Motorists have an obligation to share the road safely with other road users and remain alert for pedestrians, who are particularly vulnerable in the event of a traffic collision. Far too many drivers fail to watch out for pedestrians, leading to serious accidents. Pedestrian accidents occur frequently in walkable cities such as Charleston and North Charleston. In fact, Charleston has more than twice as many pedestrian fatalities as any other city in South Carolina. North Charleston has the third highest rate of pedestrian fatalities.
If you have been struck by a car while walking in Charleston, SC, you may be entitled to seek money for medical bills and other losses you have incurred. You shouldn’t be saddled with medical bills for injuries caused by a careless or inattentive driver. The Charleston pedestrian accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm want to help you pursue full compensation.
Our dedicated lawyers have more than 50 years of experience representing injured South Carolinians. We’re proud of our record of helping others. We can help you pursue all possible sources of compensation for your injuries and other losses. Contact Joye Law Firm to discuss your legal options after a pedestrian accident in Charleston. Don’t hesitate to call us for a free consultation.
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen?
The rate of pedestrian traffic deaths in the United States has soared in recent years, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). More than 7,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in a recent year.
One of every five people who died in traffic accidents in South Carolina in 2020 was a pedestrian, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
South Carolina recorded 187 pedestrian fatalities that year, the highest number in the last 10 years. The fatalities Included 24 deaths in Charleston County.
Some of the most common causes of pedestrians being hit by a car in Charleston include:
- Speeding– Motorists who drive at higher speeds have less time to recognize a person on foot crossing an intersection or standing in the road and react to avoid hitting the pedestrian.
- Driving under the influence– Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all fatal pedestrian crashes, according to the CDC. Drivers also may become dangerously impaired after consuming recreational drugs or certain types of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
- Distracted driving– Pedestrians make up at least 15 percent of all traffic fatalities involving a distracted driver, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics.
Other common factors involved when a pedestrian is hit by a car in Charleston include:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inexperience
- Drunk driving
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Failure to check blind spots
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Improper turning or merging
- Defective car parts or systems
- Poorly maintained parts or systems
- Poor road conditions
Driver and Pedestrian Responsibilities in Charleston
Under South Carolina law, both pedestrians and motorists have rights and responsibilities when using the road. Here are some of the most important rules to keep pedestrians safe in Charleston:
- Pedestrians must obey traffic control signals that apply to them unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer.
- Pedestrians may only cross the road at designated crosswalks.
- Pedestrians must remain in a place of safety when oncoming vehicles are close enough to present a safety hazard.
- Pedestrians must use the right half of a crosswalk when crossing.
- Pedestrians must yield to oncoming vehicles any time they cross the street outside of a designated crosswalk. Pedestrians are prohibited from crossing intersections diagonally unless legally directed to do so.
- Pedestrians are prohibited from walking on roadways when sidewalks are available unless strictly necessary. In such cases, pedestrians walking on the roadway should keep to the shoulders, walk along the left side of the road on any highways, and yield the right of way to all vehicles.
- Pedestrians are prohibited from walking along freeways unless they are directed to do so by a police officer, engaged in road work or official duties, or in the aftermath of an accident.
- Pedestrians are prohibited from standing on roadways to solicit rides or employment.
The following laws apply to motorists who drive near pedestrians:
- Drivers must yield the right of way to any pedestrian crossing the road in a crosswalk if the pedestrian is on or near the driver’s half of the roadway, even when traffic control devices are missing or non-operational. Drivers are prohibited from passing other vehicles that are stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the road at marked or unmarked crosswalks.
- Drivers should yield the right of way to all pedestrians in an intersection, even if the light is green.
- Drivers making a right or left turn must be prepared to yield to pedestrians.
- Drivers must bring their vehicles to a complete stop when approaching pedestrians with guide dogs or raised canes attempting to cross.
- Drivers must exercise caution to avoid striking pedestrians at all times, provide audible signals when necessary, and take special care around children and obviously incapacitated persons.
- Drivers crossing sidewalks must always yield the right of way to any pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Injuries in Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users. Unlike vehicle occupants, who have seat belts, airbags, and the structure of the passenger compartment to protect them in the event of a crash, pedestrians are directly exposed to the blunt force of a collision. Unlike many cyclists and motorcyclists, pedestrians don’t have helmets to act as protective buffers.
Depending on the type of vehicle involved, a pedestrian hit by a car in Charleston may be thrown in the air, thrown onto the car hood, knocked to the ground, or run over by other vehicles. The following types of serious injuries are common when pedestrians are hit by cars in South Carolina:
- Head and neck injuries
- Facial injuries and dental trauma
- Back and shoulder injuries
- Abdominal injuries and internal bleeding
- Arm, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries
- Dislocated or broken bones
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Soft tissue strains, sprains, and tears
- Leg, knee, ankle, and foot injuries
- Road rash and other burns
- Emotional and psychological injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs)
- Partial or total paralysis
What Our Charleston Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Can Do for You
At Joye Law Firm, our attorneys have decades of experience seeking justice and fair settlements for our clients. We understand that a pedestrian accident can affect your physical and emotional well-being. That is why we handle each case with the utmost care and dedication.
If you hire our firm, you can count on our compassionate injury lawyers to:
- Answer your questions and evaluate your case during a free consultation
- Discuss your legal rights and the potential sources of compensation for your injuries
- Begin working on your case promptly, with no up-front cost to you
- Conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances of the accident
- Obtain medical records, crash reports, and other evidence to back up your claim
- Interview eyewitnesses for supporting testimony
- Communicate with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
- File insurance claims on your behalf to pursue the compensation you are owed
- Negotiate aggressively with insurance companies to maximize your settlement
- Take your case to court, if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement
What Evidence Will Be Used To Prove My Pedestrian Accident Case?
If the motorist who hit you received a traffic ticket, you might assume that their insurer is obligated to offer you a settlement. But a police officer’s issuance of tickets or finding of fault in a pedestrian accident is generally not admissible in personal injury cases in South Carolina. A police officer may be called to court and provide testimony about the facts of the accidents as observed during the investigation. But the officer typically is not allowed to state an opinion of who is at fault. That is left for the civil jury to decide.
When the Charleston injury attorneys of Joye Law Firm investigate a pedestrian accident, we look for the following types of evidence to prove liability:
- Police crash reports that contain information about the driver, the accident, and the results of toxicology tests
- Statements from you, the motorist, and any witnesses who saw the crash occur
- Photographic evidence from the accident scene, including images of tire skid marks, victim drag marks, traffic control devices, and visibility levels
- Video of the crash from traffic cameras, security cameras, or dash cams
- Physical evidence, such as vehicle damage, broken glass, and damage to your clothing or personal property that happened during the collision
- The driver’s cell phone records may reveal that the driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the accident
- The driver’s credit or debit card records may reveal the purchase of alcohol or other intoxicating substances just before the wreck occurred
- Social media posts, photos, or comments from the driver sometimes contain incriminating information about the driver or the accident
Compensation in a Pedestrian Car Accident Claim
If you were struck by a car and injured while walking in Charleston, SC, the attorneys at Joye Law Firm can examine every aspect of your pedestrian accident case to calculate full compensation for your injuries and other losses. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills you incur for the treatment of your crash-related injuries
- The estimated costs of medical care you will need in the future
- Incidental costs, such as mileage expenses for medical travel
- Lost income from time spent recovering from your injuries
- Projected losses in future earnings, if your injuries are permanent
- The intangible costs of your pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
Get in Touch with a Charleston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you have been hit by a car in Charleston, contact the pedestrian accident lawyers of Joye Law Firm today. Our trusted team has provided effective legal representation to South Carolinians for more than 50 years. Our Charleston pedestrian accident lawyers are prepared to review your case today when you contact us for a free initial consultation.