Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise all across the country in recent years, according to reports from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and, sadly, South Carolina is no exception. Statistics from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) show that several hundred pedestrian accidents occur in the state each year, resulting in hundreds of injuries and at least 100 deaths. These accidents can leave victims with serious injuries, as well as astronomical medical bills, significant property damages, and other losses.
If you were hurt in a negligence-related pedestrian accident that wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other damages. Here's what you should know if you're considering taking legal action after a South Carolina pedestrian accident.
Common Types of Pedestrian Accidents in South Carolina
While many pedestrian accidents happen at intersections, others occur in locations where motorists may be less practiced at watching for pedestrians. Some of the most common types of pedestrian accidents include:
- Intersection accidents
- Non-intersection crossing accidents
- Backover accidents
- Shoulder or roadside accidents
- School bus crossing accidents
- Evasion accidents (where the victim's injuries were caused by taking evasive action to avoid being hit by a vehicle)
- Accidents involving children or service workers in the roadway
Pedestrian Accident Causes
Driver negligence is one of the leading causes of pedestrian accidents. Common examples of negligent driver behavior that can lead to pedestrian accidents include:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks
- Failure to adapt driving to road, weather, or traffic conditions
Pedestrian Accident Injuries Tend to Be Severe
Lacking any type of meaningful protection, and greatly outmatched in both size and weight, it's no wonder that the injuries sustained by pedestrian accident victims are often severe, debilitating, disabling, or deadly. In addition to minor injuries like scrapes, cuts, and bruises, the following more serious injuries are also common among pedestrian accident victims:
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Fractured, broken, or crushed bones
- Head and brain injuries, such as concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Shoulder and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, resulting in various degrees of paralysis
- Limb loss or amputations
Pedestrian Accident Liability
Though people often assume that motorists are always to blame for pedestrian accidents, that isn't always the case. In fact, according to the SCDPS, pedestrians contribute to the accidents in which they're injured more than 50 percent of the time.
Fortunately, because South Carolina follows modified comparative negligence rules, being partially responsible for an accident doesn't preclude victims from seeking and collecting compensation for damages. As long as the victim was less than 50 percent to blame, they can file a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. However, the victim's potential recovery may be reduced to reflect their own degree of negligence.
Potential Damages for Pedestrian Accident Victims
South Carolina personal injury law allows pedestrian accident victims to pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified—such as medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and loss of income—while non-economic damages compensate victims for intangibles like pain and suffering, mental anguish, scarring or disfigurement, disability, or loss of enjoyment of life.
In rare cases, some pedestrian accident victims may be eligible for punitive damages. Rather than compensating the victim for a loss, punitive damages punish the defendant for exceptionally poor conduct.
Consult an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Were you seriously injured in a South Carolina pedestrian accident? Our attorneys can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact Shane Smith Law today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your case with a member of our skilled legal team.