Accidents in which pedestrians are struck by a car or a motor vehicle cause a disconcerting number of deaths and injuries every year in South Carolina.
Driver negligence is the leading cause of accidents involving pedestrians in the state. In most pedestrian accident cases, it’s the driver of the car, truck or a vehicle that’s at fault. The pedestrian is rarely to blame.
More than 10% of people killed in car accidents in South Carolina each year are pedestrians. Pedestrians who died after being struck by cars and other motor vehicles were simply walking, running, jogging or hiking. Some were sitting down or lying down near or on a roadway.
The best recourse if you’re involved in a serious pedestrian accident is to call an experienced personal injury law firm.
At Kassel McVey our team of lawyers have a combined total of almost 50 years experience representing individuals in South Carolina state and federal courts and are committed to accident victims getting the full compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a car, contact Kassel McVey for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Pedestrian Fatality Rate Is On the Rise
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that the state’s pedestrian fatality rate is increasing despite a downward trend in collisions involving motor vehicles.
This is corroborated by data from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing a rise in South Carolina’s pedestrian fatality rate. Between 2010 and 2012 in South Carolina, 34% more pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents per 100,000 residents, much larger than the national figure.
There were 18.3 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 South Carolina residents in 2012, which was among the highest fatality rates in the U.S. In contrast, 10.7 people per 100,000 Americans died in traffic accidents nationwide in that same year.
The 2015 data for South Carolina is even worse. In that year, South Carolina retained its notoriety as the third most dangerous state for pedestrians behind Delaware and Florida, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). It was in this same unenviable spot three years earlier.
The new report states that South Carolina suffers from a pedestrian fatality rate of 2.55 per 100,000 population. It’s one of 10 states with a pedestrian fatality rate above 2 per 100,000 people.
Other troubling statistics about South Carolina pedestrian accidents from the GHSA report:
* Pedestrian fatalities jumped 25% from 2010 to 2015;
* Pedestrian fatalities rose 11% in 2016 compared to 2015;
* The 2016 increase was the largest annual increase by number and by percentage of pedestrian deaths in the four decades that national data has been tracked;
* The second largest increase in pedestrian deaths was in 2015.
Equally troubling is information about the victims and the causes of pedestrian accidents in the state.
* A pedestrian killed in a car accident in South Carolina is more likely to be elderly (age 65 or older), according to NHTSA.
* He’s also likely to be young (15 years old or younger).
* Surprisingly, most pedestrian accidents occur during normal weather (clear or cloudy) and not during rain, snow or foggy conditions.
* Pedestrian accidents are prone to occur in urban locations such as a city and not in a rural setting.
* They’re more likely to occur at non-intersections.
* Most take place in the evening between 6:00 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.
Drunk driving is just one of the main causes of pedestrian accidents. Alcohol intoxication (either on the part of the pedestrian or driver) is involved in about half of car crashes that result in a pedestrian death in South Carolina, based on NHTSA data.
Other causes of pedestrian accidents are distracted drivers, tired or sleepy drivers, illegal turns, unsafe passing by motor vehicles and even defective sidewalks.
South Carolina pedestrians are protected by certain rights. They also have duties as civic minded citizens when using streets, sidewalks, road shoulders, and roadways.
South Carolina law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or who are otherwise crossing the road. Pedestrians that cross a road outside of a crosswalk, or without the aid of traffic signals, are to yield to motor vehicles.
Pedestrians are required by law to obey traffic signals. They must avoid suddenly stepping off a curb and into traffic.
They should use crosswalks when available, and to walk to the right within them.
Pedestrians and Comparative Negligence
The rights and duties of pedestrians are important because of the doctrine of “comparative negligence,” which is part of South Carolina law.
Comparative negligence means that each party’s relative fault in an accident, including a pedestrian accident, must be balanced. It applies to personal injury and wrongful death claims.
Comparative negligence says that if the injured party shares some of the fault (for example 25% of the blame for crossing against the light), the award in a legal claim will be reduced by that percentage. In court, a pedestrian assigned 50% or more of the responsibility for the accident could not receive compensation.
Contact Kassel McVey
We practice in the South Carolina state and federal courts. Our lawyers and staff are dedicated to listening to our clients and understanding their problems and concerns. When a pedestrian accident occurs, the injured pedestrian or the family of a deceased pedestrian may be entitled to substantial compensation for their losses
Call us today at (803) 256-4242 for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.
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1330 Laurel Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: (803) 256-4242
Toll Free: (855) 256-4242
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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