South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Injury Lawyer
Motorists in most situations must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians under South Carolina law, and if they do not the pedestrian can sustain serious injuries even if the vehicle is traveling slowly.
When that happens, the injured pedestrian should contact a South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer for a free, no obligation consultation. The lawyer can explain the rights under the law and assess if a lawsuit to recover damages can prevail.
Many attorneys practicing personal injury law will work without a fee until the case is over and then the fee is a small percentage of the damages awarded. If the case is not successful the lawyer waives the fee. This is known as “contingency.”
Pedestrian Traffic Laws
Pedestrians, defined as anyone who is on foot, have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Motorists are required to watch for pedestrians and use necessary caution to prevent harming someone on foot, especially if the pedestrian is a child, and the driver must be ready to stop.
Motorists also must give the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is blind, recognized as having a red-tipped cane or aided by a seeing-eye dog, and to those with other disabilities.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Between 2004 and 2007, a total of 4,532 pedestrians were injured in 4,578 traffic incidents, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation. Most pedestrian accidents occur between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and after midnight.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Most incidents occur at traffic lights and stop signs. Motorists can be distracted by other traffic at intersections or by using a mobile communication device. Aggressive driving and speeding are also factors.
Pedestrian accident law is based on negligence, which is legally defined as failing to use the proper care toward another person that a prudent person would use in a similar situation.
In accidents, South Carolina uses the comparative negligence standard. This law forbids a party who has some fault in causing the accident from collecting all the damages that occurred. State lawmakers wanted to encourage safety by limiting damages for those who share blame.
‘51 Percent Rule’
If one party is most at fault in causing an accident that party cannot claim any damages. The dividing line is anything more than 50 percent at fault. That situation invokes South Carolina’s so-called “51 Percent Rule.”
The name may be misleading in that a person who is, for example, 50.3 percent at fault is said to be legally most at fault. The level of fault is determined by a judge or jury in weighing the evidence.
Negligence has five elements and each must be proven for a lawsuit to succeed:
- Duty of care: A reasonable person has a legal obligation to behave in a manner that does not cause injury or property damage to someone else.
- Breach: An act or failing to act violated duty of care.
- Causation: “But for” the breach the accident would not have happened.
- Proximate cause: The breach caused a particular event that was foreseeable.
- Damages: A financial loss resulted.
How a South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help
The South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer will look into the background of the at fault motorist to discover any previous lapse in judgment that could point to a pattern of behavior and will investigate the accident to bring out the facts necessary in alleging negligence.
Many personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. In that situation, the attorney will negotiate an amount that covers all the claims detailed in the lawsuit.