South Carolina had the third highest rate of pedestrian fatalities of any state in the nation, according to 2017 data reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). There are many causes of people on foot being struck by cars.
Many pedestrian accidents are caused by drivers’ inattention and distraction. Myrtle Beach has lots of sights and sounds to divert drivers’ attention. A motorist may not be paying adequate attention to the road or may be talking on a cell phone. A driver may be driving too fast in an area that has a lot of foot traffic. A driver may fail to keep a lookout for people in crosswalks and people walking along the road. Any of these driver errors can lead to a serious pedestrian accident.
Pedestrian accidents can happen at any time. But people travelling on foot are especially vulnerable at night. Many drivers have more difficulty seeing at night, and pedestrians are less visible in the darkness. Approximately 83 percent of pedestrian fatalities in South Carolina from 2014 to 2016 occurred in the dark, according to the GHSA.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
- Crossing a Street — Myrtle Beach drivers should remain alert for pedestrians crossing the street, beachgoers walking beside the road, shoppers strolling along King’s Highway, joggers and people riding bicycles and pushing strollers. Many serious injuries occur because drivers fail to keep a constant lookout for pedestrians. South Carolina law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians crossing intersections with the light. If a driver is cited for failure to yield after a pedestrian accident, the injured pedestrian may hold the driver accountable for the injuries sustained in the accident.
- Running Traffic Lights — A driver who accelerates to beat a changing traffic light at a Myrtle Beach intersection may overlook people on foot in the intersection such as a pedestrian stepping off the curb after the light has changed. There is a reason that the posted speed limits in certain areas of Myrtle Beach frequented by pedestrians are low. A driver who is speeding has less time to react and avoid hitting a pedestrian.
- Sidewalks — South Carolina law requires that pedestrians walk on sidewalks when available. If sidewalks are not available, pedestrians should walk on the shoulder of the road. Tourists, window shoppers and beachgoers frequently walk along the roads in Myrtle Beach in areas that do not have sidewalks.
- Walking from Between Parked Cars — A common type of Myrtle Beach accident involves a person on foot stepping out from between parallel parked vehicles. If SUVs or pickup trucks are screening the pedestrian from view, an approaching driver may not see the individual in time to avoid a collision. As result, this type of pedestrian collision may occur at a higher speed and lead to serious or fatal injuries.
- School Zone Accidents — Myrtle Beach motorists should pay careful attention to lower school zone speed limits during the hours when children arrive and depart from school. Many pedestrian accidents involving children happen near schools. A child may run into the road without checking for oncoming cars. A motorist may be unable to brake quickly and avoid an accident if he or she has disregarded the lower speed limit in the school zone.
Who is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
Either a motorist or a pedestrian may be at fault in a pedestrian accident. It depends on the specific facts of the accident. Pedestrians and motorists both have a legal duty to obey traffic signals and act responsibly. Drivers are required to do everything reasonably possible to avoid hitting a pedestrian. When they act negligently, they may be held accountable.
Alcohol is a factor in many pedestrian accidents. The motorist or the pedestrian may be intoxicated and have impaired judgment and recognition of a hazardous situation. A drunk driver who hits a pedestrian may face criminal prosecution. The at-fault driver also may be held accountable by filing a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for the injuries and losses caused by the accident. A personal injury lawsuit suing the drunk driver for damages is independent of any criminal prosecution of the DUI driver.
South Carolina applies the legal doctrine of comparative negligence in pedestrian accidents. Each party’s contribution to a pedestrian accident must be weighed. If the injured pedestrian is partially responsible for being hit by a car — say, 25 percent of the blame for crossing against the light, then any damages awarded by a jury in a pedestrian accident case would be reduced by that percentage.
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How Does Insurance Work After a Pedestrian Accident?
South Carolina law requires car owners to have liability and uninsured motorist insurance coverage. A pedestrian may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance for bodily injuries. Claims for bodily injury may include doctor and hospital bills, lost wages from missed work and pain and suffering after a pedestrian accident.
A pedestrian accident victim can pursue a claim against an at-fault driver by making a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance and filing a personal injury lawsuit if necessary.
However, it is difficult for an injured pedestrian acting on his or her own to receive fair treatment from another driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies often try to shift the blame for the accident to the pedestrian.
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, it is important to talk with a qualified Myrtle Beach pedestrian accident lawyer about your rights. Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm can conduct an independent investigation of the accident, gather evidence of the driver’s fault and negotiate with the insurance company for a full settlement.
Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accident
It’s against the law in South Carolina to leave the scene of an accident involving injuries. The motorist should stop and summon help for the injured pedestrian. However, motorists sometimes panic after hitting a pedestrian and flee the scene. The driver may be drunk or driving without insurance and want to avoid arrest.
If you or your loved one was struck by a hit-and-run driver, you should report the accident to Myrtle Beach police and provide any description you have of the vehicle that hit you. You should seek medical treatment for your injuries. If the police identify the hit-and-run driver, you can seek compensation for your medical bills from the hit-and-run driver’s insurance company.
If the hit-and-run driver is uninsured or is not apprehended, then you will have to turn to your insurance provider to seek compensation through your uninsured motorist (UM) policy. UM insurance is required coverage in South Carolina, and it covers medical bills for injuries in accidents involving hit-and-run drivers.
Our attorneys at Joye Law can help you pursue an uninsured motorist claim after a pedestrian accident involving injuries.
Our Myrtle Beach Attorneys Are Ready to Help
When you are seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be facing a long recovery. You may have to live with permanent disabilities from the accident. You need to be represented by an attorney who cares about your well-being and understands the struggle you are facing. Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm handle pedestrian accident cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe us a legal fee unless we are successful on your behalf.
For a free consultation, call us directly or complete an online contact form and we will respond to you shortly.