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Whether it’s tourists exploring the great sites and cities in the Carolinas or locals just trying to get to work, pedestrians are always out and about on the streets of Charlotte, Charleston, Asheville and other areas. With so many people walking everywhere, it’s no surprise that pedestrian accidents are all too common in North and South Carolina.
Pedestrian accidents can happen for any number or reasons. A driver may not be watching the road, someone could be crossing the street when there’s low visibility, or a pedestrian might be looking at their phone instead of oncoming traffic. No matter the reason, if you are involved in a pedestrian accident in the Carolinas that isn’t your fault, you have legal options.
These types of accidents often result in serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries. You may be left with broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage and other injuries that can severely impact your quality of life — not to mention put you out of work for weeks or months. With the help of an experienced pedestrian accident attorney, you could receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The legal team at Auger & Auger has been helping victims of pedestrian accidents get the compensation they deserve for over 26 years. We know what North and South Carolina law says about these types of accidents, and we know what it takes to win your case. Give us a call today at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a pedestrian accident attorney.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2018 was the deadliest for pedestrians since 1990. That year, there were more than 6,200 pedestrian fatalities across the country. There are a few different reasons for this trend. More drivers and pedestrians alike are using their phones while they’re traveling, which takes their eyes off the road. In addition, more consumers are buying SUVs and other large vehicles, which cause much more damage when they collide with a pedestrian.
What’s more, there are a greater number of Americans walking instead of driving to where they need to go. When you also consider the fact that there are too few crosswalks and other safe crossing areas on local streets, and it’s easy to see why pedestrians are struck on the roadway more often.
Specifically looking at the Carolinas, there were 1,187 total pedestrian collisions in South Carolina in 2017. Almost 1,000 of those caused injuries, and 164 resulted in fatalities. The majority of these collisions happened at night on local roads. In North Carolina, there were 2,331 total pedestrian collisions that year, resulting in 2,065 injuries and 209 deaths.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, you will almost certainly seek compensation from the driver who hit you. However, your ability to seek compensation is determined by state law. North and South Carolina follow different statutes when it comes to laying blame for injuries after a pedestrian collision.
Like most states in the country, South Carolina follows a form of comparative negligence law. This means you can still recover compensation for your injuries, even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Specifically, if you are less than 50% at fault for your injuries, you can recover compensation, but it will be reduced by the percentage you are at fault.
For example, let’s say you are crossing the road because you believe traffic is clear both ways. However, the walking signal in front of you says “DON’T CROSS.” A car turns onto the road and doesn’t see you, and therefore collides with you, causing severe injuries. During the trial, the court finds you are 20% at fault for the accident, because you didn’t wait for the crossing signal. You are ultimately awarded $100,000, but because you’re 20% at fault, you would only receive $80,000.
Unlike South Carolina, North Carolina follows a contributory negligence statute. This means if you are even partially at fault for your injuries, you cannot receive compensation. However, there are exceptions to this law. One of the most common is if the victim is a child. If a child under 7 is hit by a car, even if they were partially at fault for the accident, their family may still be able to recover compensation. The same applies if the victim is cognitively impaired.
If the driver acted with gross negligence, such as being drunk or driving recklessly, contributory negligence may not apply. Finally, the “last clear chance” rule can apply if the driver had an opportunity to avoid the pedestrian, but didn’t take it. This is a very complex law, but it’s one that a defense attorney will explore in North Carolina.
No matter the state, in order to seek compensation, your pedestrian accident attorney will need to determine if the driver acted with either malicious intent or, more likely, negligence. Negligence is a legal term that applies to a person who acts in a way a reasonable person wouldn’t, and therefore causes injury.
In order to prove negligence, there must be a duty of care established. In this instance, the driver had a duty of care to avoid causing harm to pedestrians by driving safely and following traffic laws. If they do not uphold this duty of care, they are said to have breached it. For instance, speeding through an area where pedestrians are common is a breach of duty of care. However, if a pedestrian suddenly steps in front of an approaching car, that driver may not be liable.
Third, it must be shown that the breach of duty of care caused the injury. In pedestrian accident cases, this point is typically not disputed, since it’s usually clear that the injuries sustained were caused by the collision. Finally, you must have suffered real monetary damages, such as property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Pedestrian accidents are becoming more common — and more deadly. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, you have legal options. At Auger & Auger, our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers are intimately familiar with state law that determines who is at fault for accidents, and how much compensation can be recovered.
From the moment you call us to the end of your case, you will never owe us a dime. We only get paid if we win your case. Give us a call today at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a pedestrian accident attorney.