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Pedestrian Accidents: Who Is Liable?


When it comes to driving on roads with heavy foot traffic by pedestrians, motorists are required to be extremely cautious. But pedestrians can sometimes be at fault for car accidents.

Typically, car-pedestrian accident cases rely on the duty of care owed by those involved. Both drivers and pedestrians must adhere to specific rules of the road and exercise reasonable care.

For instance, all motorists are responsible for driving carefully under the given circumstances and held to the standard of what a normal, prudent individual would do in the same circumstances. On the other hand, a pedestrian needs to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety—and the care required must be proportionate to the danger to be avoided and reasonably anticipated repercussions.

The following are common situations where a pedestrian may be found at least partially liable for a car accident:

  • Jaywalking or crossing the street, outside of a crosswalk
  • Ignoring the “walk” signal at an intersection
  • Entering a road while intoxicated
  • Walking along highways, bridges, or causeways prohibited to pedestrians

If the pedestrian is entirely responsible for the accident, the pedestrian will probably not be able to recover monetary damages for injuries, and the driver may be able to seek compensation from the pedestrian for any harm caused to the vehicle or any injuries to the motorist.

However, even when a pedestrian is responsible for some of the fault causing a crash, the driver of the vehicle is partially at fault in most cases. For example, a pedestrian may be jaywalking, but the driver may have been distracted while using his/her cellphone, when the accident occurred.

When both the pedestrian and the driver are both somewhat at fault in a car-pedestrian accident in South Carolina, the state follows a modified version of comparative fault. In other words, the plaintiff must be less than 51 percent at a fault to recover in a car accident case.

If you have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, contact our Charleston personal injury attorneys at Pierce | Sloan today.

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