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Are Drivers Always Liable for a Pedestrian Accident?


Accidents between vehicles and pedestrians are particularly dangerous due to the size and weight of cars, trucks, and other vehicles. When a vehicle crashes into someone crossing the street, it is always the pedestrian who will suffer the most severe injuries. However, this does not always mean that drivers are liable, or at fault, for pedestrian accidents. There are times when pedestrians are negligent and cause or contribute to a crash. Below, our personal injury lawyer explains further.

Determining Liability for a Pedestrian Accident 

Both motorists and pedestrians have a legal duty to follow the law and act in a reasonable manner that will keep everyone safe. Any time a person violates these laws or acts carelessly, they can be held liable if they cause an accident that results in injuries.

Generally speaking, pedestrians usually have the right-of-way at crosswalks and so, if a driver crashes into someone crossing the road using a crosswalk, they can likely be held liable. Still, there are some instances when this is not the case. For example, pedestrians can only use a crosswalk when a sign says “walk.” If the light has a countdown, pedestrians can only cross if they can safely make it to the other side before the count is over. If a pedestrian crosses on a “don’t walk,” sign, they do not have the right-of-way and may be found at least partly liable for a crash.

When pedestrians need to cross the road but there is no crosswalk, they must yield the right-of-way to drivers. This means they must look each way before crossing to ensure they will not jump out in front of drivers who may not have enough time to stop for them. If a pedestrian fails to do this, they may be held liable for an accident.

Comparative Fault in South Carolina 

Due to the fact that there are so many laws governing pedestrians and drivers, it is always possible that more than one party may be found liable for an accident. Under South Carolina’s comparative fault law, accident victims can still file a claim for compensation as long as they are less than 50 percent at fault for an accident. Any damages that are awarded are then reduced by the same percentage of fault.

For example, a pedestrian may not look before crossing a road without using a crosswalk. A driver may be speeding at the time and crash into the person on foot. In this case, the driver may be assigned 80 percent of fault because they may not have been involved in a crash if they were not speeding. The pedestrian may be assigned 20 percent of fault because they did not look before crossing the road. In this example, the pedestrian can file a claim but any damages they are awarded will be reduced by 20 percent.

Call Our Personal Injury Lawyer for Legal Advice 

If you have been hurt as a pedestrian, you need sound legal advice. At Fuller Law Firm, our Mt. Pleasant personal injury lawyer can provide it and ensure you receive the full and fair settlement you are entitled to. Call us now at 843-277-0013 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to get more information.

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