Pedestrian Accidents in Sumter, SC
There has been a major increase in pedestrian accidents in recent years, and it is becoming increasingly dangerous for those who walk for commuting, exercise, or enjoyment. Pedestrians in Sumter and other South Carolina communities are at greater risk than ever before, and when they are injured (or a loved one is killed) in a vehicle crash, they deserve to be fully compensated.
Recovering compensation (usually through the responsible party’s insurer) is not always an easy task. Insurance companies want to minimize their losses as much as possible, and no matter how friendly and courteous they are, their interests are not aligned with that of the injury victim. If you or someone close to got injured in a pedestrian accident, it makes sense to have an experienced legal advocate by your side who is looking out for your best interests.
At Peake & Fowler, we have been serving clients in Sumter, Columbia, and nearby South Carolina communities for a quarter of a century. We have successfully handled thousands of pedestrian accident cases and other types of personal injury cases, and we have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We work closely with our clients, and we have the experience, knowledge, commitment, and resources to help ensure the most favorable outcome possible.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Sumter, SC
Thousands of pedestrians are killed, and hundreds of thousands are injured in auto accidents each year. Some of the common reasons these accidents occur include:
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: Various forms of aggressive and reckless driving behaviors represent one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. Speeding is a major culprit, because the faster the driver is going, the less time they have to slow down and react to changing road conditions. Other driving behaviors that can result in a pedestrian accident include tailgating/following too closely, running stop signs or stop lights, refusing to yield the right-of-way, and street racing.
- Intoxicated Driving: Alcohol is involved in approximately half of all pedestrian accidents. And about two thirds of the time, it is the driver of a vehicle who is intoxicated at the time of the crash. It is well-known that drunk driving impairs a motorist’s judgment and leads to dangerous driving behaviors, and when an intoxicated driver strikes a pedestrian, the situation can turn deadly.
- Unmarked or Poorly Marked Crosswalks: A large number of pedestrian accidents happen at intersections. Having a signaled crosswalk can minimize this risk, but unfortunately, a lot of South Carolina intersections do not have these yet.
- Left-Hand Turns: Making a left turn is inherently more dangerous than going straight or turning right because you are moving against the flow of traffic. One of the potential hazards when a vehicle turns left at an intersection is the failure to notice a pedestrian crossing the street.
- Dark Clothing: Approximately 70% of all pedestrian accidents happen at night, and around half of these accidents happen on weekends. One problem for drivers after dark is not being able to see pedestrians as clearly as during the daylight. This is especially true in less populated areas where there is poor lighting. One important thing that pedestrians can do to help protect themselves when walking at night is to wear bright and lightly colored clothing.
- Distractions: Both motorists and pedestrians are highly susceptible to distractions. Eating, drinking, grooming, messaging or watching videos on a smartphone are all examples of distractions that can result in a pedestrian accident.
What is Driving the Increase in Pedestrian Accidents?
As we talked about earlier, pedestrian accidents and deaths have been on the rise recently; and in fact, pedestrian fatalities have risen by 60% over the past decade. One major reason for this is the increase in pedestrian traffic. In Sumter, for example, heavy tourist activity creates higher foot traffic around town. Our population as a whole is also more health conscious, and a lot of people prefer walking as a good way to get their daily exercise in.
Another factor that experts point to in relation to the spike in pedestrian accidents is the types of vehicles Americans are driving. During the same decade that pedestrian crash fatalities have increased, we have also seen a major increase in the number of SUVs and large trucks on the road.
The popularity of large vehicles has been driven by lower fuel costs and a stronger economy that makes them more affordable for a larger number of people. We know that a large vehicle can do more damage if it is involved in a crash, and this could be why there are more severe and fatal injuries when these vehicles are involved in pedestrian accidents.
Perhaps the biggest reason why pedestrian accidents are increasing is the widespread use of smartphones. Motorists and pedestrians have always had distractions to deal with, but none in the past were as dangerous as smartphone use.
When someone is sending or viewing an electronic message, they are fully engaged with their phone, and their focus is pulled away from what is going on around them. This makes it much easier not to notice important details, such as a pedestrian crossing the road while a driver is making a turn.
Pursuing a Pedestrian Accident Claim in Sumter, SC
When someone is injured in a pedestrian crash, they are entitled to compensation not only for direct monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, but also for noneconomic losses such as physical and emotional pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
In South Carolina, an injured person can recover damages even if they are determined to be partially at fault for the accident under the state’s modified comparative negligence laws. However, in order to be eligible for compensation, they must be less than 50% liable for the underlying accident.
It is important to note that if someone is found to be partially at fault for an accident, any damage award they receive is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share. For example, if you suffered $200,000 in damages from a pedestrian accident and you are found to be 25% responsible, your damage award would be reduced by $50,000.
Contact our Seasoned Sumter, SC Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one got hurt in a pedestrian accident in South Carolina, the skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at Peake & Fowler are ready to go to work for you. Message us online or call our office today at 803-998-2412 for a free consultation and case assessment with a member of our legal team.
Peake & Fowler Law Firm, P.A., is located in Columbia, SC and serves clients in and around Newberry, Lexington, Sumter, Allendale, Orangeburg, St. Matthews, Bishopville, Florence, Blythewood, State Park, Eastover, Columbia, Elgin, Irmo, Hopkins, Ridgeway, Lugoff, Ballentine, West Columbia, Kershaw, Camden, Dusty Bend, and Richland County, Lexington County, Calhoun County, Orangeburg County, Sumter County, Kershaw County, Newberry County, Fairfield County, Lee County, Clarendon County and Florence County.