Car accidents are still far too common in South Carolina despite efforts to increase awareness about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving. Unfortunately, the Palmetto State is one of the most unsafe states for automobile drivers. South Carolina ranked as the third deadliest state for fatal car accidents in 2016 according to WIS News 10, averaging 20.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016. Distracted driving and driving under the influence remain two of the most common causes of a car accident.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a Myrtle Beach or Florence motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. When a driver’s negligence causes another person’s injuries, the driver is liable for the expenses related to those injuries under South Carolina law. At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, we understand the toll that suffering injuries from a car accident can take on you and your family. For over 120 years, the personal injury attorneys at our law firm have fought diligently for our clients to receive compensation for their injuries. We serve clients in Florence, Myrtle Beach, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
Common Causes of a Car Accident
If you’ve suffered an injury in a South Carolina car accident, you’ll need to prove several elements to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit. Car accident plaintiffs must prove that another driver’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in their injuries. When a driver is not focused on driving safely or engages in reckless behavior, he or she can cause car accidents. Common causes of a car accident include the following:
- Driver negligence
- Inexperienced teenage driving
- Poor highway design
- Negligent maintenance on the part of the driver
- Dangerous road conditions
- Inclement weather
Drunk Drivers Are Responsible for Many Fatalities in South Carolina
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, South Carolina ranks second in the United States for deaths caused by drunk driving. When intoxicated drivers cause car accidents, they are usually liable for the injuries of the other drivers or passengers who are involved. Police officers usually conduct breathalyzer tests or blood tests that will show a driver’s blood-alcohol levels. Drivers who operate a moving vehicle while intoxicated breach their duty to act reasonably under the circumstances and open themselves to personal injury lawsuits.
South Carolina Dram Shop Laws
Laws that govern the liability of social clubs, restaurants, and bars with respect to serving alcohol to customers are commonly referred to as dram shop laws. South Carolina does not have a Dram Shop Act like some other states; however, knowingly serving alcohol to an intoxicated person is illegal under South Carolina law. When a drunk driver causes an accident that results in another person’s injuries, the injured person can sue the establishment that knowingly served alcohol to an intoxicated person. Thus, if a drunk driver caused your injuries, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the driver and any restaurant or bar that served him alcohol.
In order to succeed against the restaurant or bar that served the drunk driver, you must be able to demonstrate that the restaurant or bar employees knew or should have known that the driver was intoxicated when they served him alcohol. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA can investigate your car accident and help you determine which parties are at fault and liable for your injuries.
Distracted Driving Causes Many South Carolina Car Accidents
Many South Carolinians have sought to increase public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Nonetheless, distracted driving remains a common cause for South Carolina motor vehicle accidents. Drivers who fail to use reasonable care when driving are liable for any injuries caused by the negligence. With the prevalence of personal electronic devices, distracted driving can take many forms, such as:
- Configuring the radio while driving
- Configuring a GPS system while driving
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Talking to passengers while driving
- Talking on a cell phone while driving
- Texting while driving
- Reading or watching videos on a device while driving
Losing focus for a mere five seconds while driving can cause a devastating car accident. If a distracted driver caused your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation.
South Carolina Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuits
If another person’s negligent driving caused the death of your loved one, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition to grieving the loss of their loved ones, families of the deceased are often slammed with expensive medical bills. According to the Centers for Disease Control, South Carolina motor vehicle fatalities cost $10 million dollars a year in medical expenses. The cost of lost wages among South Carolinians who died as a result of a car accident totaled $1.04 billion a year in 2013. South Carolina law allows the deceased’s estate administrator to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members. Successful plaintiffs are entitled to the following benefits:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of the experience, companionship, and protection of the deceased
- Compensation for the pain, mental anguish, and suffering of any surviving family members
If the driver acted recklessly or deliberately when he or she caused the car accident, the loved ones of the deceased may be entitled to additional exemplary or punitive damages. Families of the deceased have three years from their loved one’s time of death to file a wrongful death claim.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys
Successful South Carolina personal injury attorneys are entitled to several types of damages. Damages can include current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering compensation, and an amount for property damage. The lawyers at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA have helped Myrtle Beach and Florence clients in personal injury lawsuits for over 120 years. Contact our law office today to discover how we can fight for your rights under South Carolina law.