I Was a Pedestrian Hit by a Car in a Crosswalk: What Are My Options?
Though walking instead of taking a car is better for the environment, it presents risks. Unfortunately, South Carolina isn’t a pedestrian-friendly state. Most people drive, and they may not show a caution toward the walkers and runners around them.
South Carolina ranked as the third most dangerous state for pedestrians in 2015. The state’s pedestrian fatality rate was 1.5 times higher than the US average.
Many pedestrians in crosswalks are hit by cars. A pedestrian hit by a car in a crosswalk can sustain life-altering injuries that require expensive medical care.
The driver who caused you harm should have to pay, but their insurance company may try to blame you. In this article, we discuss actions to take after a crosswalk accident if you want maximum compensation for your injuries.
What Is South Carolina Crosswalk Law?
South Carolina designs crosswalks to protect pedestrians. Crosswalks usually feature painted lines on the street and may include flashing lights or crossing signals.
Both pedestrians and drivers must respect South Carolina crosswalk laws.
Crosswalk law requires:
- Pedestrians to obey traffic signals;
- Pedestrians crossing outside of crosswalks to yield to drivers;
- Pedestrians to cross in crosswalks, when provided;
- Drivers to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk; and
- A driver not to pass another driver who is stopped for a pedestrian crossing.
If a driver does not yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, that driver breaks the law. This lack of caution can have tragic consequences.
Pedestrian Hit by a Car: What to Do?
If you are hit by a car, you may sustain serious injuries. There are specific things you should do after a crosswalk accident. Move to the sidewalk if possible, and take the following actions:
- Call emergency responders;
- Provide a statement to the police;
- Take photos of the accident scene;
- Take photos of the driver’s license and insurance; and
- Get medical treatment for your injuries.
Of course, the driver should pull to the side of the road and wait with you for authorities. A driver who flees the scene of an accident can be convicted of a hit-and-run, which carries significant penalties. If you see the driver leaving the accident scene, take a photo of their license plate.
Who Pays for Your Pedestrian Injuries?
When you are hit by a car while crossing the street, you may sustain serious injuries. Your injuries may require expensive medical treatment and prevent you from working. Aside from the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident, you may worry about making ends meet while you recover.
The Driver’s Insurance
The person who hit you should pay for your medical expenses. You can file a claim with their insurance. However, South Carolina requires drivers to carry only $25,000 in injury liability insurance per person and $25,000 in property damage insurance. A hospital stay and surgeries for accident injuries can quickly eclipse $25,000. So getting the money you need may not be as easy as you would think.
Your Health Insurance
Your health insurance may also contribute payment for your medical care. Of course, you would want the driver to pay first and use your health insurance only if needed.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Additionally, you have the option of suing an uninsured or underinsured driver. If the driver who hit you has financial resources, a lawsuit has the potential to compensate you significantly.
Pedestrian Hit in Crosswalk Settlement
If the driver’s insurance company won’t pay what you deserve, you should contact a skilled accident attorney. An insurance company may try to intimidate you and undervalue your claim. Insurers may even try to place blame on you for the accident. However, an accident attorney can push back against insurance companies’ deceptive tactics and work to get a pedestrian hit in a crosswalk a fair settlement.
Questions Your Attorney Might Ask
Your attorney will try to determine these things:
- Were you following pedestrian safety laws while in the crosswalk?
- Was the driver paying attention while you were crossing the street?
- Was the driver speeding, talking on the phone, or breaking any other laws while driving?
- Did the driver stop and try to help you after the accident?
- How extensive are your injuries?
- What is the total cost of your medical treatment?
- Did you lose wages due to your injury?
- How will your injuries impact your life?
After gathering evidence to support your claim, your attorney should have answers to these questions. Using evidence like medical bills, pay stubs, and police reports, your attorney can calculate a fair damages request to present to the driver’s insurer.
Negotiating an Accident Settlement
Then, your attorney and the insurance company will work toward a settlement agreement. If the insurance company refuses to pay you fair injury compensation, you can take them to court.
Even if you were partially responsible for the accident, you might still be able to recover compensation from the driver. South Carolina allows accident victims who are 50% or less responsible for the accident to recover damages from the other driver.
Though your attorney can advise you on the best legal strategy, you should have the final say on accepting or rejecting a settlement.
Contact a Skilled Accident Attorney
To give yourself the best chance at negotiating a fair insurance settlement, call a knowledgeable accident attorney for help. Attorney John Peace founded the Peace Law Firm after working in the insurance industry. He knows how insurance companies work and the strategies they use to try to deny valid claims.
John will use his knowledge to help you pursue fair compensation for your accident injuries. He will work to hold the person who caused you to harm responsible for their actions. To speak with John about your claim, contact him for a free consultation. If you hire the Peace Law Firm, you will owe nothing until you receive an accident settlement.