Over the last few weeks,several clients have come to me after being hit by a car in Atlanta, Georgia. I realized that we have not written extensively on the legal duties owed by pedestrians and cars in Georgia and this post and the new section on the firm website will address those issues. I am heading to traffic court today to defend a client that was run over from behind and sustained a brain injury in Buckhead. The client was crossing from the Whole Foods on Paces Ferry to the St. Regis hotel in broad daylight. That road only has a traffic signal at one end and a stop sign at the next intersection, so the client is not required to use the crosswalk. Silvers v. Kimbell 219 Ga.App. 482, 465 S.E.2d 530 (1995)The client crossed the first two lanes of traffic and was waiting for traffic coming from the left to clear when he was struck from behind by a driver turning out of Whole Foods. The victim was transported to the hospital with a brain injury and the officer had the audacity to ticket him for jaywalking. I will post an update after we try the case today.
Generally speaking, pedestrians have the right of way when they are crossing in the crosswalk. OCGA 40-6-91(a) says that the driver of a vehicle shall stop to allow a pedestrian to cross the road within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the same half of the road as the car or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the road on which the care is traveling. This applies regardless of the color of the light,.
The duty shifts drastically when the pedestrian chooses to cross somewhere other than the crosswalk. Under OCGA 40-6-92, the pedestrian must use the crosswalk if they are on a street with traffic lights at the intersections on either side of where they are crossing.
Under OCGA 40-6-92(a), pedestrians crossing a road outside of the crosswalk shall yield the right of way to all cars unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway. Basically, if you looked both ways and walked across a street that did not have trafic signals at each end, you have the right of way if a car comes speeding up.
Keep in mind the fact that legal duties are wonderful, but they apply in the courtroom. Many Atlanta drivers don’t care who has the right of way and if you are lying on the hood of the car with a broken leg, it will be little comfort to know that you had the right of way. If you have other questions, ask an attorney who has represented people hit by a car in Atlanta and throughout the State of Georgia.