Staying Safe: Pedestrian Accidents and Legal Rights


People walk on the roadways for a variety of reasons. It’s good exercise, helps reduce pollution and congestion on our roads, and is often a faster and healthier way to move around busy city streets. However, when sharing the road with cars, motorcycles, and trucks, there’s always a chance that you could get injured in a pedestrian accident.

Unfortunately, pedestrians don’t have the same kind of protection as cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. Drivers have seatbelts and airbags, while motorcyclists have helmets and protective gear. For pedestrians, a small “bump” from a vehicle can be very dangerous.

In fact, pedestrian accidents often involve some of the most serious injuries. It’s best to discuss your injuries or any damages incurred due to the negligence of another party with an experienced auto accident lawyer.

Legal Issues Often Involved in a Pedestrian Accident

When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the priority should be physical and emotional care. While you receive medical care for your injuries, it’s important to note some of the various legal issues that could arise from these kinds of accidents.

Some of these legal considerations include:

  • Who is at fault for the accident?
  • Is there ample insurance to help cover your injuries and damages?
  • Will you end up missing work due to the injuries you sustained?
  • What kind of expenses will you incur as a result of the accident?
  • How will your life change moving forward?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you will have several legal options to consider. Just as with other personal injury cases, pedestrian accident cases are often very complex. Moreover, insurance companies are notorious for fighting the victims of these kinds of cases about value and liability.

This is why it’s important to involve an experienced attorney for assistance with your case.

Liability in Pedestrian Accident Cases

A pedestrian struck by a car in Aiken doesn’t automatically have a strong case solely because they were the pedestrian. This essentially serves as a reminder that pedestrians and drivers alike should navigate the roads carefully.

Determining liability in car accidents involving pedestrians often requires a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident. In South Carolina, pedestrians generally have the right of way in crosswalks and intersections, and drivers are legally obligated to yield to them.

In most cases, proving liability entails proving negligence, which is a culmination of duty, breach, causation, and damages.

  • Duty of Care: Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians, which includes exercising reasonable caution and adhering to traffic laws. Breaching this duty can result in liability for the driver.
  • Breach of Duty of Care: Proving that the driver was negligent in their actions, such as speeding, distracted driving, or failing to yield, is essential in establishing liability.
  • Cause: The breach of duty directly caused the damages, which must have been foreseeable based on the negligent actions following the breach of duty.
  • Damages: The pedestrian must have suffered compensable damages under SC laws.

It’s important to note that South Carolina follows a modified comparative fault system, which means that if the pedestrian is found to be partially responsible for the crash, their compensation award will be lowered proportionally to match the extent of their fault.

Legal Considerations in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Car accident cases involving pedestrians require a thorough understanding of South Carolina’s traffic laws and personal injury statutes.

Some key legal considerations include:

  • Statute of Limitations: In South Carolina, there is a limited window of time, typically two years from the time of the accident, within which a pedestrian must file a claim. Failure to meet this deadline can result in the forfeiture of their right to compensation.
  • Insurance Coverage: Pedestrians injured in car accidents may be eligible for compensation through the driver’s auto insurance policy. However, navigating insurance claims can be complex, especially when multiple parties are involved.

Compensation in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Pedestrians injured in car accidents may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:

Economic Damages

These are the calculable damages that the pedestrian suffered as a direct result of the accident. They include:

  • Medical Expenses: Coverage for medical bills related to the treatment of injuries sustained in the accident, including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and medication.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for income lost due to missed work while recovering from injuries sustained in the accident.
  • Property Damage: Compensation for any property that was damaged or lost in the accident, such as your phone.

Non-Economic Damages

In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, pedestrians injured in car accidents may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life.

They include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Damages provided for any physical pain, psychological trauma, and emotional distress resulting from the accident.
  • Anxiety and Depression: as well as the overall toll the injuries have on your wellbeing.
  • Physical Trauma: including any disfigurement and disability caused by the accident.

Call a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Aiken Today

If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer at Johnson, Johnson, Whittle, Lancer, & Staggs can help. Call our Aiken, SC office today at (803) 649-5338 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our car accident lawyers. We look forward to hearing from you.