Pedestrian Rights in the Case of an Accident
Whether being clipped by a car in a shopping center parking lot or being hit while out jogging on a country road, in the case of a pedestrian/motor vehicle accident, it is imperative you speak with an attorney.
Unfortunately many of these accidents end up causing the injured party days spent in the hospital followed by months or in some cases even years of physical therapy and other painful medical treatments. Often the injured pedestrian is unable to work during their recuperation or it is entirely possible the accident can leave them with physical disabilities which could hinder their ability to maintain their current standard of living. Then the emotional toll must be taken into consideration. Many people who have been hit by a car report post trauma stress related events including vivid nightmares, the inability to be able to even take a leisurely stroll through their neighborhood and a fear of just viewing moving cars as they attempt to do something as basic as walking through a parking lot into the grocery store.
Generally the funds required to pay medical expenses come from the driver’s auto insurance coverage. South Carolina, as well as the majority of other states, requires motor vehicle owners to carry both bodily injury as well as property damage liability insurance. The minimum liability amounts in South Carolina are $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident and $25,000 of property damage insurance per accident. As anyone who has been hospitalized or required any type of medical procedure during the last couple of years can attest, these minimum amounts could easily be used up within a matter of days, leaving the injured party with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Couple this with a possibility of being unable to physically or emotionally earn a living and the likelihood of additional long-term medical expenses and you can now see why it is so important to seek legal counsel.
The South Carolina Department of Insurance requires each registered motor vehicle owner to carry uninsured motorist insurance but not underinsured coverage. Because of this requirement, if you are hit by a motorist who either doesn’t have any insurance or if they are only insured for the minimum limits then your auto insurance will be required to pay the difference. This in turn can easily increase your premiums or even have your auto policy canceled. That really doesn’t seem fair for an accident which wasn’t your fault, now does it?
When it comes to having medical expenses paid, often it’s best if the injured party turn to their own personal health insurance. Then in most cases the health insurance company will take on the responsibility of getting reimbursed through the driver’s auto insurance carrier. It is also important to note that if the accident occurred while the pedestrian was working; it could be conceivable that their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance could be used to pay some of the outstanding expenses.
In the most unfortunate of circumstances you don’t own a car and therefore don’t have auto insurance. You currently aren’t covered under any type of health insurance and are also unemployed. Then as you are walking to the post office you are hit by a motorist who has no auto insurance. In this case, your best option will be to speak with an attorney who can determine if the driver has other assets and if going forward with a lawsuit is in the injured pedestrian’s best interest.
We here at the Dan Pruitt Law Firm strongly suggest if you or a family member has been injured (or a family member killed) while walking, jogging or riding a bicycle, you contact us immediately. Your legal rights are our first and only concern.