If a Jaywalker Is Hit by a Car, Who’s at Fault?
There’s an old common belief that gets mentioned often in conversations about jaywalking and pedestrian accidents that says a driver is always at fault if they hit a pedestrian. In many states, South Carolina included, the reality is a little murkier.
South Carolina uses a comparative negligence law, outlined in S.C. Ann. 15-38-15. Under this law, fault is split between both parties in jaywalking accidents. If the jaywalker is less than 50% responsible for the accident, they can still collect compensation. The amount of fault assigned to each party will depend on the context of the case.
Comparative Negligence and Jaywalking Accidents
This is an example of how comparative negligence can apply to jaywalking accidents. Let’s say that:
- The pedestrian was jaywalking before the accident.
- The driver was driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit before hitting the jaywalker.
Due to their injuries, the pedestrian files a lawsuit against the driver. The case is reviewed in court, and these percentages of responsibility are assigned to each party:
- The pedestrian is deemed 40% responsible because they were jaywalking.
- The driver is deemed 60% responsible because they were speeding.
Under comparative negligence, both parties are partially at fault. However, the pedestrian can still collect compensation because they are less than 50% responsible.
Keep in mind, though, that comparative negligence changes the amount of compensation you can receive. If you were 40% responsible for your jaywalking accident, you could only get 60% of your potential compensation.
The assignment of fault is unique to each pedestrian accident case. In some situations, jaywalking could prevent you from receiving a pedestrian accident settlement. This is particularly true if the involved driver was obeying the law before hitting you. A personal injury lawyer could explain how comparative negligence might apply to your unique case.
For a free legal consultation with a lawyer serving South Carolina, call 803-222-2222
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
Pedestrian accidents can cause a range of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Torn tendons or ligaments
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
These injuries can be both expensive and life-threatening. A pedestrian accident settlement can offset the costs of medical treatment and compensate victims for their emotional trauma.
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What Should I Do If I Was Hit by a Car?
There are a few steps you should take if you were hit by a car while jaywalking:
- Consult a doctor: It’s essential that you receive medical treatment as soon as you can. Speaking with a doctor is the best way to document your injuries after a pedestrian accident.
- Gather evidence: Ensure that you have the contact information of those involved in the accident. Images or video of the accident is beneficial, too.
- Report the accident: After most pedestrian accidents, you must notify the police within 15 days, perS.C. Ann. § 56-5-1270. If the police came to the accident scene, they might have already filed a report.
- Consider hiring a lawyer: A South Carolina pedestrian accident attorney could pursue compensation on your behalf.
There are also mistakes you should avoid making after a pedestrian accident. Don’t tell insurers or other involved parties that:
- Your injuries were minor.
- You were responsible for the accident.
- Your injuries were caused by another accident.
Revealing this information could damage the value of your case. If you’re worried about speaking with insurers, a South Carolina pedestrian accident lawyer can do so on your behalf.
How Can a Lawyer Assist Me with a Jaywalking Accident?
Jaywalking accidents are filed within the broader category of personal injury law. Lawyers specializing in this field can offer victims a range of services, including:
- Offering simple legal explanations
- Answering questions as they arise
- Providing consistent case updates
Lawyers are more than legal guides, however. They can also pursue compensation on your behalf. This process involves multiple steps, including:
- Gathering evidence
- Ensuring that documents are submitted on time
- Dealing with insurers
- Filing a lawsuit, if needed
- Acting as your legal representative
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What Can I Expect After Hiring a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?
Working with a pedestrian accident lawyer begins with a case evaluation. During this initial meeting, your lawyer can review the details of your case. They can explain:
- If you have a case or not
- Whether you should pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit
- The potential value of your case
After this meeting, your lawyer can start seeking a settlement offer. They’ll contact relevant parties and initiate negotiations. Throughout this process, they can keep you updated as your case progresses.
Working with a lawyer can allow you to take a hands-off approach to your case. Your lawyer can deal with insurers on your behalf, so you can direct your energy towards what really matters, like supporting your family or recovering from your injuries.
When Should I Contact a Lawyer?
Ideally, you should start working on your case as soon as possible. You usually have three years after a pedestrian accident to file a lawsuit, per S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530. This deadline may be longer or shorter, depending on the facts of your case.
Getting a head start on your case has other benefits, too, including:
- Providing you or your lawyer with more time to collect evidence
- Ensuring that witnesses don’t forget what they know about your accident
- Demonstrating to the liable party that you’re serious about pursuing compensation
Work with a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
A South Carolina pedestrian accident attorney from Poulin | Willey | Anastopoulo, LLC. can support you as you navigate the aftermath of your pedestrian accident case. We’re familiar with the legal techniques that apply to these cases. Our team also works on a contingency basis, meaning you do not need to pay us anything up front.
Call our offices for a free case evaluation today at (800) 313-2546.