Rock Hill Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

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If you were recently injured in a pedestrian accident in the Rock Hill area, you have probably suffered injuries, devastating financial losses, and a significant impact to your quality of life.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that approximately 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal vehicle crash injuries in a single recent year. The CDC also states that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than vehicle passengers to be killed in a car crash.

Because people are so vulnerable while walking, drivers must take extra care to watch out for them and keep them safe. When a driver fails in this duty and you are injured as a result, you may be entitled to bring a personal injury claim against them to seek compensation for your losses.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian-car accident, you should immediately seek medical care, and then contact the Rock Hill pedestrian accident lawyers of Schiller & Hamilton. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys could help you understand your legal options during a free consultation.

The Prevalences of Pedestrian Accidents

Many motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians occur in crosswalks or when pedestrians attempt to cross streets and roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban areas as opposed to 26 percent in rural areas. Moreover, 72 percent of fatalities occurred when pedestrians attempted to cross streets and roads outside of intersections and crosswalks, while 18 percent of fatalities occurred at intersections.

Pedestrian accidents can occur in other places, too. NHTSA reported that 10 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in locations such as roadsides, medians, parking zones, sidewalks, driveways, and shared-use paths. Parking lanes, lots, garages, and driveways can be susceptible to these incidents, as the crowded, cramped conditions can make it difficult for less-attentive drivers to notice pedestrians around their vehicles. If you were harmed while walking in any of these areas, a pedestrian accident attorney could help you take legal action.

How do You Determine Fault in a Crosswalk Injury Case?

Drivers are expected to exercise greater care when driving in areas with pedestrians since a pedestrian typically has the right of way. In many cases, the vehicle driver is at fault for a car accident with a pedestrian, especially if a driver fails to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, runs a stop sign or stoplight, or is speeding.

In motor vehicle accident trials including those involving pedestrians, many states use a system of comparative negligence where the jury or judge is asked to determine the percentage each party is at fault for the accident. The plaintiff’s damages are divided according to each party’s percentage of fault, such that if a pedestrian is found to be, for example, 10 percent responsible for the accident, their award would be reduced by that amount.

South Carolina uses a modified form of comparative negligence, in which a plaintiff must also be found less than majority at fault to be eligible to recover damages. A pedestrian who fails to cross the street or road at designated crosswalks, attempts to cross against oncoming traffic, or attempts to walk areas not designated for pedestrians such as interstate highways, for example, may be found to have contributed to the accident.

In addition to the vehicle’s driver, other parties may be at fault for an accident, such as the owner of a road or parking lot that is found to be negligently designed and contributed to the accident. A Rock Hill injury lawyer familiar with pedestrian accident cases will be able to help in determining fault.

Common Crosswalk Accident Injuries in Rock Hill

Being hit by a car as a pedestrian is likely to result in serious and life-threatening injuries. These injuries may include:

These injuries may result in expensive medical care, possibly for the rest of your life, in addition to the loss of working ability and wages, and pain and suffering. Through a personal injury action, you can pursue financial compensation to cover these and other losses.

Especially if the car is traveling at high speeds, many collisions with people on foot tragically result in death. If your loved one was killed in a crosswalk accident, a compassionate attorney can help you pursue a wrongful death claim. Through this claim, you may be eligible to receive compensation for funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of financial support, among other losses.

What Steps Should You Take Following a Pedestrian Accident?

If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, you or someone at the scene should immediately call 911. In the shock and chaos of the accident, you may not realize that you have suffered serious injuries. Remain at the scene. Paramedics will determine whether you are okay to go home or should go to the hospital for further examination and treatment. Police will also investigate the accident. The police report may be helpful to establish the fault of the driver or other parties. You should also obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

If you are not transported to the hospital from the scene of the accident, at some point soon after the accident you should visit the hospital or your primary care physician to determine whether you have suffered any injuries from the accident requiring treatment.

Finally, avoid making statements to any witnesses, the driver of the vehicle that hit you, or any insurance companies, as those statements may be used against you in a subsequent claim. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can handle all communications regarding the pedestrian accident on your behalf.

Hiring a Rock Hill Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one was struck by a vehicle, our experienced Rock Hill pedestrian accident attorneys can help you pursue maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses.

Contact our team of attorneys of Schiller & Hamilton for more information and to set up a free consultation. Our team will discuss your accident and inform you about your rights and legal options as an injured pedestrian.

FAQs About Pedestrian Accidents in South Carolina

What are the most common causes of pedestrian accidents in South Carolina?

Pedestrians in South Carolina are most commonly involved in accidents because of the same factors that affect bicyclists and vehicle occupants: driver recklessness or negligence. In far too many cases, the issue of driver recklessness relates to speeding or intoxication. There are, however, other factors that could require the services of a pedestrian accident lawyer in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Regarding the issue of driver negligence, distraction often plays a role in a roadway accident. One of the most common forms of driver distraction, sending or reading a text message, is illegal under South Carolina’s Code of Laws Section 56-5-3890. When a pedestrian accident attorney proves to the court that a driver read or sent a text message at the time the individual struck a pedestrian, a jury could find that driver liable for the injured party’s harm.

Although it is not illegal in South Carolina to drive while using a hands-free phone, it may still create enough of a distraction to lead to a serious mishap. An experienced pedestrian accident lawyer could request and use phone records to show how a driver’s attention turned away from the road when an accident occurred. Talking on the phone while driving is a form of cognitive distraction that also includes talking to a passenger in the vehicle or paying attention to something on the side of the road.

Manual distractions can also cause drivers to take their attention off the road and not see a pedestrian walking up ahead. Reaching behind into the backseat for something, unwrapping a snack bar or putting out a cigarette could, for example, create enough of a distraction to lead to an accident, especially at higher vehicle speeds. Overall, any type of visual, cognitive or manual form of driver distraction could cause an accident that brings serious harm to a pedestrian.

What non-driver issues could contribute to South Carolina’s pedestrian accidents?

Distracted, speeding or intoxicated drivers are not the only causes of pedestrian accidents. Environmental factors often play a role. Weather conditions may come to mind first, but an issue that South Carolina also faces is a greater-than-average number of poorly maintained roads. Cracked road surfaces, standing water or potholes could cause a vehicle to veer off course and injure a pedestrian.

Standing water caused by poorly maintained or faulty drainage systems can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Once a vehicle starts hydroplaning it could prevent its driver from stopping in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Malfunctioning traffic signals also pose a hazard to pedestrians crossing at intersections. An additional hazard could come from overgrown shrubs and trees that cover yield signs and stop signs. It may also take local government crews an unreasonable length of time to replace fallen or illegible street signage.

If a local government agency fails to properly maintain its roads and infrastructure, an injured pedestrian could sue for the harm caused. In addition to accidents involving cars and trucks, a sidewalk or crosswalk trip-and-fall accident could cause serious harm. Our pedestrian accident lawyers in Rock Hill could show the court how cracked pavement or a crosswalk pothole caused a debilitating trip-and-fall injury. Harmed individuals can sue private or public entities for damages if their negligence allows dangerous conditions to linger unresolved.

What is the statute of limitations for South Carolina pedestrian accident claims?

South Carolina places a three-year limit on how long an injured party can wait before taking legal action. The clock begins running on the statute of limitations when accident victims realize or discover they suffered an injury. Regardless of the statute of limitations’ three-year time frame, it is in an injured party’s best interests to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident occurs.

In most pedestrian accidents, harmed individuals are aware of their injuries immediately after a vehicle strikes them or after they hit the pavement when they trip and fall. In some cases, however, a “minor bump” from a vehicle slowly backing out of a parking space may not show itself as a serious injury until days or weeks later. Delayed symptom injuries may involve concussions, internal bleeding or digestive system harm. Psychological issues, such as emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder, may also begin to show themselves weeks or months after an accident occurs.

The statute of limitations does not apply to the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury case. The three-year time frame only applies to the filing date. The case can proceed to its conclusion even if it extends past the three-year statute of limitations. South Carolina may, however, extend the filing time frame in cases where the injured party is a minor or a mentally incapacitated individual. Our pedestrian accident lawyers in Rock Hill can assist if any filing issues arise.

What types of compensation are available for South Carolina pedestrian accident victims?

There are three types of compensation that a jury may award in a pedestrian accident case: economic damages, noneconomic damages and punitive damages. Economic damages present the least amount of difficulty to obtain. Medical bills can show the court the economic loss that resulted from the injured party’s recovery costs. Previous income records or W-2 forms could help verify the amount of wages lost while recovering from an accident.

Noneconomic damages typically include compensation awarded for an accident victim’s pain and suffering, emotional distress or reduced quality of life. Another form of noneconomic damage that a jury could award is loss of consortium. The term refers to the loss of companionship and intimacy that an accident victim’s spousal relationship suffers. Although noneconomic damages are not as easy to calculate as economic damages, a skilled pedestrian accident lawyer in Rock Hill could use a range of approaches to both calculate and prove the harm caused to the injured party.

A jury may award punitive damages when it decides that the individual or entity that caused harm acted in an especially reckless and willful way. A punitive damages award intends to punish the at-fault party and act as a deterrent against future misconduct.

How could a personal injury lawyer show the court that an accident victim suffered noneconomic damages?

Testimony provided by an expert witness from the mental health field could show the court how an accident caused emotional harm. Pedestrian accident lawyers can also have family members and friends testify about how the harmed individual’s life changed after the accident.

There are several symptoms that mental health professionals and their diagnostic records could provide to help prove emotional harm occurred, such as:

  • Recurring panic attacks
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Withdrawal and deteriorating personal or professional relationships
  • Insomnia or frequent nightmares
  • Chronic episodes of stress, anxiety or depression

Compensation for an accident victim’s pain and suffering is not uncommon in personal injury cases that proceed to the courtroom stage. When an accident results in a long-term or permanent disability, the court could also award compensation for the future pain and suffering the injury will cause.

A calculation for a pain and suffering award may take into consideration factors such as:

  • The impact on the accident victim’s personal and professional life
  • Any disabilities or impairments related to the accident
  • The injury’s severity or resulting scarring
  • The age of the accident victim
  • The limitations placed on a previous enjoyment of life

Should an injured pedestrian consider accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer?

An insurance company’s settlement offer might appear somewhat appealing based on the expediency of avoiding a courtroom experience, but it’s usually not the best option. Insurance companies may not argue against compensating for economic damages backed up by medical bills, but noneconomic damages are a different matter. An insurance company may dispute the validity of an emotional distress or pain and suffering claim by arguing that the injured party is exaggerating the symptoms.

Teaming up with a skilled personal injury attorney can level the playing field. Before giving any consideration to an insurance company’s out-of-court settlement offer, our pedestrian accident attorneys in Rock Hill can help a harmed individual determine what a fair and reasonable settlement offer should look like.

An experienced personal injury attorney is much better suited to negotiating with an insurance carrier and can present persuasive evidence to back up an accident claim. If an insurance carrier doesn’t come up with an agreeable out-of-court settlement, the case can then proceed to a jury trial.

What additional advantages can a pedestrian accident lawyer in Rock Hill provide?

In addition to the advantages of working with a member of a trusted and respected legal team, our team of pedestrian accident lawyers in Rock Hill can collect evidence and hire expert witnesses to support both economic and noneconomic damage claims. Peace of mind is another benefit. Someone is there to answer questions and respond to concerns while recovering from an accident.

A no-fee and no-obligation case consultation can help provide additional assurances when deciding on legal representation. A reputable and experienced pedestrian accident lawyer at our firm in Rock Hill will also work on a contingency basis and not charge any fees unless clients receive compensation for the harm they suffered.

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