If you are drunk and a car hits you while you are walking, are you still eligible to receive compensation for your injuries?
A qualified lawyer will be able to discuss this complicated situation with you further in detail. Our experienced attorneys at The Eichholz Law Firm can help you determine if you are able to file a claim based on your alcohol consumption.
Drunk Pedestrian Accidents: Who Is at Fault
In a pedestrian accident, in order to determine whether the passenger or driver is drunk, you would look at the following evidence:
- Urine or breath test if the individual was arrested
- Medical tests are done after the accident occurred
- Where the parties were going to or coming from
- Skid marks
- How the accident happened
- Witness testimony
Believe it or not, pedestrians can be held accountable for a traffic accident. Pedestrians have the same responsibility as drivers to behave reasonably because even a pedestrian can put a series of events into motion that could cause an accident. A pedestrian could be responsible for any damage that occurred, despite the fact that the victims were inside of the vehicles.
Walking drunk isn’t enough to make you responsible for an accident; however, the same rules of negligence that apply in other traffic accident lawsuits also apply in pedestrian accidents as well. A jury will look at the actions of each individual who was involved in the crash. The standard a jury typically follows is what actions a reasonable person would have taken in a similar situation. If the passenger or driver was careless and irresponsible, that individual shares liability for the accident.
Contributory Law in Georgia
If you live in the state of Georgia and you need to be compensated due to a negligent motorist, you and your lawyer must be able to prove to the court that you were less than 50% at fault for the accident and the motorist was more than 50% at fault.
According to the state’s contributory negligence law, a victim won’t be barred from recovery in the event of an injury, regardless of fault. The victim can recover partial damages as a result of the defendant’s negligent actions, as long as the victim is less at fault than the defendant.
Bear in mind that a plaintiff’s compensation award can be reduced by an amount that is equal to the individual’s percentage of fault in court.
If a pedestrian is responsible for an accident, the contributory negligence law can be used. For instance, if an intoxicated pedestrian acted negligently and contributed to the accident, did not yield the right-of-way, ignored crosswalk signals, jaywalked, or stepped off a curb when a car was coming, the defendant can use a contributory negligence defense in court to minimize their liability.
Georgia Pedestrian Laws
Pedestrian laws protect walkers from becoming involved in accidents with motor vehicles. These laws affect how drivers must behave on the road to protect pedestrians and apply to the right-of-way in crosswalks and proper sidewalk usage.
Crosswalk Right of Way
In Georgia, it is illegal to cut a person off, squeeze through, or drive around them when they are walking across a crosswalk. Drivers must stop at all times during pedestrian crossings. They must also:
- STOP if a pedestrian is within one lane of the driver’s side of the road while they are crossing in a crosswalk.
- STOP if a pedestrian is ANYWHERE on the driver’s side of the road while they are crossing in a crosswalk.
Georgia’s Crossing Outside a Crosswalk and Jaywalking Laws
Under Georgia law, jaywalking doesn’t mean much because it isn’t defined anywhere and the state doesn’t consider it illegal. Jaywalking means walking outside of a crosswalk illegally; however, it is legal for an individual to cross any street that isn’t a crosswalk, as long as they are yielding to any oncoming traffic.
When you are hit by a car, there are some finer points for determining whether you were crossing a street that was outside of a crosswalk.
- When you are crossing the street, you are not allowed to cross diagonally. You must go straight across it in the shortest possible distance.
- If you are not crossing the road at an intersection where there are intersections with traffic lights on both sides that are adjacent to where you are crossing, IT IS ILLEGAL.
Common Injuries Related to Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians who are hit by a motor vehicle often suffer injuries to their head, extremities, chest, and abdomen. The pedestrian’s health and age, as well as the driver’s speed and type of vehicle, will determine the severity of the injuries.
Here are some common injuries pedestrians typically sustain:
- Wrongful Death: The pedestrian may die, depending on the severity of the accident.
- Lacerations: These injuries, depending on how deep they are and where they are located on the body, could have painful, long-lasting effects.
- Fractures: Broken bones caused by breaks in the continuity of a pedestrian’s bone are one of the most common injuries in accidents involving motor vehicles.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries can alter a person’s life permanently. The spinal cord transmits signals between the brain and body. Minor damage can also be problematic.
- Pelvic Injuries: There are four types of pelvic injuries/fractures a pedestrian could suffer from if they are hit by a motor vehicle. A vehicle’s hood design is usually the contributing factor.
- Internal Injuries: Potential severe injuries in a pedestrian accident can include brain bleeds, rib fractures, internal bleeding, and more.
- Head Trauma: The stakes are extremely high whenever a person’s brain is involved in an accident. Even if a brain injury is minor, it should be treated with the same care as a major traumatic brain injury.
Receiving Compensation for Drunk Pedestrian Accidents
If you were hit by a car because you were intoxicated while walking, you must seek medical attention immediately. Afterward, we recommend contacting The Eichholz Law Firm for a free consultation. We will discuss your potential claim, along with the circumstances surrounding the accident, and help you determine if your claim is viable as well as how your intoxication might impact your settlement.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.