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    It might surprise you that more than 10 percent of the people killed in car accidents in South Carolina each year are pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says in its latest annual count that 113 of 828 people (13.3 percent) who died in car accidents in our state were on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting or lying down near or on a roadway.

    Pedestrians are killed and injured in car accidents in the same way as drivers, passengers and bicyclists. Oftentimes, it is because of a driver’s negligence or recklessness. When such an accident occurs, the injured pedestrian, or the family of a deceased pedestrian, may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

    Joye Law Firm works to obtain money for injured pedestrians in South Carolina. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call Joye Law Firm.

    When, Where and How Pedestrian Accidents Happen

    A pedestrian killed in a car accident is more likely to be elderly (age 65 or older) or young (15 years old or younger), according to NHTSA. Pedestrian accidents are more likely:

    • In an urban setting versus a rural setting
    • At non-intersections versus at intersections
    • At night (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.)
    • During normal weather conditions (clear or cloudy) compared to during rain, snow or foggy conditions.

    In addition, alcohol is involved – either on the part of the driver or the pedestrian — in about half of car crashes that result in a pedestrian death, NHTSA says.

    Drunk driving is just one of the typical causes of pedestrian accidents. Others are essentially that same as the careless and reckless driving that causes other car accidents, including:

    • Speeding
    • Distracted driving
    • Fatigued or drowsy driving
    • Improper passing or illegal turns.

    When pedestrians are run down while walking alongside a road, standing on a street corner or crossing a road, they may be entitled to make a legal claim if the driver was at fault. But, pedestrians have responsibilities, as well.

    South Carolina Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties

    Pedestrians in South Carolina are required by law to obey traffic signals – that is, cross with the light – and to avoid suddenly stepping off a curb and into traffic. They are to use crosswalks when available, and to walk to the right within them.

    Drivers are required by law in South Carolina to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or who are otherwise crossing the road. Pedestrians who cross a road outside of a crosswalk or without the aid of traffic signals are to yield to motor vehicles.

    SC Drivers and Pedestrians Share Roads and Responsibilities

    The laws cited above and other state statutes and local ordinances define the shared responsibilities of drivers and pedestrians who use roadways, sidewalks, road shoulders and streets in South Carolina. Pedestrians’ responsibility for their own safety is an important consideration because of the principle of “comparative negligence,” which applies to personal injury and wrongful death claims.

    Comparative negligence means that each party’s relative fault in an accident, including a pedestrian accident, must be balanced. If the injured party shares some of the fault – say, 25 percent of the blame for crossing against the light – the award in a legal claim will be reduced by that percentage.

    How comparative negligence is assigned in a specific accident is a complex matter. For an injured pedestrian pursuing a claim, the attorney will work to gather and present evidence to present the pedestrian’s role in the accident in the best light possible.

    Comparative negligence may be applied less formally in negotiations with insurers, where many claims are settled. But in court, a pedestrian who was assigned 50 percent or more of the responsibility for the accident could not receive compensation.

    What To Do After a Pedestrian Accident

    Whether you are crossing the street when it happens, making your way through a parking lot, walking across a driveway, or even standing on the sidewalk, a pedestrian accident is a shocking and life-changing experience. In the worst of cases, you could suffer fatal or earth shattering injuries that leave you disabled and permanently impaired; in the best of cases, you may suffer minor injuries and be shaken up, incurring psychological scars instead of physical ones.

    Whatever your situation, there is no doubt that being hit by a car is an awful experience. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident in South Carolina, the following provides an overview of what to do next:

    Seek Medical Care

    Seeking medical care may seem obvious, particularly in situations where injuries are clearly serious and necessitate emergency medical attention. However, in some cases, injuries may be less obvious, and an injured pedestrian may avoid going to the hospital as such. If you are hit by a car, you should be looked at by a medical professional. Some injuries, such as a concussion, soft tissue injuries, and internal bleeding are not visible to the naked eye, and can take a day or two to be felt or to develop (especially when your adrenaline is surging).

    Seeking medical care is not just important to your health and wellbeing, but is also important for when you seek damages by filing a claim or personal injury lawsuit. If you do not have a record of seeking medical care, the insurance company may very well deny your claim.

    File a Report With the Police

    Again, regardless of how serious the accident, if a car strikes you and you are injured, you need to file a report with the police immediately. You and the driver of the vehicle that hit you should stop at the scene of the accident, call 911, and wait for the police to arrive and file a report. While you wait, record as much as you can remember about how the accident happened, and exchange information with the other driver. You should get the other driver’s car insurance information, name, vehicle model and registration information, and their driver’s license number.

    Talk to Witnesses

    When you are filing a claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit, the testimony of witnesses who saw the accident first hand may prove to be essential to determining fault and getting you the settlement amount that you deserve. Talk to any witnesses at the scene of the accident, record their statements, and be sure to get their names and contact information.

    Detail Your Healing Process

    Keep a journal of events that happen after the pedestrian accident, ranging from your experience with different doctors and your treatment, to your emotions and mood, to whether or not you are able to go to work, to your limitations and more. The more that you write down about how the accident has affected you, the more convincing your argument will be when you are seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, loss of enjoyment, pain and suffering, and other economic and noneconomic damages.

    Hit by a Car While Walking? Talk to Our Injury Lawyers

    Proper legal representation can help you receive a full and fair settlement after being hit by a car or otherwise injured in a pedestrian accident in South Carolina. The personal injury lawyers of Joye Law Firm have been successfully representing injured people from all over South Carolina for more than 40 years.

    Call Joye Law Firm today or use our online form to set up a free initial consultation. We’ll investigate your pedestrian accident and work to obtain the compensation you deserve for medical expenses and other losses.