Can Insurance Companies Really Blame A Pedestrian For Getting Hit By A Car?
Some common assumptions we make about fault for car accidents are not always true in practice. Are rear end collisions always the rear driver’s fault? Usually, but not always. If the front driver applied the brakes suddenly and without a good reason, he or she could bear some or all of the fault for the accident. Likewise, lane change accidents are usually the fault of the driver who changed lanes, but not if a driver in the destination lane sped up or slowed down when it was obvious that the other driver was trying to merge. Believe it or not, insurance companies sometimes consider it the pedestrian’s fault when a car strikes a pedestrian. This is all just an amusing bit of insurance industry trivia unless you are the pedestrian that got hit by a car, and the fault for the accident has a major effect on how much compensation you can get to pay your accident-related medical bills. For help proving that the driver that hit you while you were on foot could reasonably have prevented the accident, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer.
When It Might Not Be Entirely the Driver’s Fault for Failing to Prevent a Collision
One of the claims that plaintiffs must prove in personal injury lawsuits is that the defendant had a duty of care toward the plaintiff; another such claim is that the defendant breached the duty of care. Drivers have a duty of care to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid striking motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, and stationary objects. Pedestrians also have a duty of care to exercise caution near roads open to vehicular traffic and to cross at crosswalks and obey signs instructing them where and when to cross. These are some situations where the insurance companies might assign some or all of the fault for an accident to a pedestrian:
- The pedestrian jaywalked, meaning that the pedestrian crossed the road at a place that was not a designated crosswalk.
- The pedestrian crossed at a crosswalk, but the “don’t walk” sign was on.
- The pedestrian was looking at a phone screen instead of paying attention to the road.
- The pedestrian was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What to Do If the Driver’s Insurance Will Not Cover Your Accident-Related Medical Bills
Pursuant to South Carolina’s comparative negligence laws, injured plaintiffs who are partially at fault for the accident can recover damages for the portion of their accident-related losses that are not their fault. That means that, if you were 20 percent at fault for the accident, a court can order the driver to pay 80 percent of your medical bills. Even if you are 100 percent at fault for the accident, your own insurance policy can pay your accident-related medical bills if you have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
Let Us Help You Today
The car accident lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if you were injured in a pedestrian accident. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.