It’s easy to understand that a pedestrian who is hit by a car is likely to be badly injured. Indeed, many people sustain fatal injuries in pedestrian accidents. South Carolina had the third-highest rate of pedestrian fatalities of any U.S. state in 2017, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Pedestrian accidents that lead to injury and death are caused by the same types of carelessness and driver errors that cause other car accidents — distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding and other aggressive driving. When a driver’s disregard for safety causes a pedestrian accident, the injured pedestrian or the family of a deceased pedestrian may have a legal right to be compensated for their losses such as medical bills, funeral expenses and lost household support.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Clinton or Laurens County, South Carolina, a Clinton pedestrian accident lawyer at the Joye Law Firm can assist you. The Joye Law Firm has been helping injured people for 50 years and has four offices throughout the state. Our attorneys have helped thousands of South Carolinians recover financially from serious injuries suffered in accidents others have caused.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
In its annual study of pedestrian accidents, the GHSA says darkness poses an especially high risk for people on foot. South Carolina is one of five states in which 80 percent or more of pedestrian fatalities over three years occurred at nighttime.
The GHSA cited two possible factors contributing to the overall rise in pedestrian accidents in recent years:
- The increasing use of smartphones, which can be a significant distraction
- The growing number of state and local governments that have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana, which can impair judgment and reaction time.
While South Carolina is not among those states that have relaxed marijuana laws, a recent study cited cocaine as the top factor in drugged driving deaths in our state. That 10-year study by Alcohol.org says nearly half of all fatal crashes in South Carolina involve drunken or drugged drivers.
The GHSA says alcohol consumption by the driver and/or the pedestrian was reported in nearly half of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities in 2016.
The GHSA also says children and older adults are more likely to be injured in pedestrian accidents. Children are less likely to recognize the risk or to judge the speed of an oncoming vehicle. Older adults are more vulnerable due to limited mobility, reduced vision and frailty.
Speeding, which has posed a danger as long as there have been cars on the road, increases the likelihood that a driver will be unable to stop or swerve in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian who the driver suddenly sees in the vehicle’s path.
Different Types of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can occur in multiple ways:
- Distracted driving or walking. A motorist or pedestrian who is distracted by a phone or another electronic device may be involved in a pedestrian accident due to inattention to changes in traffic.
- Impaired driving. A driver impaired by alcohol, drugs or fatigue/lack of sleep has slowed reactions and may fail to react in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian crossing the road. A drunk driver also may drift onto the shoulder of the road and hit a pedestrian walking beside the road. Impaired pedestrians may stumble into the roadway or try to cross the road against oncoming traffic.
- Turning vehicle. A driver who is turning may fail to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way and hit a pedestrian legally crossing an intersection in a crosswalk or with a traffic light. This includes a vehicle turning left or right at an intersection, including a right turn on red, or turning into or out of a driveway, alley or private road.
- Backing vehicle. A driver may fail to see a pedestrian when backing from a driveway, parking lot, alley or private road. In some instances, a pedestrian may walk behind a moving vehicle or fail to recognize a vehicle in a parking lot is preparing to back up.
- Obstructed view. A pedestrian accident may result from a driver’s obstructed view. A car stops for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. When a second car approaches, its driver’s view of the pedestrian is obstructed by the other vehicle to the side. The second driver doesn’t stop and hits the pedestrian.
- School bus pedestrian accident. A motorist who fails to obey a school bus stop as required by law may hit a child getting on or off a school bus. Although motorists are not required to stop for commercial buses, pedestrian accidents may happen in similar fashion when drivers and/or pedestrians are negligent.
- Pedestrian darts/steps out midblock. A pedestrian who runs or walks out into the roadway in an unmarked area in the middle of the block may be struck by a driver who is not expecting to a pedestrian in the middle of the road. This frequently occurs when youths are playing sports in the road or run into the street to retrieve a ball.
- Pedestrian crosses against signal. A pedestrian who fails to obey the “Don’t Walk” signal or traffic lights or to look for traffic before stepping off the curb, may be struck by an oncoming car, even when crossing with the “Walk” signal or a red stoplight.
A pedestrian who has been hit by a car may have a legal claim if the driver of the car is responsible for the accident. A claim may seek compensation to reimburse the injured pedestrian for medical expenses, lost income while recovering from injuries, future lost income, pain, suffering, and more.
Determining Fault in a Clinton Pedestrian Accident
A pedestrian injured in a traffic accident deserves to be compensated if the driver caused the accident. Under South Carolina law, pedestrians are required to obey traffic signals and cross with the light, and to avoid suddenly stepping into traffic. They are to use crosswalks when available and to walk to the right within them. A pedestrian who crosses the road outside of a crosswalk or without the aid of traffic signals is supposed to yield to motor vehicles.
South Carolina civil law follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases. As an accident victim, you can recover compensation for your losses as long as you were less than 51 percent at fault for the accident. If you are determined to be partially at fault, such as 20 percent responsible, any jury award would be reduced accordingly, meaning a $100,000 verdict would become $80,000 awarded to you.
Our pedestrian accident attorneys at the Joye Law Firm can investigate the circumstances of a serious accident in Clinton or elsewhere in Laurens County area to determine whether we can demonstrate that the driver was at fault for what happened to you.
Evidence that could help us determine fault in a pedestrian accident may include:
- The police report, which provides basic facts about the accident, including whether the driver was charged with something like speeding or drunk driving.
- Statements from you, the driver and other witnesses, such as fellow pedestrians, bystanders, other motorists, as available.
- Security camera recordings, which may have recorded the accident and its aftermath and are increasingly available in cities like Clinton, Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia.
- Skid marks or lack thereof at the accident scene, presence of crosswalk and/or traffic control devices, visibility issues.
- Damage to the vehicle, such as a dented hood, broken headlight or windshield, which can help illustrate vehicle speed and force of impact upon the accident victim.
- Damage to clothing, shoes, jewelry or personal belongings, which also indicates speed at impact.
- Driver cell phone records, which may show a phone in use at the time of the accident and be evidence of distracted driving.
- Social media content, where negligent drivers sometimes incriminate themselves after causing accidents.
Some of the evidence that would help us establish your right to compensation can be degraded or lost over time, such as skid marks at the accident scene, camera footage or damage to the driver’s car. It is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a pedestrian accident.
We analyze our clients’ medical records to understand their injuries, the extent of which may also indicate the driver’s speed at the time of the crash, as well as the pain and suffering the accident has inflicted upon our client.
Most of our pedestrian accident cases are settled outside of court through our negotiations with insurance companies. When we must take a case to court, we do so fully prepared to win.
Even if you think you were partly at fault for a pedestrian accident, you should contact our Clinton, S.C., personal injury lawyers to discuss your legal options. Our Joye Law Firm attorney would work to mitigate any evidence of your contribution to the accident to maximize the amount of compensation you ultimately recover.
Contact Our South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Law Firm Today
Our attorneys will seek a full and fair settlement if you have been hit by a car and seriously injured in a pedestrian accident in Clinton or elsewhere in South Carolina. Our personal injury lawyers at the Joye Law Firm have been successfully representing injured pedestrians from Clinton, Laurens County, and all over the Palmetto State for more than 50 years.
We’ll investigate your accident and work to obtain full compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. We pursue pedestrian accident cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe us a legal fee unless we recover money for you. Contact us today at 888-594-7734 or use our online form to set up a free initial consultation.