Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in South Carolina and across the United States. When a person is struck by a moving vehicle, either the motorist or the pedestrian may be at fault depending on the circumstances. Many pedestrian accidents are caused by inattentive drivers who are not looking out for people on foot.
A pedestrian accident can result in major injuries and leave the person in a difficult position facing an uncertain future. Someone who is badly injured in a pedestrian crash may not be able to work for a long time. That unexpected loss of income can cause financial hardship. To make matters worse, medical treatment after a pedestrian accident can be expensive, and create medical debt.
Do you need a pedestrian accident lawyer near Summerville? If you have been injured in a collision, the Summerville pedestrian accident lawyers at the Joye Law Firm want to help. Our compassionate Summerville pedestrian accident attorneys have more than 50 years of experience fighting on behalf of accident victims. Our attorneys are committed to helping our clients seek fair compensation after accidents caused by others’ negligence. Our results speak to our experience handling challenging personal injury cases. If you want to know how we can help with your case, contact us today for a free case review.
Who Is at Risk in Pedestrian Accidents?
People on foot crossing an intersection or walking beside the road are vulnerable to serious injuries if struck by a moving vehicle. The faster the vehicle is traveling, the more severe the injuries may be. Pedestrians have little to protect themselves from the impact. Anyone can be injured in a pedestrian accident. However, some types of road users are especially at risk.
These vulnerable pedestrian groups include:
- Children — Children’s bodies are still developing and are much more fragile than those of adults. Children are more likely to sustain a severe or permanent injury if struck by a car. Younger children may not yet have the judgment to recognize dangerous situations and the danger posed by moving vehicles.
- Elderly adults — Older adults take more time to cross intersections. An older person on foot may be unable to get out of the way of an approaching vehicle. Those older adults suffering from neurological diseases such as dementia may wander into the street because they are not fully aware of their surroundings.
- Pedestrians impaired by alcohol or drugs — Drunk drivers are a common cause of pedestrian accidents. But pedestrians also can put themselves in jeopardy by trying to navigate roads on foot while impaired and start to cross the street without making sure it is safe to do so.
Where Do Most Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
Most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas of South Carolina. Urban areas tend to have more foot traffic and a higher concentration of cars in a relatively confined space. With many pedestrians in close proximity to moving cars, accidents are more likely to happen.
Pedestrian accidents are more common at night because it is harder to see pedestrians on the side of the road in low-visibility conditions. If a driver cannot see a nearby pedestrian, it is much harder for the driver to avoid a crash.
Pedestrian accidents tend to occur on non-interstate roads. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the two most common categories of roads where pedestrian accidents occurred in a recent year were U.S. primary routes and secondary routes. Secondary routes may have narrow road shoulders, causing the pedestrian to walk in or close to the road. Interstates are among the least common locations for pedestrian accidents.
Common Causes of Accidents Involving Pedestrians in Summerville
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports 165 pedestrians died in traffic accidents while another 221 pedestrians suffered serious injuries statewide during a recent year.
Many of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in Summerville involve negligence by a driver or some other party.
Some common causes of pedestrian accidents in South Carolina include:
- Impaired driving — Drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol are less likely to see people on foot and react in time to avoid striking a pedestrian. Impaired drivers are more likely to speed, have decreased situational awareness, and have dulled reflexes, all of which make it harder to avoid a pedestrian in their path. An impaired driver may drift off the road, striking a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk.
- Distracted driving — Drivers who are not paying attention to the road may cause an accident and injure a pedestrian. If a driver does not see a pedestrian crossing the street because the driver is talking on the phone, texting, or listening to music, the driver may not have time to slow down and avoid hitting the pedestrian. In some instances, a distracted driver might fail to notice a pedestrian entering a crosswalk and proceed through an intersection without slowing, causing a pedestrian accident
- Fatigued drivers — Drivers who are severely fatigued have slowed reaction times and are more likely to make errors of judgment. Fatigued drivers who are struggling to stay awake may nod off at the wheel. All of these factors make a pedestrian accident more likely.
- Speeding — Authorities have good reasons to post lower speed limits in areas where pedestrians are common. The faster a car is moving, the longer it will take for the driver to slow down. A speeding driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian, even if they see the pedestrian prior to impact. A speeding driver may not realize there is a pedestrian in their path until it is too late.
- Bad weather — Rain, sleet, and snow can make roads slick and significantly increase a car’s stopping distance. If a driver does not reduce their speed to account for bad weather, the driver may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian in their path.
- Poor visibility — Adverse weather and darkness make it harder for drivers to see what is happening around them and avoid pedestrians. Both drivers and pedestrians should be wary when traveling in areas with low visibility to minimize the chance of an accident.
- Bad intersection design — If an intersection is designed in such a way that pedestrians are hard to see or if traffic signals at the intersection are not working properly, the government agency responsible for designing and maintaining the intersection may be liable for a pedestrian accident.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrians involved in accidents often suffer catastrophic injuries because there is nothing to keep them from absorbing the full force of the collision.
Some common pedestrian accident injuries include:
- traumatic brain injuries
- external head injuries
- spinal cord injuries
- neck and back injuries
- disfigurement and scarring
- injuries to internal organs
- internal bleeding
- broken bones
- psychological trauma
- wrongful death
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Drivers should always be cautious of pedestrians when they are behind the wheel.
There are certain steps pedestrians can take to reduce their chances of being involved in an accident:
- wearing reflective clothing when walking at night
- crossing streets at marked intersections whenever possible
- walking on the sidewalk when available
- walking toward oncoming traffic to make it easier to see approaching vehicles
- avoiding distractions such as talking on the phone, texting, or listening to music while walking near traffic
- never assuming a driver sees you
Pedestrian Accident Liability
Both drivers and pedestrians have duties under South Carolina law to avoid an accident. To recover any compensation for your injuries after a pedestrian accident, you will have to show that the driver who hit you was negligent in some way. In a nutshell, this means the driver failed to meet their legal responsibility to drive safely and take reasonable precautions to avoid a pedestrian accident.
A classic example of negligence that can cause a pedestrian accident is distracted driving. If a driver is looking at their phone and hits you while you are crossing the street, the driver is clearly not fulfilling their duty to avoid an accident. An experienced pedestrian accident attorney will know what evidence to seek to build a strong case for compensation.
Contact the Summerville Pedestrian Accident Attorneys at Joye Law Firm
Were you injured while crossing the street, walking on the sidewalk, or walking in a parking lot in Summerville? If you are looking for a pedestrian accident law firm in Summerville, the experienced pedestrian accident attorneys at the Joye Law Firm have the legal experience and commitment to help you hold the driver who hit you fully accountable. If we believe you have a valid injury claim, we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. You may need a Summerville pedestrian lawyer. It all starts with a free case review. Contact us by phone or online for a 100% free consultation to discuss your case today.