid to you.  They may make an offer to settle your claim.  If you accept a settlement from the driver’s insurance company, you won’t be eligible to file a lawsuit later — even if your injuries worsen over time.

If your family member was killed in a pedestrian wreck, it is much more complicated.  The surviving family members may have a wrongful death claim.  We have a special page dedicated entirely to wrongful death claims, which explains who can recover and what types of claims are allowed.  You may still receive calls from the insurance company or even offers to settle.  The same rules apply here.  The insurance company will attempt to put some or all of the blame for the wreck on your family member.  They will then offer some amount of money, that will never fully compensate you for the loss of a loved one.  If you accept the settlement, your case is over.

The best first step is to call us at 404-888-4444.  When you call the Wetherington Firm, you will speak to an attorney that specializes in pedestrian injury case.  We do not have a “call center” and every client receives individual attention from an attorney.  We focus on making sure that all possible defendants are included in the case and that all available insurance is discovered.  Because of the design of the roadway or intersection, you may also have a claim against the city or county where the wreck occurred.  We also focus on making sure that the full value of your claim is recovered.  You can contact us now by completing this form.

 

What Personal Injury Damages are Recoverable After Being Struck by a Vehicle?

The main public policy purpose for tort law is compensation. Compensatory damages are money damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff and make the plaintiff whole. The system is not perfect. Life, limb, and freedom from pain cannot be restored. However, compensatory damages are a means of attempting to place the plaintiff in the same relative position that he or she was in before the loss by way of monetary compensation.

When you’re the victim of a pedestrian accident, you may face economic and non-economic damages. This includes medical expenses (hospital bills, medications, physical therapy, etc.), property damage, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, lost income and disability.  In rare instances, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.

 

You Can Recover “General” Damages After a Being Struck by a Car

General damages are “non-economic” losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or mental anguish, all of which have no specific, itemized value.  The monetary value of general damage is determined by the jury, and jury verdicts are not consistent.  A broken ankle in one courtroom could be worth $10,000 in pain and suffering.  In another courtroom, it could be worth $100,000.  Matt Wetherington tried a case in Fulton County that resulted in a $2.8 million verdict for a broken ankle.  However, it is important to know that jury verdicts and settlements vary widely, even for the exact same injury.  The variance is due to the individual plaintiff, the jurors at the trial, and the effectiveness of the injured person’s attorney.

 

You Can Recover “Special” Damages After Being Struck by a Car

Special damages are “economic” losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or the cost of hiring household help, all of which do have a specific itemized value and can be more easily determined or calculated on a simple mathematical basis – once you have obtained the necessary records to prove that the expenses were incurred.  It is important to note that only medical expenses “proximately caused” by the wreck itself can be recovered.  If you would like to learn more about how proximate cause is determined, click here.  For simplicity sake, you should know that proximate cause is often highly contested.

 

You May be Able to Recover Punitive Damages After Being Struck by a Car

In tort actions, there may be aggravating circumstances that may warrant the awarding or imposing of additional damages called punitive damages.  Punitive damages, when authorized, are imposed not as compensation to a plaintiff but solely to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant.  To recover punitive damages, the victim must prove that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care that would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.

 

Why Should I Hire A Pedestrian Injury Lawyer in Atlanta?

A good lawyer knows every tactic in the book. We investigate collisions, get statements from eyewitnesses, and analyze medical records to increase your chances of maximum compensation. And we work fast.  We know this area of law extremely well and know the full extent your rights. For example, did you know jaywalking isn’t illegal in Georgia?

Pedestrian injury cases involving large medical bills or potentially serious injuries always need the guidance of an attorney.  What may seem like an obvious case can quickly change to a $0 recovery based on a failure to preserve evidence or falling for a trick question from an insurance adjuster.  An experienced pedestrian accident attorney can make a huge difference.  Trying to handle a serious claim on your own will not only get you much less than you deserve, but it is much more stressful than you may think.  If you are undecided about hiring an attorney, call us for a free consultation.  We will walk you through our process, explain what we can do and how we are going to do it.

Everyone knows that the insurance companies do not have car wreck victims’ best interests at heart.  However, most people are unprepared for how well insurance adjusters are trained to minimize injuries and deny valid claims.  The Wetherington Law Firm has the experience and financial resources needed to prove your case and obtain full compensation for your injuries.  Every personal injury client receives a dedicated team of lawyers and supporting staff who will do the heavy lifting so that you can focus on getting better.  Our clients trust us to do everything possible to obtain full value for your injuries.  You can read the reviews of our satisfied clients here.  Our firm works exclusively on contingency.  That means that you do not pay us a single penny unless and until we obtain a recovery for you.  When you hire us, you can expect us to take the following steps immediately:

  • Preserve all evidence, including the vehicles involved in the wreck immediately;
  • Identify and interview all witnesses to your incident;
  • Identify all possible defendants;
  • Identify all insurance policies;
  • Develop the evidence necessary to determine the correct standard of care for each defendant;
  • Fully document your current medical condition;
  • Negotiating your medical bills;
  • Work with your physicians to understand your future medical needs and how much they will cost; and
  • Keep you informed every step of the way.

 

We meet with clients and give them the truth

 

Who Can I Recover Money from After Being Struck by a Car in Georgia?

There are several potential parties that you can recover money from.  Although the specifics vary by state and this is a complicated area of law, the following parties must be considered:

 

The At-Fault Driver

You can always assert a claim against the at-fault driver.  In Georgia, every driver is required to carry liability insurance.  The minimum coverage limit in Georgia is set by a statute, O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11.  The minimum coverage is as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in a single accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
  • $25,000 for injury or harm to the property of others in a single accident

These coverages are the minimum amounts of coverage required, and it is generally advisable to carry higher coverages.  If the insurance company fails to pay a valid claim within the available policy limits, the insurance company may be responsible for the full value of your claim.  Under other circumstances, if your damages exceed the policy limits, the at-fault driver can be held personally responsible for the difference.

 

The Owner of the At-Fault Vehicle

In many states, including Georgia, an injured person may have a claim against the owner of an at-fault vehicle, even if the owner was not driving the car at the time of the wreck.  This is because of a legal theory called negligent entrustment.  In a negligent entrustment claim, liability arises from the negligent act of the owner in lending his automobile to another to drive, with actual knowledge that the driver is incompetent or habitually reckless.  This theory commonly arises in drunk driving cases where a person has a history of DUIs and tractor trailer wrecks where the company knew that the driver was a bad driver.

Where the owner of the vehicle is a large corporation, there is generally no limit to the amount that can be recovered.

 

The Resident Relatives of the At-Fault Driver

Some liability insurance policies provide liability coverage for all resident relatives of a household.  This type of coverage is not common, but it is important to obtain all relevant liability policies to confirm that there insurance coverage is not missed.

 

The Employer of the At-Fault Driver

If at the time of the accident the employee was within the course and scope of her employment, the employer is liable for the employee’s negligence even if the employee was driving a personal vehicle.  Where the at-fault driver was using his or her employer’s vehicle, there is a presumption that the person was working in the course and scope of their employment.  However, this presumption can be rebutted by the employer.  When a wreck was caused by an Uber or Lyft driver, this analysis can become very complicated.

 

The Contractor Responsible for the Design or Maintenance of the Road

If the wreck was caused by a hazardous condition on the roadway, such as a malfunctioning crosswalk indicator, the contractor responsible for the roadway may be responsible for the injuries and damages caused by the wreck.  Similarly, if the design of the roadway makes it more prone to accidents or serious injuries, such as an awkwardly sloping shoulder that leads to trips and falls into the roadway, the manufacturer may be responsible for the wreck.

 

Your Insurance Carrier – Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries, it may be possible to recover from your own insurance coverage through underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.  This is a complicated area that generally requires an attorney to confirm that you are receiving the full benefit of the coverage that you have purchased.

 

Your Resident Relative’s Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In Georgia, all underinsured/uninsured insurance policies provide liability coverage for all resident relatives of a household.  If you lie in the same house as a family member, but have different insurance policies for your vehicles, you may be able to recover some insurance benefits from your relative’s carrier after you have exhausted all coverage on your own uninsured/underinsured policy.

 

Your Employer – Worker’s Compensation

If a person is injured in a wreck while in the course and scope of his or her employment, the injured person may be able to recover worker’s compensation benefits.  It does not matter who was at fault.  If the person is eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, he or she can receive coverage.  It is possible to recover both workers compensation and liability insurance.

 

What is the Deadline to File a Lawsuit After Being Hit as a Pedestrian?

Georgia requires that you file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of the wreck.  But, if a government entity is involved (like a city that designed the intersection), the deadline can be much shorter.  Depending on the type of government entity, the deadline to assert a claim can be as short as six months from the date an injury occurs.  If you believe that a government entity is partially responsible for an injury, do not wait before contacting an attorney.  There are special rules, strict time limits, and procedural hurdles that you should not attempt alone.  If you do not assert a claim before the applicable deadline, the claim will be forever barred, regardless of how much worse your injuries get.  We have an additional page that goes into much more detail on the timing of filing a lawsuit.  You can view it here.

Georgia has special rules on filing a wrongful death claim.  As a general rule, the claim should be filed within two years.  However, there are certain exceptions that can extend the deadline.  The rule is codified in O.C.G.A. 9-3-33:

Actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues, except for injuries to the reputation, which shall be brought within one year after the right of action accrues, and except for actions for injuries to the person involving loss of consortium, which shall be brought within four years after the right of action accrues.

There are several exceptions to this rule. If the wrongful death involves a criminal case that is not resolved, the time limit for the wrongful death case will be suspended until the criminal case has been completed.

In addition, Georgia law also allows wrongful death cases to be filed for up to five years if the deceased person’s estate hasn’t gone through probate.  Again, these rules are extremely complicated and the best practice is to establish the estate and file all valid claims within two years.

What if the Accident is Partially My Fault?

The first step to receiving compensation is proving the driver’s negligence, resulting in damages like lost income or disability. If you failed to obey a traffic signal or were texting while walking, it is possible that you will be held partially liable through comparative negligence.  Being partially at fault is not a bar to recovery in Georgia.

As long as you are less than 50% liable, you have the chance to receive compensation for any resulting damages. If you share fault with the driver, you will both receive a fault percentage. The more fault percentage the driver has, the larger your compensation will be.

 

Do I Have A “Good” Pedestrian Injury Case?

There are many causes of pedestrian accidents, ranging from failing to obey traffic laws to poor road and vehicle design. No matter what caused your accident, it’s always smarter to have an experienced attorney take a closer look.

 When you’re the victim of a pedestrian accident, the road to recovery can seem overwhelming — including investigations, paperwork and negotiations. With us by your side, you can navigate this difficult time with confidence and relief.

How to Hire the Best Pedestrian Injury Lawyers in Atlanta

Hiring an attorney is one of the most important financial decisions you can ever make.  You have to get it right.  There are a number of attorneys who hold themselves out as “experts” who have never tried a case or even settled a case involving a pedestrian.  It is important that you ask any prospective attorney about his or her experience with pedestrian injury cases lawsuits, specifically with regard to the injuries involved in your case.

Call or email us today for a free consultation.  If we accept your case, it will be on contingency.  That means that you do not pay anything up front and only pay us if we win your case.  If we do not accept your case, we will help you find a lawyer who can.  We generally only accept cases involving significant injuries.  However, we know many good personal injury attorneys and will make sure that you do not have to search around for someone to accept your case.

 

You Can Make a Lasting Difference in the Lives of Others by Hiring the Wetherington Law Firm

Obtaining full and complete compensation for our clients is the most important service we provide to our clients.  Protecting the general public and making sure that other people are protected is part of obtaining justice.  We frequently work with law enforcement, local government officials, state legislators, and federal agencies to understand the root cause of dangerous conditions.  This often leads to uncovering dangerous trends or patterns of behavior that must be changed.  Many of our clients have chosen not to be defined by their injuries, and instead choose to serve as a beacon of hope to others.  Whether through legislation, refusing to settle unless changes are made, or simply sharing their story, our clients’ efforts have helped save MILLIONS of people from serious injury or death.  If you can help prevent even one other person from being hurt or injured by the same problem, it will help make every day of your recovery a little bit better.  We care about you as a person and will work with you however you want to help make the world a safer and better place.  Call us now to get started.

Have You Been Injured as a Pedestrian?

Call or email us anytime. We accept all cases on contingency, which means that you only pay if we recover money for you.

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Why Hire Us?

Reputation matters. Our firm only pursues high value, meritorious lawsuits. The insurance companies may not like us, but they respect the work we do and results we obtain for our clients. When a case moves into litigation, the defense attorneys know that we have properly investigated the claims, know the applicable law, and are preparing the case for trial.

There is no risk when hiring our firm.

We do not charge attorney fees for obtaining property damage or medical payment coverage for our clients. Other firms charge for this service.

We have saved our clients millions simply by negotiating medical bills and fighting invalid medical liens.

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