Car stopped at a pedestrian crossing
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By Jarome Gautreaux

Pedestrian accidents in Georgia present a significant and distressing issue, often resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. These incidents occur when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, and the consequences can be devastating, not only for the individuals directly involved but also for their families and communities. A significant factor contributing to such accidents is negligence, which can manifest in various forms, including distracted driving, failure to yield at crosswalks, speeding, and disregarding traffic signals. Negligence, whether on the part of the driver, the pedestrian, or both, undermines road safety and raises essential legal and ethical considerations. Understanding the role of negligence in pedestrian accidents is crucial for ensuring accountability, leading to a safer environment for all road users in Georgia.

Legal Basis For These Pedestrian Claims

The concept of negligence is central to personal injury claims, including pedestrian accidents. Negligence refers to the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.

Elements of Negligence

To establish negligence in a pedestrian accident in Georgia, the plaintiff (the injured party) must prove four elements:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant (the party allegedly at fault) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. For drivers, this means following the rules of the road and exercising reasonable care to avoid harming pedestrians. Pedestrians also have a duty, such as obeying walk signals and using crosswalks.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to meet this duty of care. The breach could be a driver speeding or ignoring traffic signals, a pedestrian jaywalking or entering the street suddenly without warning, 
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual damages, such as physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, and lost wages, as a result of the accident.

Comparative Negligence in Georgia

Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence rule (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33), meaning that a plaintiff’s compensation can be reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault, they are not entitled to recover damages. For example, if a pedestrian is found to be 20% at fault for an accident and the damages amount to $100,000, they would only be entitled to recover $80,000.

Impact on Pedestrian Accidents

In pedestrian accidents, the driver’s and the pedestrian’s actions will determine the negligence. Common factors include whether the pedestrian was in a crosswalk, whether the driver was distracted or disobeying traffic laws, and whether either party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The outcome of a negligence claim in Georgia heavily depends on these factors, and each party’s degree of fault will directly impact the compensation awarded.

Legal Proceedings and Settlements

Most pedestrian accident claims are settled out of court, but the case may go to trial if the parties can not reach a settlement. Both sides will present evidence in court supporting their version of events. The jury (or judge in a bench trial) will then determine the degree of fault for each party based on the evidence presented.


Determining whether a pedestrian accident was caused by negligent actions by either one or both parties is crucial. Understanding drivers’ and pedestrians’ roles and responsibilities, along with the state’s comparative negligence rule, is essential for anyone involved in or affected by a pedestrian accident. Suppose you or a loved one is considering legal action due to a pedestrian accident. In that case, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to navigate your case’s complexities effectively and ensure that your rights are protected. Gautreaux Law has attorneys with multiple years of experience handling personal injury matters. Once a client retains us, we make sure to always be there. We value clear and open communication and work hard to ensure that our clients know what is happening and the next steps in their case. Contact our firm for an initial complimentary consultation to help us determine if you have a solid case based on the individual circumstances surrounding your pedestrian accident.

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.