According to the latest figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), our nation’s roads are now less safe for pedestrians than prior years. On average, a pedestrian is injured every 8 minutes and killed every 2 hours in a traffic crash in the U.S. On South Carolina roads, the rate of pedestrian deaths is 44% higher than the national average.
As a pedestrian, you do not have the benefit of the protection provided by conventional transportation such as cars, trucks, and buses. This means that injuries sustained in a pedestrian accident can be severe and others could take longer to manifest. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, seek medical care as soon as possible and then contact a qualified South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer about your rights to compensation for the losses and harms you’ve suffered.
The Pedestrian’s Duty of Care
As a pedestrian, you might often have the right-of-way, but that doesn’t mean that you’re absolved of all fault in an accident. The law requires that pedestrians exercise a reasonable degree of care for their own safety. A few of the ways that a pedestrian might contribute to an accident include:
- Failing to use a marked crosswalk
- Ignoring traffic signals at intersections
- Stepping or running in front of a vehicle
- Disrupting the flow of traffic
South Carolina is a comparative negligence state. This means that the degree to which you are found negligent in a pedestrian accident could be considered in a ruling or assessed against final damages.
The Driver’s Duty of Care
Drivers on South Carolina roads have a duty to exercise reasonable care around pedestrians. Failure to do this can result in catastrophic accidents and is also considered negligence. Some of the most common factors that contribute to pedestrian accidents from driver negligence include:
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe operation during inclement weather or near construction zones
- Failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Failure to signal when turning
Pedestrian Accidents Involving Children and Older Adults
The two classes that are at highest risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident are young children and older adults. In 2014, nearly one-fifth (19%) of children under the age of 14 killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Children aged 5 to 14 also had the highest percentage of pedestrian crash injuries among all age groups.
Children are obviously smaller and less visible than adults. Their behavior is also sometimes unpredictable. Drivers are charged with exercising a higher degree of care when driving in the presence of children, such as near a school, park, or residential area.
Older adults also have a higher rate of pedestrian accidents than their younger counterparts. Twenty percent of all pedestrians killed in 2014 were age 65 and older. Among all pedestrian accidents, older adults suffer 7,000 injuries each year.
By working with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, you might be able to prove that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care when driving around children, in a residential neighborhood, or in other high-traffic pedestrian zones.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Because of the nature of these incidents, the injuries from pedestrian accidents are often serious and debilitating. They could include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
The medical treatment and lasting care needed for this type of accident can result in significant expense and financial loss. Lifetime medical care alone for a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) could be as high as $3 million.
What Can You Collect After a Pedestrian Accident?
When a person is involved in a pedestrian accident, it can be devastating on a physical, emotional, and financial level. Injuries sustained in the accident might require a long and painful recovery, sometimes with a lifetime of expensive medical care.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured, you might have to miss time from work or could even lose your job and ability to maintain your household. An unfortunate consequence of severe injury is the financial impact that can last for years.
Depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries, you might be entitled to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic losses. Those losses can include:
- Medical expenses (current and future)
- Lost wages (current and future)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses
If a loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, you might have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim against the negligent party.
Establishing Liability in a Pedestrian Accident
The determination of fault in a pedestrian accident hinges of several important factors, some of which might be unique to your case. A personal injury attorney with experience handling these cases will know how to handle each set of circumstances and make sure that your rights are protected.
A South Carolina pedestrian accident attorney can help in your dealings with the insurance company as well as work towards a settlement on your behalf. If a lawsuit is the best choice, an attorney can represent your interests. Our office will help collect evidence needed such as:
- Your statement
- The police report
- Witness statements
- Pictures from the scene
- Physical evidence from the scene
- Expert witness testimony
If You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian accident scenes can be chaotic and frightening. If you are involved an accident as a pedestrian, it’s possible that the legally responsible parties might try to blame you for the crash to minimize their liability. If you’re involved in one of these tragedies, be sure to do the following:
- Contact the police immediately
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident until the police arrive
- Get names and contact information for witnesses
- Avoid making statement to anyone, including insurance companies
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Pedestrian accidents can be complicated, but the experienced and knowledgeable injury attorneys at Peake & Fowler know the steps to take to preserve your rights. We will work hard to get you and your family the compensation that you deserve from this devastating accident. Contact us online or call 803-788-4370 to schedule a free consultation.
LOCATIONS WE SERVE
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.
9357 Two Notch Road
Columbia, South Carolina 29223