Who’s at Fault if You Are Injured While Jaywalking in South Carolina?

by | Jun 29, 2023 | Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


hands of car driver on steering wheel, road trip, driving on highway road

South Carolina is the third most dangerous state for pedestrians, coming in behind New Mexico and Florida. This doesn’t necessarily mean South Carolina has a lot of bad drivers. Poorly designed roadways and irresponsible pedestrians also contribute to statistics like this. 

You may wonder who is at fault if a pedestrian is injured in South Carolina? What if they were illegally jaywalking? The answer depends on many factors which will all be considered by the court when allocating fault and determining who can get compensation for damages. 

What Is Jaywalking?

woman-jaywalking-in-SCBefore understanding who is at fault when a car hits a pedestrian who is jaywalking, you need to understand what jaywalking is. Jaywalking happens when a pedestrian illegally crosses a street, typically outside of a crosswalk or other designated area. 

Pursuant to South Carolina Code §56-5-3150, pedestrians crossing a roadway anywhere outside of a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) should yield right of way to motor vehicles. Failure to do so may result in a significant fine. However, the law does not specifically address fault if there is an accident. 

Who Is at Fault for a Jaywalking Accident? 

Fault is determined based on many factors, one of which may include the legality of the actions of all parties. Thus, a court would consider the fact that a pedestrian was illegally jaywalking when assessing fault in an accident. In addition to legality of the pedestrian’s actions, the court would also consider: 

  • Whether the driver of the motor vehicle was acting legally at the time of the accident
  • The design of the roadway
  • Existence of roadway markings, signage, and pedestrian signals
  • Incidence of other pedestrian accidents in the area
  • Which party has the last clear chance to reduce risk of harm

The court can use any factor available to determine fault in a jaywalking accident. Additionally, the court will utilize modified comparative negligence to establish liability. 

What Is Modified Comparative Negligence? 

South Carolina, like many other states, uses a modified comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases like jaywalking accidents. Under modified comparative negligence, liability for damages is related to how responsible a party is for the accident in the first place. 

For example, if the jaywalker is determined to be 10% at fault for the accident, their ultimate damages will be reduced by 10%. If they have $100,000 in damages, the motor vehicle driver will only be liable for $90,000. 

Additionally, under modified comparative negligence, the amount of compensation is limited based on percentage of responsibility. If a party is more than 50% at fault, then they cannot recover compensation for any damages. 

When Is a Jaywalker at Fault for a Jaywalking Accident? 

A jaywalker may be partially responsible for a car accident if they illegally crossed a roadway in front of a motor vehicle in violation of South Carolina law. In such an instance, the responding police officer will likely write the jaywalker a ticket and it will be documented in the police report. If it is not, there are other ways to prove the individual jaywalked across the roadway. 

Keep in mind that even if a jaywalker is partially at fault, they may be able to recover some compensation from an at fault driver who is more at fault under South Carolina’s theory of modified comparative negligence. 

When Is a Motor Vehicle Driver at Fault in a Jaywalking Accident? 

man-holding-womans-hand-that-was-hit-while-jaywalkingThere are many situations where a motor vehicle driver may be at fault or more negligent than the jaywalker in a car accident. Most of those situations depend on the actions of the driver. 

A motor vehicle driver may be at fault for a jaywalking accident if they are guilty of: 

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving or road rage
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Failure to follow traffic signals
  • Failure to stop at a sign or signal

If a motor vehicle driver is at fault for a jaywalking accident, they will likely be held accountable for any damages they cause. 

How Much Is My Jaywalking Case Worth? 

If you were injured in a jaywalking accident and the other party is to blame, then you can get compensation for the following: 

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress

It’s impossible to know exactly how much your case is worth without first talking to a jaywalking accident attorney. However, you may be able to get enough money to cover all your damages. 

How to Prevent an Accident with a Jaywalker 

Jaywalking accidents are preventable. Motor vehicle drivers can take actions to stop them before they occur. Some of the actions that car and truck drivers can take include:   

  • Keep your eyes on the road
  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Follow the speed limit
  • Avoid traveling on dimly lit streets at night
  • Ensure your vehicle lights are functioning well

Safety Tips for Pedestrians in South Carolina 

boys-crossing-road-in-crosswalkPedestrians can also help prevent jaywalking accidents by: 

  • Only crossing roadways at cross walks
  • Walking on the sidewalk
  • Looking left, right, and left again when crossing the roadway
  • Staying alert when walking near roadways
  • Not wearing ear buds or headphones when walking
  • Not talking on a cell phone while walking
  • Wearing bright or reflective clothing outdoors
  • Avoiding walking along roadways at night
  • Carrying a flashlight when night walking is necessary
  • Avoiding walking when impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Hire a Jaywalking Accident Lawyer If You Are Injured 

If you or a loved one is injured in a jaywalking accident, you should immediately contact a personal injury lawyer who can stand up for you. The other party will likely be pointing the finger and trying to push the fault onto you. We will collect evidence that supports your case and help you get as much money as possible. 

Call attorney Venus Poe, an experienced jaywalking accident lawyer, today at (864) 963-0310 for a case consultation. 

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