Many people have heard the expression “pedestrians have the right of way,” but very few know the details of what the phrase means. Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians cannot do whatever they want on the roadways without repercussions. However, if a pedestrian is following all laws and gets hurt by a negligent driver, they can take legal action to recoup certain financial losses associated with the accident. 

All drivers and pedestrians in the Atlanta area should understand their rights and their responsibilities on the roadways. This knowledge helps to keep roads safe and usable for all.

Pedestrian Responsibilities

When walking, pedestrians must use designated walkways and sidewalks if they are available. If there are no sidewalks or pathways, a pedestrian may walk on the road. However, they must remain as close to the side of the road as possible and walk facing traffic to help reduce the risk of a collision. 

Pedestrians always have the right of way when on sidewalks and crosswalks. Suppose the sidewalk or crosswalk intersects with an alleyway or driveway. In that case, the pedestrian can continue, and any cars exiting should wait until the pedestrian safely arrives at the other side before proceeding. 

Driver Responsibilities

Drivers have a lot more responsibilities when it comes to pedestrians because they have the protection of a car, while pedestrians have virtually no protection at all. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all crosswalks, whether they are marked or unmarked. If there is no crosswalk, the driver must yield to pedestrians waiting to cross at a stoplight or stop sign. 

It is important to understand that “jaywalking” is relatively meaningless when it comes to the right of way. In the absence of a nearby crosswalk, a pedestrian is permitted to cross the street if they take reasonable caution to avoid traffic and they go straight across the road using the shortest path.

Drivers must also look for pedestrians walking on the road. As specified, a pedestrian is within their rights to walk along the side of a road if there is no sidewalk available. 

Pedestrian Rights After an Accident

If a driver hits a pedestrian, the latter can sue for damages in court with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Your settlement can account for several costs, including the following: 

  • Medical costs, including doctor and hospital bills, prescriptions, physical therapy, rehabilitation, etc.  
  • Travel costs for you to get to and from your medical appointments.
  • Income that is lost because of time spent out of work to heal.
  • Vocational retraining if you must change jobs or careers as a result of your injuries. 
  • Damage that occurred to your personal property, such as a phone, headphones, laptop, or other items you may have been carrying at the time of the accident.
  • Emotional trauma, disfigurement, and other damages related to pain and suffering.

You may still be entitled to compensation even if you were walking on the road illegally or not following pedestrian laws. Comparative fault laws allow individuals to seek some compensation when they are only partially responsible for an incident.

A qualified attorney can advise you about whether you have a valid personal injury claim. In many cases, the drivers are at fault for pedestrian accidents, and pedestrians can recoup their financial losses through a claim.

Contact Lamar Law Office, LLC 

Our law firm has many years of experience in pedestrian law. We work diligently to make sure that pedestrian rights are protected, and we act when drivers violate these rights. If you have been hit by a car while walking, we can help you to formulate a claim and gain compensation for your suffering.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, reach out to Lamar Law Office, LLC online.