Day 6: The Role of Traffic Laws in Pedestrian Accident Claims

Traffic laws play a crucial role in determining liability and the outcome of pedestrian accident claims. Understanding these laws can help pedestrians and drivers alike navigate the legal landscape and ensure fair compensation for injuries and damages. Here’s a detailed look at the role of traffic laws in pedestrian accident claims in South Carolina.

1. Right of Way Laws

South Carolina traffic laws outline specific right of way rules designed to protect pedestrians:

  • Crosswalks: Pedestrians have the right of way at both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the street within these areas.
  • Intersections: At intersections without traffic signals, drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the roadway within a crosswalk.
  • School Zones: Drivers must exercise extra caution and yield to pedestrians in school zones, where children are likely to be crossing.

2. Jaywalking Laws

While pedestrians have certain rights, they also have responsibilities. Jaywalking, or crossing the street outside of designated crosswalks or intersections, is illegal and can affect a pedestrian’s claim. If a pedestrian is found to be jaywalking at the time of the accident, it may impact the determination of fault and compensation.

3. Distracted Driving Laws

South Carolina has laws in place to prevent distracted driving, a significant cause of pedestrian accidents. These laws include:

  • Texting While Driving: It is illegal to text while driving. Violating this law can be used as evidence of negligence in a pedestrian accident claim.
  • Hands-Free Devices: Drivers are encouraged to use hands-free devices to minimize distractions and improve road safety.

4. Speed Limits

Adhering to speed limits is essential for ensuring pedestrian safety. Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time and increases the severity of injuries in an accident. Traffic laws set specific speed limits, particularly in areas with high pedestrian activity, such as residential neighborhoods and school zones. Speeding violations can be critical evidence in establishing driver negligence.

5. DUI Laws

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and a leading cause of pedestrian accidents. South Carolina’s strict DUI laws impose severe penalties on impaired drivers, including fines, license suspension, and imprisonment. Evidence of DUI can significantly strengthen a pedestrian accident claim by demonstrating gross negligence on the part of the driver.

6. Traffic Signals and Signs

Traffic signals and signs regulate the flow of traffic and protect pedestrians:

  • Traffic Lights: Pedestrians must obey traffic light signals. Crossing against a red light can be deemed negligent behavior.
  • Stop Signs: Drivers must come to a complete stop at stop signs and yield to pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Pedestrian Signals: Pedestrians should follow dedicated pedestrian signals where available. Ignoring these signals can affect the outcome of an accident claim.

Proving Liability Using Traffic Laws

To prove liability in a pedestrian accident claim, the injured party must demonstrate that the driver violated traffic laws, leading to the accident. Key steps include:

  • Collecting Evidence: Gather evidence from the accident scene, including photographs, witness statements, and surveillance footage.
  • Police Reports: Obtain the official police report, which may document traffic law violations by the driver.
  • Traffic Citations: If the driver received a traffic citation for violating laws, this can be powerful evidence of negligence.

The Role of Comparative Negligence

South Carolina follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence. If both the pedestrian and driver share fault for the accident, the compensation may be reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to each party. A party cannot succeed if that party is over 50% at fault. Understanding traffic laws helps in accurately determining these fault percentages.

Consulting a Personal Injury Attorney

Navigating the complexities of traffic laws and their impact on pedestrian accident claims can be challenging. Consulting a personal injury attorney can provide valuable guidance and representation. An experienced attorney can:

  • Interpret relevant traffic laws.
  • Gather and present evidence effectively.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies.
  • Advocate on your behalf in court if necessary.


Understanding traffic laws is crucial in determining liability and the outcome of pedestrian accident claims. These laws help protect pedestrians and ensure that victims receive fair compensation for their injuries and damages. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s important to seek professional legal advice. Contact The Bill Connor Law Firm in Orangeburg, SC, for expert guidance and skilled representation to help you navigate your personal injury case effectively.