Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise for decades. The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) estimates that 7,508 pedestrians were killed in 2022, the highest number since 1981. From 2010 to 2021, pedestrian traffic deaths increased by 77%, while all other traffic deaths only increased by 25%. Thousands of people are treated for non-fatal pedestrian accident injuries each year.
Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys discuss what to do if you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident.
Immediate Steps After a Pedestrian Accident
The moments following a pedestrian accident are chaotic. If you or a loved one are injured in a crash with a vehicle, call 911 to report the accident and request emergency medical services. The 911 operator will also dispatch police officers to the accident scene.
Do not discuss the accident with bystanders other than to ask them for their names and contact information. You do not want to say something that could be construed as admitting fault. If you can, and it is safe for you to do so, take pictures and make a video of the accident scene.
Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Delays in medical care could reduce the chance of making a full recovery. It could also create problems for a personal injury claim and make it more challenging to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Understanding Your Rights
Drivers in South Carolina have a duty of care to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. However, pedestrians must follow all traffic control devices and obey pedestrian laws.
South Carolina is an at-fault state. If a driver hits a pedestrian, the driver can be held liable for damages. Pedestrians can recover compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Damages in a pedestrian accident include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Impairments and disabilities
- Lost wages and reduction in earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life
- Long-term personal and/or nursing care
Before you can recover compensation for a pedestrian accident claim, you must prove the driver was negligent or intentionally caused the accident.
The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney
Proving fault for a pedestrian accident might not be simple. The insurance company for the driver may fight the claim. It might try to blame you for causing the accident or contributing to the cause of your injuries.
A personal injury lawyer investigates how the crash occurred. They gather evidence proving causation, fault, and damages – the elements you need to prove to win a pedestrian accident claim. A pedestrian accident attorney also handles the insurance company and files a lawsuit to protect your rights when necessary.
Navigating the Claims Process
Most pedestrian accident claims begin with filing an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider. The company assigns an insurance adjuster to investigate the claim to determine if the insured driver caused the accident. The adjuster works for the insurance claim and gathers evidence to protect the company from liability.
Therefore, it is best to allow your lawyer to handle all matters related to the insurance claim. Adjusters often try to get accident victims to say something that could be twisted to suggest the victim was partially to blame for causing the accident. If you are partially to blame, you will not receive the total amount of your damages, and you could even lose the right to receive any money for your claim.
Once you complete medical treatment, your lawyer prepares a settlement demand package outlining your injuries and damages, the legal basis for a personal injury claim, and a demand for settlement. Your attorney negotiates with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If the company disputes liability or challenges damages, your attorney files a lawsuit and takes the case to court. Even if your attorney files a lawsuit, your case could be settled before trial.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation With a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer
You deserve compensation for the pain, suffering, and financial losses caused by a negligent driver. Our South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyers at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, can help you recover a fair settlement amount. Contact our law office today to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your situation with an attorney.