With its great beaches and high tourist population, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is prone to more than its fair share of pedestrian accidents. If you are hit by a car, you need a pedestrian accident attorney who knows the area and the law to get you back on your feet.
When you are walking on a paved sidewalk, you usually expect to be safe from on-coming cars. The truth of that depends on where you are. Statistically, most accidents happen in urban areas like much of Horry County and Georgetown County, away from intersections, and at night. So if you are walking to dinner along a downtown sidewalk, you may want to keep a special eye out.
After a pedestrian accident, the victim and his or her family could face a mountain of medical expenses. A body struck by a vehicle doesn't have any of the protections given to the driver or passengers of that vehicle. Instead, a pedestrian's body comes directly in contact with the vehicle, and often the pavement. This lack of protection means that pedestrians can be seriously injured, even in relatively low-speed collisions. Pedestrians are especially at risk for brain injury or spinal damage as a result of the collision. These kinds of injuries can be catastrophic – changing the victim's life, or even ending it.
Whether you can be compensated for your injuries after a pedestrian accident depends on who caused the crash in the first place. When a pedestrian gets run down on a sidewalk or struck while in a crosswalk, the crash is likely the result of a driver's negligence or recklessness. Alcohol may also play a part. On the other hand, when a pedestrian is hit while jaywalking across a busy street, his or her own behavior may be the cause of the injuries.
Most often, the truth is somewhere in the middle. When both driver and walker share the blame, South Carolina law applies the concept of comparative negligence. The judge or jury will determine the total harm suffered in the crash. Then the pedestrian's damage award will be reduced based on his or her percentage of fault. If the pedestrian's behavior was the biggest contributor to the accident, he or she may be left without compensation for most of his or her medical expenses.
Because pedestrian accidents usually involve a motor vehicle, you may be able to file a claim for insurance benefits to off-set some of your damages. South Carolina requires every driver to carry a minimum of $25,000 liability insurance to cover harm done to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. This insurance is still based on the driver's negligence, but it can protect pedestrians when the motorist does not have personal funds to cover their medical expenses.
In today's economy, though $25,000 won't go very far in covering the kinds of catastrophic injuries some pedestrians suffer. If their injuries go further, pedestrians can turn to their own underinsured motorist insurance policy to make up the difference. All South Carolina auto policies contain uninsured motorist coverage equal to your liability premium. But this benefit only kicks in if you are the victim of a hit and run driver or the motorist is driving without insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance is optional, but can add to the amount paid by the negligent driver's insurance company to make sure your injuries are covered. Urban pedestrians should consider adding underinsured motorist insurance to their current plan to protect against big unpaid medical bills after a pedestrian accident.
When you are deciding whether to file a claim with an insurance company or a lawsuit against the motorist who hit you, make sure you meet with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney like Nate Fata. He can help you investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and decide your best legal course of action. Don't wait until the insurance company offers you a settlement. Contact Fata Law today to schedule a consultation.