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.
Charleston Pedestrian Accident FAQ
Pedestrian accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, astronomical medical bills, and financial hardships that affect not only the victim but their whole family. As a result, if you suffered injuries and losses in a Charleston pedestrian accident, you likely have several questions you need help with, especially regarding the legal steps you should take next.
That is why in this blog post, we will go over these concerns by providing you with responses to some of the frequently asked questions our clients often have after a pedestrian accident. We hope with this feedback, you have a better understanding of the legal remedies you could pursue.
1. What Are Some of the Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Charleston?
Pedestrian accidents can happen for numerous reasons.
However, in Charleston, they frequently occur because of:
- Motorists driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Reckless motorists
- Excessive speeding
- Impatient drivers, such as those who try to go around pedestrians walking in crosswalks
- Inclement weather
- Road construction areas, which cause pedestrians to walk in places where motorists may not expect them to be
- Dangerous intersections, such as Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Ashley River Road and Calhoun Street and Ashley Avenue
Yet, if you suffered an injury because of a pedestrian accident that is not on this list, you should still reach out to an experienced Charleston pedestrian accident attorney. These lawyers can review your accident, figure out if you have a viable accident claim, and help you pursue the financial recovery you are entitled to.
2. What Is the Statute of Limitations Following a Charleston Pedestrian Accident?
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to file a legal case following an alleged offense. If you do not file your suit within this time, you can be barred from obtaining compensation for your injuries and losses.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations to bring an injury claim following a pedestrian accident is three years from the accident date. However, exceptions may apply to this rule that can impact this filing period. For these reasons, following your pedestrian accident, you should reach out to a knowledgeable Charleston pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. These lawyers can promptly review what happened, determine the amount of time you have to file your case, and help ensure that all your legal motions and files are appropriately prepared and filed before time runs out.
3. What Should You Do Following a Charleston Pedestrian Accident?
After a pedestrian accident, the last thing you want to worry about is collecting evidence and getting information from others—but what you do in an accident can help not only keep you safe but protect your legal rights. That is why after a Charleston pedestrian accident, you should consider doing the following:
After a pedestrian accident, you need to call 911 immediately. This is not only the quickest way to get your accident on record and alert the police of the incident, but it is also the fastest way to notify emergency medical crews that you or someone else at the scene needs medical attention. Once the police get to the location, they can investigate the incident and write down their findings in their police report. This report can serve as valuable evidence if you decide to pursue legal action following this accident.
Collect Evidence From the Scene
Generally, following a pedestrian accident, you likely will not be able to collect much evidence from the crash because of the debilitating injuries that tend to follow these accidents. However, if it is possible, you should try to take as many photos and videos of the crash scene as you can—including pictures of the cars involved, your visible injuries, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, skid marks on the street, traffic signals near the area, and any other evidence that can show what happened.
Yet, if your injuries prevent you from getting this evidence, do not worry. After you retain an experienced Charleston pedestrian accident lawyer, these legal professionals can try to gather all of this information on your behalf.
Get Driver Details
Try to get information from all those involved in the accident, including names, contact details, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. However, as you talk to these individuals, make sure you watch what you say. This means you want to avoid making any definitive statements about the incident, apologizing for anything that occurred, or taking the blame for what happened. These comments can come back and hurt your case, often impacting the amount of money you can receive.
Get Witness Information
If there were people present at the scene, who saw the accident, get their names and contact information. These witnesses can often provide your lawyer with helpful information regarding the accident, as well as help back up your claim.
4. If Your Injuries Appear Minor Following a Charleston Pedestrian Accident, Should You Still See a Doctor?
In the rare situation where your injuries appear to be minor after a pedestrian accident, you should still get to a doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms of serious injuries such as brain trauma can take some time to develop. Yet, the longer you wait to get these injuries examined, the more debilitating and deadly they can become. For these reasons, it is best to get checked over by a doctor shortly after your accident.
In addition, getting this prompt medical treatment can help your case. This is because insurance companies are looking for any reason to deny your claim. By not getting immediate medical treatment, these companies will argue that your injuries are not that serious or a result of a separate event. Thankfully, when you get to a doctor after your accident, they can jot down details about your injuries and the accident in their medical report, providing you with evidence of a direct link between your Charleston pedestrian accident and the harm you sustained.
5. What Should You Tell the Insurance Company When They Call You Following Your Charleston Pedestrian Accident?
After a pedestrian accident, the insurance company will likely be calling you. Yet, even though you want to believe these companies are there to help you obtain the money you need for your losses and injuries following this horrifying accident, this is usually not the case.
Insurance companies, like other businesses, want to make a profit. By offering you less or denying your claim altogether, these companies make more money. That is why when these insurance companies call, they do it for their own benefit. They hope that when they get you at your most vulnerable, they will get you to admit to something that can hurt your case.
For these reasons, before you speak with the insurance company, you should discuss the incident with an experienced Charleston pedestrian accident attorney. These lawyers can help you not only understand what topics you should avoid discussing with these adjusters, but they can also take over these conversations on your behalf, ensuring you do not say anything that can impact your claim.
6. What Types of Damages Can You Go After Following a Charleston Pedestrian Accident?
If you suffered a significant injury following a pedestrian accident in Charleston because of another person’s reckless, wrongful, or negligent actions, you might be able to pursue compensation for your harm and losses. In South Carolina, this compensation often includes the following types of damages:
Economic Damages: These damages refer to the actual and easily quantifiable losses that result from an accident.
- Past, current, and future medical expenses related to doctor visits, prescription medications, hospital visits, surgery, and even medical assistive devices
- Lost wages from not being able to work because of the injuries sustained after the accident
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative costs
- Education costs
- Custodial care
- Personal property repairs and replacements costs
- Cost of obtaining household replacement services
- Other monetary losses
Non-economic Damages: These damages are rather subjective losses resulting from an accident.
They are not easy to quantify and often include the following losses:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Other non-monetary damages
Plus, courts may award punitive damages. However, unlike the other damages, which compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages punish the defendant for their egregious actions and help deter others from committing these acts. Consequently, courts do not award these damages in every personal injury case, but rather only when the victim’s attorney can show through clear and convincing evidence that the harm resulted from the defendant’s willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.
7. How Much Money Can You Expect to Receive Following a Charleston Pedestrian Accident?
Even though an attorney can tell you the types of damages you may be entitled to following a Charleston pedestrian accident, these lawyers can not tell you exactly how much money you can expect to receive following this accident. This is because there are just too many factors that can impact the value of your claim and, ultimately, the amount of money you can obtain.
Take, for instance, the following factors:
- The type of injuries you suffered following the accident and the extent of these injuries
- The type of medical treatments you will need now and in the future
- Whether your injuries caused a permanent disability
- Whether there is insurance available
- The reliability of the witnesses and evidence presented
- The defendant’s culpability
- The impact of these injuries on your ability to live your life
Yet, although these lawyers cannot tell you precisely how much money you can collect for your injuries and losses following this accident when you work with an experienced Charleston pedestrian accident attorney, they can figure out which of these factors may impact your case and prepare the strongest arguments in response to them, making sure to pursue the maximum financial damages you deserve.
8. Why Should You Contact an Experienced Charleston Pedestrian Accident Lawyer at the Hughey Law Firm Following Your Pedestrian Accident?
Many pedestrian accident victims often believe that their claims should be easy to resolve. Yet, unfortunately, this is not what ends up happening. To bring a successful injury claim following a pedestrian accident, victims need to present detailed evidence and solid legal arguments proving their case, all while the insurance company will do everything it can to stop them from recovering the compensation they need.
As a result, if you have been harmed in a pedestrian accident in Charleston, you should reach out to an experienced Charleston pedestrian accident lawyer at the Hughey Law Firm as soon as possible. With our lawyers on your side, you will not have to worry about tackling this difficult legal battle on your own. Instead, you can focus on your healing and recovery while we pursue the damages and justice you deserve.
Once you retain us, we can:
- Evaluate your legal claim, determine if you have a viable case, and determine which legal options you can pursue.
- Thoroughly investigate your pedestrian accident and secure the evidence required to prove fault and damages.
- Bring in the experts, such as doctors, financial specialists, and accident reconstructionists, to substantiate your claim.
- Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the insurance company.
- Prepare to go to trial if negotiations go south and fight for the maximum financial recovery you deserve.
If you or a family member suffered crippling injuries because of a Charleston pedestrian accident, contact a skilled Charleston pedestrian accident lawyer at the Hughey Law Firm today for a free case evaluation and let us show you how we can fight for your rights.
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.