This has been a bad year for pedestrian deaths in the Augusta area. Recently, a 47-year-old North Carolina man became the thirteenth pedestrian death of the year when he was struck by a car on Washington Road near Boy Scout Road.
The fatal accident happened after the victim left a pizza restaurant and attempted to cross Washington, a six-lane road that is typically busy. The man had left a group of friends as they were paying the bill at the restaurant. The group was staying at hotel next door to the restaurant; it is unknown why the victim was trying to cross Washington.
Just after he stepped off the curb the victim was hit by a pickup truck driven by a 43-year-old man from Martinez. The sheriff's office noted that the driver left skid marks in the road as he tried to avoid hitting the victim. The driver will not be charged in the incident.
Those who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another have the right to bring a wrongful death action under Georgia law. The victim's next of kin can recover damages not only for economic loss, such as loss of financial support, but also for the loss of companionship.
Whether the driver in this case was negligent is a matter that would ultimately have to be decided by a jury in a civil lawsuit. The fact that he was not criminally charged will not be determinative. Whether the victim was negligent would also likely be an issue in any civil lawsuit. In Georgia, the jury is asked to apportion negligence on a percentage basis between the plaintiff and defendant. Any negligence by the plaintiff in a personal injury case will diminish his or her recovery by that percentage. If the plaintiff is 50% at fault or more, there is no recovery.
Source: Augusta Chr, "13th pedestrian killed this year; police consider ticketing jaywalkers," Summer Moore, Dec. 18, 2012