When a car accident occurs, drivers can sustain injuries just as likely as pedestrians can. Without the protection of a car, the injuries pedestrians sustain can be severe and even fatal at times. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10% of the people killed in South Carolina car accidents each year are pedestrians.
Pedestrians can be injured in car accidents due to a driver’s negligence or recklessness. If you are a pedestrian who was injured in a South Carolina car accident, you need a reliable lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What are Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
Pedestrians that killed or injured in a car accident are more likely to be elderly or young. Accidents are also more likely to happen under the following circumstances:
- In an urban setting vs. a rural setting
- When it is raining, snowing or foggy
- When it is dark out (typically 6 PM to 5:59 AM)
- At non-intersections vs. intersections
The risk of pedestrian accidents will also increase if the driver is exhibiting negligent or reckless behavior such as the following:
- Driving while fatigued or driving
- Not obeying the rules of the road
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
Drunk driving is the leading cause of pedestrian accidents and can be a factor if either the driver or the pedestrian is intoxicated.
How Pedestrians and Drivers Can Work Together to Avoid Accidents
Common knowledge would assume pedestrians have the right of way. Moreover, considering that they are more vulnerable in car accidents, it is easy to see how this line of thinking can develop. However, just like drivers, pedestrians need to adhere to basic rules and regulations to prevent accidents from happening.
In South Carolina, it is up to pedestrians to obey traffic signals, use crosswalks whenever possible, cross with the light, and avoid stepping off a curb into traffic.
Also by South Carolina law, drivers should yield to pedestrians crossing the road, whether in a crosswalk or not. However, pedestrians crossing the street outside a crosswalk or without the aid of traffic signals should yield to motorists.
These laws that pertain to motorists and pedestrians are considered in lawsuits regarding the principle of comparative negligence.
What is Comparative Negligence in a Pedestrian Accident?
Comparative negligence means that, in a lawsuit, the extent to which each party is responsible will be measured when considering how much compensation they are owed.
So, for instance, if it is determined that a pedestrian is 25% responsible for the accident, the amount they will be awarded will be reduced by 25%. Therefore, if their total losses add up to $100,000, they may end up being awarded only $75,000.
Comparative negligence may be considered in a court of law or in smaller cases that are settled through insurance.
Finding the Right Lawyer for your Pedestrian Accident
If you were the victim of a pedestrian accident, it is essential to find the right lawyer to represent you. An experienced lawyer will be able to collect evidence to build your case. He or she will present your case in the best light to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation.
If you are looking for a pedestrian accident lawyer who will be skilled in representing you, The Jeffcoat Firm is highly recommended. They have years of experience representing clients who were the victims of pedestrian accidents, personal injury cases, and more.
What’s more, The Jeffcoat Firm takes a client-centered approach to provide a sense of transparency and ensure the client will be consulted in every step of the decision-making process.
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you are probably dealing with a lot of emotional and physical pain. Don’t let your legal matters be an added source of stress. The Jeffcoat Firm can take that stress off your hands so you can focus on moving on with your life.
Drivers share the streets with pedestrians throughout Columbia, especially in areas such as the Main Street District and around the University of South Carolina campus. Sadly, not all of those drivers share the streets safely. All too often, they fail to pay proper attention to pedestrians or respect when pedestrians have the right of way.
If you recently were hit by a careless or reckless driver in Columbia while you were walking, or if you lost a loved one in a similar accident, our Columbia pedestrian accident lawyers want to help you. We are a client-centered, personal injury law firm that will work together with you to pursue the compensation that you deserve. To learn more, call or reach us online today and schedule a free consultation.[toc]
How Do Pedestrian Accidents Happen in Columbia?
When negligent motor vehicle drivers collide with pedestrians, the results can be devastating. The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that, between 2012 and 2016, car and motorcycle accidents involving a pedestrian killed 616 people and caused another 4,870 individuals to suffer injuries.
As attorney Michael Jeffcoat and our legal team knows, collisions between pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers in Columbia rarely are “accidents.” Instead, they are the results of drivers’ careless and reckless decisions and actions. Many pedestrian accidents occur due to:
- Speeding and aggressive driving – Tragic collisions between pedestrians and drivers can happen when drivers race through intersections to “beat a red light” or lose control because they are going too fast for road and weather conditions.
- Failure to yield – Drivers often do not recognize or respect when pedestrians have the right of way. For instance, if a pedestrian is crossing the street within a marked crosswalk and has a green light, a driver making a right turn at that intersection must yield to the pedestrian.
- Inattention or distraction – In many cases, drivers simply do not see pedestrians who are crossing the street or walking along the road because they are staring at their phones instead of focusing on driving. Many distracted drivers experience what is called “inattentional blindness.” In other words, because their attention is on something else, they fail to see something (such as a pedestrian) which is directly in their line of vision.
- Failure to check mirrors – A reasonable, prudent driver should always check mirrors – especially before backing out of a parking spot or pulling out into the road. When a driver fails to do so, the driver may fail to see a passing pedestrian.
- Alcohol or drug impairment – A driver who is under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or certain types of prescription medication can lack the physical and mental ability to safely navigate traffic, which greatly increases the risk of hitting a pedestrian. It’s important to note that a driver who is overly fatigued can be just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
In addition to driver error, pedestrian accidents can also result from malfunctioning traffic signals and other roadway defects. In such cases, a government agency may be responsible for the injuries that a pedestrian suffers.
How Can You Determine Fault in a Columbia Pedestrian Accident?
Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with investigating traffic collisions which involve pedestrians. We can determine what happened in the crash that injured you or caused the loss of your loved one by gathering and studying evidence such as:
- Photos from the accident scene
- Surveillance video footage
- Photos of the vehicle
- Eyewitness statements
- Event data recorder (or “black box”) information
- The driver’s cell phone records
- The driver’s toxicology test results.
Additionally, we often consult with knowledgeable professionals in fields such as accident reconstruction, traffic safety and engineering. They can examine the evidence and help us (and an insurance company or jury) to understand why an accident happened and who should be held responsible for it.
What Damages Can You Pursue After a Pedestrian Accident?
Pedestrians have no protection. They may also be knocked several feet and hit the ground hard after impact with a motor vehicle. As a result, they often suffer catastrophic, or life-changing, pedestrian injuries in truck accidents such as:
- Skull fractures
- Concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Back and spine injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Friction burns
- Soft tissue damage
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Our pedestrian injury law firm realizes how these injuries can lead to extensive medical treatment while, at the same time, keeping a victim from being able to go to school or work. For many victims and their families, life is never the same. That is why we work tirelessly for our clients and aggressively pursue all compensation they are due, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and reduction of future earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium.
In many cases, punitive damages may be available as well. These damages are meant to punish and deter willful, reckless or wanton misconduct. For instance, punitive damages may be properly sought where a drunk driver strikes a pedestrian. It depends on the specific facts and circumstances of a case.
If someone else’s negligence resulted in the death of your loved one, The Jeffcoat Firm can pursue wrongful death damages on behalf of you and other eligible family members. While no amount of compensation can make up for the loss that your family has suffered, the damages pursued through a wrongful death claim can cover the expenses of putting your loved one to rest and give your family financial security as you move forward.
Our Columbia Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
If you recently suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident in Columbia due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions, or if your loved one died due to a driver’s negligence, The Jeffcoat Firm is here to help you. Working with a trusted, experienced lawyer from our law firm can make all the difference.
Contact us today to discuss your case in a free, no-obligation consultation. We represent our clients on a contingency fee basis. So, you will pay no legal fees or costs unless we secure compensation for you.