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Pedestrian death toll rising in state capital

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that, on average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic accidents in the United States in 2010. The death toll for pedestrian accidents on South Carolina's streets is also alarming and rose steadily over four years according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

There were 121 victims killed in a pedestrian accident in South Carolina in 2012, according to the Highway Patrol. This rose from 114 victims in 2011, 90 fatalities in 2010 and 88 pedestrians killed in 2009. These pedestrians were hit by a car or a truck while they walked down a road or sidewalk.

The Highway Patrol recommends that pedestrians should wear something reflective, remove headphones so that they can hear approaching cars, walk on the left side of the road to see approaching vehicles and wear no dark clothing. Even with these precautions, however, pedestrians are at risk if a driver is distracted, impaired or does not comply with traffic laws. Defects with property and traffic safety devices also imperil pedestrians.

Although car accidents are unfortunately common, when pedestrians are involved they often suffer greater injuries or harm due to their vulnerability and the lack of protection. Victims of pedestrian accidents may be entitled to compensation if a driver or property owner is at fault. Compensation resulting from a personal injury lawsuit may pay for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering, among other losses. In the case of a fatality, the victim's family may seek damages for the loss of a relative in a wrongful death action. Investigations should occur promptly because time periods govern the filing of a legal action, and evidence such as police reports and witness statements should be obtained.

Source: MidlandsConnect.com, "Pedestrian death toll steadily rising in SC," Ivory Hecker, Feb. 18, 2013

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