Pedestrian accidents are on the rise across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that, on average, one pedestrian is killed every two hours and another injured every seven minutes in traffic collisions. In 2015, there were 5,376 pedestrian deaths, which was an increase from the year before. In 2016, there were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities, which was an increase of nine percent, and the highest number of fatalities since 1990. In 2014, South Carolina ranked third in the nation for the top 10 most dangerous states for pedestrian fatalities with 2.56 fatalities per 100,000 people.
Common Causes of Rock Hill Pedestrian Accidents
Children and older adults tend to be more at risk of being injured or killed in a pedestrian-related collision. It’s important to take precautions in hopes of avoiding a pedestrian accident. Here are some of the more common scenarios in which a pedestrian is injured or killed during a vehicle incident:
- Drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drivers are distracted by texting, talking on the phone, eating, or just not paying attention to the road
- Drivers fail to yield to a pedestrian who has the right of way (failure to stop at a stop sign or light, turning in front of pedestrian)
- Drivers are speeding and unable to slow down or stop in time
- There is not proper lighting in the particular area
Establishing Liability in a South Carolina Pedestrian Accident
To recover compensation for any injuries or physical damages sustained in a pedestrian accident, you have to establish that the other party was at fault. The vehicle’s driver must have failed to use reasonable care, and subsequently, the pedestrian must have suffered his or her injuries as a result of the driver failing to use due care.
South Carolina utilizes what’s called comparative negligence in determining liability. This means that each party’s percentage of fault plays an important role in determining liability. If you were deemed to be 10 percent at fault for the loss, your total recovery will be reduced by the same percentage, thereby resulting in a 90 percent award of whatever verdict you may receive.
Common Injuries in Rock Hill Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents are almost always accompanied by injury claims. Even if it’s a low-speed accident, pedestrians are exposed to devastating and even life-threatening injuries. Some of the more common injuries you see in pedestrian accidents can include:
- Lacerations and bruises
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
- Head trauma, including concussions
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord damage
Punitive Damages in South Carolina
In addition to the standard damages like medical bills and pain and suffering, some pedestrian accidents might qualify for a punitive damage award. This is not based on your losses, but is an award designed to punish the defendant for their bad acts. Punitive damages are awarded in very rare cases, but may be recoverable in hit-and-run accidents or DUIs.
Retaining a Rock Hill Personal Injury Attorney
If you were a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle and sustained injuries, you need to speak with a skilled South Carolina personal injury attorney right away. Contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm online or call our office at 803-599-3080 to schedule a free consultation.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.