The last few years have brought an influx of pedestrian traffic around the country. Some people choose to walk for health benefits, while others find the financial burden of owning a car is unnecessary where they live. Many employers have even started to offer monetary awards for employees who walk or ride a bike to work instead of driving a car. Unfortunately, this increase in foot traffic has also brought a rise in pedestrian accidents in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 5,376 pedestrian deaths and more than 125,000 injuries sustained from vehicle-pedestrian accidents in 2015. These tragic numbers indicate that there is a lot of work to do when it comes to pedestrian safety and awareness.
Avoiding a Vehicle-Pedestrian Accident
The best project a walker has against a car is avoidance and awareness, but sometimes that simply isn’t enough. The majority of accidents in which a car hits a pedestrian are due to the driver’s lack of attention. Oftentimes in these cases, something will distract a driver, who won’t pay proper attention to the task at hand—staying safe on the road. Many drivers use time in the car to multitask—texting, eating, or doing any other activity that takes their eyes and minds off the road. This makes it difficult for a driver to watch for pedestrians crossing the road.
Even if drivers aren’t distracted by devices or other tasks, sometimes they just don’t notice pedestrians. Speeding through a crosswalk, failing to stop for long enough at a stop sign, or running a yellow light are all dangerous behaviors that can strike pedestrians who have the right of way.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2015, people driving under the influence of alcohol caused 48 percent of vehicle accidents that resulted in pedestrian fatalities. The tragedy is that these deaths could have been easily avoided if the driver had sense to not get behind the wheel after drinking. Sometimes a drunk driver will actually flee the scene of the crime (due to fear or even unawareness), so call the police as soon as an accident occurs.
What are the Dangers of a Pedestrian Accident?
By comparing the size, weight, and composition of a motor vehicle to a human body, it’s easy to understand how the danger posed by a collision with a pedestrian. Walkers who have been hit by a car frequently suffer major injuries. Even a cyclist will probably wear a helmet and perhaps additional padding in the event of a crash. Pedestrians have no protection—unlike drivers, who have metal shells with advanced safety features between the road and their bodies. For this reason, pedestrian-vehicle accidents have a high risk of injury. Common injuries that pedestrians experience include:
- Broken bones (especially wrists, arms, and legs)
- Muscle strains, tendon and soft tissue tears
- Back and spinal injuries and herniated discs
- Concussions or other traumatic brain injuries
It’s common belief that motorists only need to look for pedestrian traffic near intersections, where a walker might try to cross the street. This is actually not the case at all. The truth is that a pedestrian accident can take place in any number of places. Data shows that 80 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred outside of an intersection. Common areas where vehicle-pedestrian accidents happen include crosswalks, bus stops, parking lots, and designated walking or running paths adjacent to roads.
Compensation for your Injuries
When you have been in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, seek immediate medical attention, even if you don’t think your injuries are serious. After you consulted a medical professional, the next step is to start building a case to claim compensation for your injuries. As an injured pedestrian, you have a right to request damages from a negligent driver. A major injury will produce expensive medical bills and possibly lost wages due to taking time off work to recover. In South Carolina, an accident victim is entitled to the right to become whole again. This means that people who suffered in an accident have the right to regain the lives that they had before the accident. An experienced lawyer at Hughey Law Firm will help you regain your life, to the greatest extent possible, as it was before the accident.
Extraneous circumstances may leave both the pedestrian and the driver at odds about who is at fault. For example, a faulty traffic light that doesn’t match up with a pedestrian walk sign could result in an accident. In this case, the city might face fault for failing to maintain the signs and risking injury to a pedestrian. Working with an experienced lawyer to sort through the details of your case will help you achieve the best possible resolution.
Experienced Charleston, South Carolina, Accident Lawyers Can Help
A pedestrian accident in South Carolina is especially dangerous, and can result in severe injuries or even death. When you are going through this type of experience, the process of recovering from an injury can feel overwhelming. Dealing with medical bills, expensive therapy, and prescriptions can add to the stress of the unknown. In many cases, the insurance company will prove unwilling to cover these expenses. The insurance adjuster is tasked with the job of settling a claim as quickly as possible, and this means offering a low monetary award that might not cover even half of your expenses. At the Hughey Law Firm, we take pride in working with our clients and advocating on their behalf. We have years of experience working with auto accident cases, and will work aggressively to collect the damages that you deserve. The first step in a just resolution is contacting us for an initial evaluation of your case. We are here and ready to help fight for your rights. Call our office at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online for a free consultation today.