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Fatal Pedestrian Accident: Fighting for Justice After a Wrongful Death

overhead view of pedestrians in a crosswalk

As a pedestrian accident law firm, we are all-too-familiar with this kind of tragedy.

A victim may have been hit by a car while in a crosswalk or as they tried to make it across a road without sidewalks or a pedestrian crossing sign. Their families turn to us for guidance on what steps they should take next. They want answers, and rightly so.

It’s our job to provide those answers during the initial phases of the investigation. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to cast blame on the deceased victim in a number of ways to protect their bottom line.

We understand their tactics and work hard to make sure that not only is the truth preserved about what happened but that the victim’s family is compensated for their sudden and unexpected loss.

If the at-fault driver is proved to have had malicious intent or was intoxicated, our pedestrian accident lawyers can pursue punitive damages against them to punish them for their egregious conduct.

Pedestrian Fatalities in Georgia

Pedestrian fatalities are a growing issue in Atlanta and other Georgia cities. The infrastructure put in place often considers the needs of auto traffic first; pedestrian needs, like lighting and crosswalk signals, are afterthoughts.

A graphic showing pedestrian fatalities in Georgia from 2010 to 2019

The graphic above shows the number of pedestrians killed over the last 10 years:

  • 2010 - 168 pedestrian deaths
  • 2011 - 130 pedestrian deaths
  • 2012 - 167 pedestrian deaths
  • 2013 - 176 pedestrian deaths
  • 2014 - 163 pedestrian deaths
  • 2015 - 194 pedestrian deaths
  • 2016 - 232 pedestrian deaths
  • 2017 - 253 pedestrian deaths
  • 2018 - 262 pedestrian deaths
  • 2019 - 236 pedestrian deaths

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths Increasing?

Over the past decade, the number of pedestrian fatalities in Georgia has risen sharply. In 2018, pedestrian deaths accounted for 17% of total U.S. traffic deaths — the last time this happened was in 1982.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), five states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) accounted for 47% of all pedestrian deaths.

There are many reasons why this is occurring:

  • More people are shifting away from passenger cars to light trucks and SUVs (these tend to cause more severe pedestrian injuries).
  • Most pedestrian fatalities happen at night, with a 67% increase from 2009 to 2018.
  • Temperatures have grown warmer lately. Warmer weather encourages late-night activities, such as walking and alcohol consumption.
  • Smartphones have also become a prominent factor, with both pedestrians and drivers distracted by their usage.

Pedestrian injuries and fatalities can be reduced by conducting safety audits and rethinking how we structure roadways.

Pedestrian Wrongful Death Claims

Pedestrian accidents usually happen because someone was distracted, but can quickly turn deadly and lead to loss of life. In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members will need to prove that the other person involved in the incident is responsible for the death in order to receive compensation.

Pedestrian right of way is granted in most situations except when suddenly crossing in front of a moving vehicle or when a driver has the right of way.

Most pedestrian injuries occur due to getting hit in a crosswalk or pedestrian crossing, being struck while attempting to cross the street or parking lot, or getting run over on the shoulder and sidewalk.

Compensation for a Wrongful Pedestrian Death

When a pedestrian suffers an injury due to a negligent driver or other cause, they typically have the ability to file for compensation. If they die, however, their personal injury suit becomes a wrongful death suit.

Compensation then transfers to the surviving family or the deceased’s estate. Types of compensation include the trauma and emotional suffering the victim may have endured, funeral costs, and financial support to cover the sudden loss of income.

Pedestrian Accident Attorney

A good pedestrian accident lawyer should work to support the surviving loved ones or the deceased’s estate. To do this, they must prove that the at-fault person caused the death of the pedestrian.

Our personal injury and wrongful death attorneys know how to negotiate such matters outside of the courts to get the maximum settlement amount possible.

After an unexpected or traumatic death in a family, many decisions have to be made and can lead a person to feel overwhelmed. At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, we have prepared to take on the responsibility of investigating the incident, interviewing witnesses, and gathering evidence.

You have enough to worry about during this difficult time. Call us at (770) 934-8000 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your pedestrian accident case and legal rights.

Read More: Frequently Asked Questions About Pedestrian Accidents

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