Voted Best Personal Injury Law Firm By Georgia Lawyers
Thomasville Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
Matt Wetherington with Wetherington Law Firm,P.C. is the hardest working attorney I have ever worked with. He went above and beyond our expectations. Calls and emails are returned promptly and by Mr. Wetherington himself.
5 Stars is nowhere near enough to rate how awesome Matt and his colleagues were. They took my case even when I didn’t think there was anything we could do. I was in a bad situation at the time and Matt, Robert, and Sarah were there for me every step of the way.
I’m so grateful to Ben Levy and everything he did for me. He was truly dedicated to helping my case. Throughout the process, Ben was very thoughtful, responsive, organized, and made sure I was fully informed along the way.
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Pedestrian accidents in Thomasville can happen for many reasons. Sometimes cars don’t stop at crosswalks, drivers are distracted by their phones, or they drive too fast where people are walking. When someone gets hit by a car, they can get really hurt. They might have to go to the hospital, miss days or even months of work, and pay a lot of money for their medical bills. Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 51-1-6) says if you’re walking and get hit by a car because the driver wasn’t being careful, you have the right to ask for money to help with these problems. This is called making a compensation claim.
There’s a rule that says you have two years from the day you got hurt to start asking for this money (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33). This is important because if you wait too long, you might not be able to get help anymore. It’s also good to know that even if you were a little bit at fault, like not walking at a crosswalk, you might still get some money, but it could be less depending on how much it was your fault.
At Wetherington Law Firm, we’re here to help people who’ve been hurt in pedestrian accidents. We know how to talk to the insurance companies and make sure you get the money you need to cover your medical bills and lost work. Our team takes care of all the hard legal stuff, so you can focus on getting better. If you or someone you love has been hit by a car, talk to us. We’re ready to help you every step of the way.
Your Rights as a Pedestrian in Georgia
As a pedestrian in Georgia, you have specific rights designed to protect your safety and well-being while navigating roads and walkways. Understanding these rights is crucial, especially if you’re involved in an accident. Here’s an overview of your key rights:
- Right of Way in Crosswalks: Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91, pedestrians in marked crosswalks have the right of way, and vehicles must stop to allow them to cross safely. This law aims to ensure pedestrian safety at intersections and other road crossings.
- Sidewalk Use: Pedestrians have the right to use sidewalks without interference from vehicles. Where sidewalks are provided and accessible, it’s unlawful for pedestrians to walk along the adjacent roadway (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-96).
- Pedestrian Signals: When pedestrian control signals are in place, pedestrians have the right to follow these signals, which are designed to manage foot traffic safely across roads (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-22).
- Right to Safe Passage: Even outside of marked crosswalks, pedestrians have certain rights. While they must yield to vehicles when crossing roads away from intersections, drivers are still required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-93).
- Right to Compensation: If you’re injured as a pedestrian due to a driver’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident.
- Comparative Negligence: Georgia’s comparative negligence system (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33) means that even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you may still be entitled to compensation, provided your fault is less than 50%. However, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
- Statute of Limitations: Pedestrians have two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33). It’s important to act within this timeframe to preserve your right to seek legal recourse.
Steps to Take Immediately After a Pedestrian Accident
If you’re involved in a pedestrian accident, taking the right steps immediately afterward can significantly impact your health and any subsequent legal actions. Here’s what to do:
- Seek Medical Attention: Your health is the top priority. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, might not be immediately apparent. Call 911 or have someone do it for you to ensure you receive prompt medical attention.
- Report the Accident: Ensure the accident is reported to the police. A police report is crucial as it documents the incident and provides an official account of what happened, which can be vital for insurance claims or legal actions.
- Gather Information: If you’re able, collect contact and insurance information from the driver involved, and names and contact details of any witnesses. This information will be important for your claim.
- Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including the vehicle, any visible injuries you have, and relevant road signs or signals. Also, capture the layout of the road, crosswalks, and any obstacles that might have contributed to the accident.
- Do Not Admit Fault: Avoid discussing the details of the accident or admitting fault at the scene. The determination of fault should be left to the police and your legal representative.
- Seek Legal Advice: Contact a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can provide valuable guidance on how to proceed, deal with insurance companies, and ensure your rights are protected.
- Keep Records: Start a file with all documents related to the accident and your injuries. This includes medical reports, receipts, a copy of the police report, correspondence with insurance companies, and records of any expenses incurred due to the accident.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company about the accident, but be cautious about providing a detailed statement until you’ve spoken with a lawyer. Your lawyer can help communicate with the insurance companies involved.
- Follow Up on Medical Treatment: Follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and keep records of all follow-up visits. Documentation of your injuries and recovery process is important for your claim.
- Avoid Social Media: Don’t post about the accident on social media. Insurance adjusters and the defense counsel might use your posts to undermine your claim.
Filing a Compensation Claim for Pedestrian Accidents
Filing a compensation claim for a pedestrian accident involves a structured process to ensure that victims can secure damages for their injuries and losses. Here’s a guideline on how to proceed:
- Document the Incident and Injuries: Collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene, including photographs of your injuries, the vehicle involved, the location of the accident, and any relevant road signs or markings. Keep detailed records of your medical treatments, diagnoses, and expenses.
- Obtain a Police Report: A police report is an official record of the accident, providing an objective view of the events. Request a copy of this report as it can be crucial for your claim.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance provider about the accident. Many policies require prompt reporting of any accidents. Be careful with the details you provide and avoid admitting fault.
- Seek Medical Attention: Immediate and consistent medical treatment not only supports your recovery but also provides a record of your injuries and their impact on your life. Follow your doctor’s advice and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Consult with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer: Engaging a lawyer experienced in pedestrian accidents can significantly enhance your claim’s success. They can advise on the legal process, help gather evidence, and represent you in negotiations with insurance companies or in court.
- Determine Liability: Establishing who is at fault is a critical step. In Georgia, the comparative negligence rule applies, meaning that compensation can be reduced by your percentage of fault, if any. Your lawyer can help establish the other party’s liability based on evidence.
- File an Insurance Claim: Submit a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your claim should detail the accident, the extent of your injuries, and the damages you’re seeking. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Negotiate a Settlement: Insurance companies often offer a settlement to resolve the claim quickly. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to ensure the settlement covers all your needs. It’s essential not to accept any offers without legal advice, as initial offers may not fully compensate for your losses.
- Consider Legal Action: If negotiations don’t result in a fair settlement, our lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This step involves preparing legal documents, presenting evidence, and possibly going to trial.
- Understand the Statute of Limitations: In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33). It’s crucial to initiate your claim within this timeframe to preserve your right to compensation.
Types of Compensation Available in Pedestrian Accident Cases
In pedestrian accident cases, victims may be entitled to various types of compensation to help them recover from their injuries and losses. Understanding these types of compensation can help victims ensure they seek the full amount they’re entitled to. Here’s an overview:
- Medical Expenses: This includes compensation for all medical treatments related to the accident, such as emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any ongoing or future medical care necessary for your recovery.
- Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for lost income during your recovery period. This also covers lost earning potential if your injuries result in long-term disability that affects your ability to earn in the future.
- Pain and Suffering: Victims can claim compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident. This encompasses the discomfort during recovery, any lasting pain, and the psychological impact, such as anxiety, depression, or loss of enjoyment of life.
- Rehabilitation Costs: Some injuries may require extensive rehabilitation or physical therapy to regain mobility and function. Compensation can cover these rehabilitation expenses.
- Property Damage: If personal belongings were damaged in the accident, such as your clothes, watch, phone, or other items, you could be compensated for repair or replacement costs.
- Loss of Consortium: Spouses of accident victims can claim loss of consortium, which compensates for the loss of companionship, affection, and support due to the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the defendant’s behavior was especially reckless or egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These are not tied to the victim’s losses but are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct.
- Wrongful Death: If a pedestrian accident results in death, the victim’s family may pursue a wrongful death claim. This can include compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the deceased’s medical costs prior to death, lost wages and benefits, and loss of companionship.
Contact Wetherington Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Thomasville, don’t navigate this challenging time alone. The experienced team at Wetherington Law Firm is here to advocate for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you take the first step towards justice.