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By Jarome Gautreaux

Ten pedestrians were struck and killed by cars in Macon-Bibb County in 2013. Tragically, Macon has seen several pedestrian accidents already this year, including a hit-and-run that killed a man this past weekend. In response to pedestrian related accidents in Macon, city officials have formed a Pedestrian Fatality Review Board. The board is tasked with reviewing pedestrian accidents to determine why they happened and how they can be prevented in the future. The problem exists nationwide: In 2013 there were 4, 735 pedestrians killed and about 66,000 injured in pedestrian traffic accidents in the United States.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

Everyone at some point is a pedestrian. Whether walking around downtown, waiting for the school bus or taking a stroll in your neighborhood, we all walk on the roads. Regardless of where you are walking you should always be aware of your surroundings and use caution.

  • Look both ways before crossing the street – left, right, left again
  • Listen for the sound of cars
  • Put down phones and devices and take off headphones while walking around cars and crossing the street
  • Don’t walk/cross in between cars
  • Wear light colored reflective clothing while walking at night
  • If available, use a crosswalk when crossing the street and only go when the light gives the okay

Safe Driving Around Pedestrians

Drivers must always be on the lookout for pedestrians.

  • Follow all traffic laws
  • Avoid distracted driving
  • Yield at a crosswalk where people are trying to cross
  • Avoid Speeding
  • Avoid driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Who’s at Fault

If it is determined that a driver is at fault, he/she can be held liable for the pedestrian’s injuries. It is sometimes difficult, however, to determine who is at fault in a pedestrian traffic accident. Sometimes both the driver and the pedestrian are partly responsible. Like other serious injury cases, it if often wise to consult with an experienced injury lawyer to evaluate a pedestrian injury or death case to determine who is at fault.

What to do if You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Related Accident

Pedestrian accidents are much like motor vehicle accidents.

  • Make sure everyone is okay – call 9-1-1 if necessary
  • Call the police & get a police report
  • Get names & numbers of people involved
  • Exchange insurance information (health insurance usually covers a pedestrian’s injuries)
  • Get the names & numbers of witnesses
  • Take pictures

Usually, in these types of crashes, the pedestrian suffers the greatest injury. In fact, you may not realize the extent of your injuries for weeks or months after the accident itself. Insurance companies may call injured persons and try to offer a quick settlement. This allows the company to pay less than what the case is likely worth and relieves it from having to pay any future claims to the injured person. We typically advise injured people to avoid talking with the insurance company or the other party about the accident or their injuries before speaking with a lawyer.

We hope you will stay safe, whether driving or walking.

About the Author
Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer. He represents people who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence. For over 20 years, he has successfully recovered more than 100 million dollars in a variety of Macon personal injury cases. Jarome’s reputation for client focus and case success has led to other lawyers requesting his assistance with complex personal injury litigation. What drives Jarome every day is his strong belief that the amount of money someone has should not dictate the justice they receive. It is for this reason that he has never worked for corporations, insurance companies, or other interest groups. Instead, he thrives on helping the people who need it most- people who have suffered at the hands of others and deserve compensation.