Pedestrian accidents often entail serious injuries. Injured pedestrians may suffer broken bones, lacerations, burns, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and a host of other possible injuries. In these situations, injured victims may file personal injury lawsuits to recover their losses. When victims die from their injuries, their surviving loved ones may be able to file wrongful death claims to secure compensation for their loss.
Depending on the details of a case, injured plaintiffs in pedestrian accident cases may receive compensation for their medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering. It will be up to the plaintiff’s attorney to prove that the plaintiff’s injuries and damages directly resulted from the defendant’s actions. Plaintiffs may only sue for losses that were the direct result of the incident in question. To establish liability for these damages, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the defendant was negligent, and his or her negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
Proving Negligence and Collecting Compensation
Personal injury law hinges on the legal concept of negligence. To prove a defendant was negligent, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove several things to the court:
First, the plaintiff’s attorney must demonstrate to the court that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to act with reasonable care. For pedestrian accident cases, this typically means drivers must always yield the right of way to pedestrians who are at an intersection or in a clearly-marked crosswalk.
Second, the plaintiff’s attorney must show that the defendant breached this duty to act with reasonable care in some way. This could mean illegally running through a red light or stop sign and striking a pedestrian, or failing to properly signal and hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Finally, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the victim’s injuries and damages are the direct results of the aforementioned breach of duty.
An experienced Charleston pedestrian accident lawyer can help injured plaintiffs prove the facts of their cases and secure compensation for their losses. In addition to general compensatory damages like medical expenses and lost income, some cases will also entail special compensatory damages and possibly even punitive damages.
As the name suggests, punitive damages exist to punish defendants for willful or grossly negligent behavior. This type of punishment aims to deter defendants from engaging in similar behavior in the future, and also serves as a warning to the general public about the consequences of engaging in such behaviors. South Carolina, like other states, has caps or restrictions for how much a judge may award in punitive damages, and the final figures are typically reflective of the defendant’s socioeconomic standing and the details of the case. In Charleston, punitive damages cannot exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000 (the greater of the two).
Winning Your Case
If you’ve suffered an injury as a pedestrian due to the negligent actions of another person or entity, an experienced Charleston pedestrian accident lawyer can help you secure compensation for your losses and ease your recovery. Since pedestrians have little to no protection from vehicle impacts, recovering from an accident can take months or even years. In many cases, injured pedestrians lose the ability to walk or suffer other permanent disabilities.
Anyone in this situation needs reliable legal counsel. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated, and the process involves meeting numerous strict deadlines and filing the appropriate documents with the court. If you’re recovering from a pedestrian accident, legal entanglements are likely the last thing on your mind, so leave the legal issues to the professionals at HawkLaw. Contact our team in Mount Pleasant to schedule a consultation about your pedestrian accident case, and put our experience to work for you. Call us at (843) 737-9356.
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