Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Greenwood, South Carolina
You may be familiar with the traditional saying that “the pedestrian always has the right of way.” On the surface, it makes sense. Unlike drivers, pedestrians are not protected by safety devices and hundreds of pounds of steel.
The reality, however, is a bit more complex. Pedestrians do not always have the right of way. Moreover, just as vehicle drivers, pedestrians owe a duty of care to those with whom they share the roadway.
It is true that when a car driver is negligent, pedestrians almost always suffer the higher price. To make matters worse, the driver’s insurance company may try to blame the victim in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. That is where we come in.
With a background in emergency room and critical care nursing, we have witnessed the often devastating or deadly injuries pedestrians suffer at the hands of a negligent driver. Our attorney at Powers Law, LLC will fight for injured pedestrians and their families when insurance companies want to deny them the compensation they are owed. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, or if someone you love has been injured or killed in Greenwood, or throughout upstate South Carolina, let us help you move forward.
Who Is Liable in a South Carolina Pedestrian Accident?
Liability in South Carolina accidents involving a pedestrian hit by a car may be borne by the driver, the pedestrian, or both. South Carolina law prescribes the responsibilities of both auto drivers and pedestrians. Both have obligations regarding right of way.
Pedestrians and motor vehicle operators share certain responsibilities, including obeying all traffic signals and signs, avoiding the roadway when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and yielding the right of way.
Pedestrians have specific legal responsibilities, including:
Crossing roadways only in marked crosswalks or at intersections where a crosswalk would be;
Yielding the right of way to vehicles if crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk or intersection;
Using sidewalks where provided and keeping to the far left side of the roadway, facing oncoming traffic, when there is no sidewalk;
Yielding to emergency vehicles at all times; and,
Never walking along a freeway unless in performance of a job or duty.
Drivers’ responsibilities include:
Taking extra care to avoid hitting pedestrians;
Yielding the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks where there are no traffic controls;
Yielding to pedestrians when the vehicle crosses a sidewalk, such as to enter a driveway or parking area;
Yielding to pedestrians using canes or seeing-eye dogs regardless of where they are crossing the roadway; and,
Not passing a vehicle that is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross a roadway.
There are other hazards that can contribute to causing pedestrian accidents. All roadway users must proceed with caution to avoid them. For example, rain, ice, and snow can cause slick roadways, including crosswalks and adjacent sidewalks. Construction, potholes, and other obstructions may force a pedestrian to leave a walkway. Pedestrians in a vehicle’s blind spot risk being struck by a driver passing or backing up. Unlighted intersections and pedestrians in dark clothing may hamper a driver’s ability to see them.
Who Is at Fault?
South Carolina is a fault state, so the person at fault in a pedestrian accident may be financially liable for the damages suffered by those injured or killed. Who is at fault is often at issue, and insurance companies will fight findings of fault against their insureds to avoid paying claims.
South Carolina is also a modified comparative fault state which means that more than one person may be assigned fault for an accident. This doesn’t mean that if you bear some fault for an accident you cannot sue the driver who struck you. So long as you are less than 51% at fault, you can file a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim against the driver. However, your recovery will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. So, if you are assigned 10% fault and are awarded $50,000 for your damages, you would receive $45,000.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
There is a time limit of three years from the date of the injury or three years from the date of death resulting from the injury to file a personal injury or wrongful death action in South Carolina. This is just one of the many reasons why you should contact a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible.
What Damages Might I Recover?
You can recover compensation for economic and noneconomic damages in South Carolina. Economic damages include medical or funeral expenses, future medical, and current and future lost income. Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, and loss of companionship and guidance.
What Should I Do Now?
Whether you are the victim of a pedestrian accident or the loved one of someone incapacitated or killed by a pedestrian accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. Your attorney will protect you against insurance companies trying to avoid compensation, investigate the event, and handle negotiations and a lawsuit if negotiations are unsuccessful.
If your loved one would have been able to pursue a personal injury claim but does not have the capacity to do so, the court can name a conservator to do so on their behalf. If your loved one was killed, the executor of their estate may pursue a wrongful death claim. If they died without a will naming an executor, the court will appoint someone to serve.
Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Greenwood, South Carolina
It can be difficult to think about pursuing a claim while you are injured or grieving. We understand. That is why we combine our medical background with our personal injury focus to strive for the best results possible for our clients. If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Greenwood or throughout upstate South Carolina—including Saluda, Edgefield, McCormick, Abbeville, Laurens, and Newberry—reach out to Powers Law, LLC to schedule a consultation.