Our firm holds drunk drivers accountable!! On September 10, 2021, Robert F. Goings and Jessica L. Gooding of the Goings Law Firm, LLC won a jury verdict in the amount of $12,500,000.00 for a client involved a car collision in Columbia involving a drunk driver. The verdict comprised of $3,500,000.00 in actual damages and $9,000,000.00 in punitive damages, reflecting the egregious conduct of a drunk and intoxicated driver endangering the public. This verdict is considered the largest jury verdict in Richland County history in a non-fatality automobile collision. The client sustained $380,000 in medical bills for treatment to his right shoulder, neck, and low back caused in a rear end collision on I-77 in a work zone, including being out of work for approximately two years following the collision. Our firm has a reputation for getting results in the courtroom, and this verdict is another testament of our ability to hold drunk drivers accountable for their reckless and illegal conduct. If you or your loved ones have been injury or killed in a collision caused by a drunk driver, please call or text our law firm today at 803-350-9230 for a free, no obligation consultation.
This case was featured on the front page of The State Newspaper in South Carolina. Here is the article:
Richland County jury awards $12.5M to man in DUI crash
By: John Monk
COLUMBIA, SC: A Richland County jury awarded $12.5 million in damages to a highway worker who was severely injured on Interstate 77 in 2018 by a car driven by a man characterized during his trial as a “habitual drunken driver.”
The jury was out less than three hours and returned a verdict late Friday, said Columbia attorney Robert Goings, who represented the injured worker, Keith Bookman before State Judge Grace Knie.The $12.5 million verdict includes $3.5 million in actual damages and $9 million in punitive damages, according to court records.
In 2018, Columbia-area attorney Jason Buffkin crashed his Honda into the rear of Bookman’s truck, which was in the northbound lane of I-77 near the Garners Ferry Road exit. At the time of the crash, Bookman, 51, was part of a road crew and the truck he was driving was traveling north on the interstate at the end of a small caravan of trucks sweeping the interstate of debris from roadside construction.
The flashing message on the back of Bookman’s truck said, “Right Lane Closed,” with an arrow pointing to the left lane, Goings said.
Evidence at the four-day trial last week showed that Bookman’s medical expenses related to the crash were approximately $380,000 for surgeries to his shoulder, neck and lower back, said Goings, who tried the case with partner Jessica Gooding.
The evidence before the jury also showed that Buffkin had a blood alcohol content of .148 some four hours after the crash, Goings said.
In his final argument to jurors, Goings said he told them, “You need to return a verdict that is big enough to make it in the newspaper, to send a message to any drunk driver that is out there that drunk driving is not tolerated in Richland County — that our lives, our families’ lives are worth more than to be endangered by a reckless, careless drunk driver.”
Buffkin could not be reached for comment.
Buffkin’s attorney, Deidre Smallwood of Columbia, told The State Monday, “I am no longer involved with that” and had no further comment.
A lawsuit in the case said that between 2001-2018, Buffkin was charged with three DUIs, twice in South Carolina and once in Virginia.
In his answer to the allegations about previous DUI arrests, Buffkin’s lawsuit argued that those DUI charges “lack relevance,” were inadmissible in the trial and “not appropriate facts to be included in” this trial.
“The jury did get to hear that evidence, which showed the duration of his conduct,” Goings said Tuesday.
Steven Burritt, executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, in South Carolina, said in his experience that size of a verdict is “unprecedented.”
“I can’t recall hearing anything that large in a DUI case,” Burritt said.
“That jury took the opportunity to express just how serious this crime is, and how frustrating it is to see this kind of behavior, which puts all of us at risk.” Burritt said. “The jurors said, ‘Here’s something we can do — we can send a message.’”
Collecting a sizable judgment is always uncertain and it remains uncertain how much of the $12.5 million verdict will be received.
But, Goings said, “We plan to exhaust all avenues to collect on the verdict.”
Columbia-based Goings Law Firm, LLC, through the work of attorneys Robert Goings and Jessica Gooding, recently obtained a large verdict against a drunk driver. Our client, a South Carolina highway worker, was seriously injured in an accident caused by a habitual drunk driver in 2018. After deliberating for just three hours, the jury returned with a verdict, awarding our client a staggering $12.5 million in damages.
The $12.5 million in damages consists of $3.5 million in actual damages and $9 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for excessively reckless behavior.
Back in 2018, our client was traveling northbound on Interstate 77 as part of a caravan of construction vehicles, clearing construction debris from the highway, when a Columbia-based attorney rear-ended our client’s truck. At the time of the accident, our client’s truck actually had flashing, lighted signage on the rear of his vehicle, instructing other drivers to keep left.
Our client sustained injuries to his neck, shoulders, and lower back due to the collision, ultimately costing around $380,000 in medical expenses.
We presented evidence that demonstrated the culprit’s liability. He had a staggering BAC (blood alcohol content) of .148 around four hours after the crash. The legal limit is a BAC of .08. This same man had been charged with driving under the influence a total of three times in the past, incurring two DUI’s in South Carolina and another in Virginia. While the defendant’s attorney argued that his past convictions were irrelevant to the case at hand, Goings Law Firm, LLC established that the driver had a dangerous pattern of driving while intoxicated that ultimately led him to severely injure our client.
As part of his closing argument before the jury, Robert Goings stated, “You need to return a verdict that is big enough to make it in the newspaper, to send a message to any drunk driver that is out there that drunk driving is not tolerated in Richland County — that our lives, our families’ lives are worth more than to be endangered by a reckless, careless drunk driver.”
The size of the verdict that Goings Law Firm, LLC was able to obtain for our client was called “unprecedented” by Steven Burrit, the executive director for the South Carolina branch of MADD (Mothers Against Drinking in Driving). Of the verdict, Burrit added, “I can’t recall hearing anything that large in a DUI case. That jury took the opportunity to express just how serious this crime is, and how frustrating it is to see this kind of behavior, which puts all of us at risk.”
Robert Goings indicated that the firm would do everything in its power to ensure that their client was able to collect on the verdict.
Contact Goings Law Firm, LLC Today
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver in South Carolina, contact Goings Law Firm, LLC today. We have the experience and skills to independently investigate your claim, gather evidence to support it, and aggressively seek the compensation you deserve. With our proven track record of success, you know your case is in good hands when you hire us. Contact us today at (803) 350-9230 for a free case evaluation.
This year, Robert F. Goings of the Goings Law Firm, LLC was named to the 2021 South Carolina Top 25 of all attorney in South Carolina by Super Lawyers. This list includes the best attorneys in South Carolina. Robert F. Goings is the only attorney that practices in the area of personal injury law from Columbia or the Midlands area of South Carolina named to this highly selective and exclusive list of attorneys.
In order to be selected this list of top 25 attorneys, other attorneys that have been invited to Super Lawyer in South Carolina rank the best attorneys statewide for all practice areas. Robert was selected to the Super Lawyer Top 25 best attorney list based on nominations from other lawyers, peer review and result research, and Blue Ribbon review process. This includes peer recognition and professional achievements based on his verdicts and settlements, experience, and honors and awards within the legal profession. For Robert to be the only personal injury attorney from Columbia or the Midlands area of South Carolina is a true testament to the level of quality and skill that you receive when you hire the Goings Law Firm, LLC. It is important to hire the best and most experienced personal injury attorney if you have been involved in a serious personal injury or if a family member or loved one has died due to the negligence of others. It is important to hire a top rated personal injury attorney that is respected both in and outside the courtroom. He has been selected to Super Lawyers continuously from 2017 – 2021, and before that he was named a Rising Stars from 2013 – 2016. Click here to view Robert’s profile on Super Lawyers.
When considering an attorney for your legal needs, we believe it is important to review the Top 25 list complied by Super Lawyers. Click here to view the complete list of Top 25 Super Lawyers in South Carolina for 2021: https://www.superlawyers.com/south-carolina/toplists/top-25-2021-south-carolina-super-lawyers/eb1daa7f2b5068f7127382b1eae924b7
Our amazing workers’ compensation paralegal, Catherine Ashbridge, is a competitive cyclist. After working hard throughout the day protecting the rights of injured workers, she typically spends her evenings and weekends with friends cycling. In fact each month, she logs hundreds of miles on the roads or trails of South Carolina. Many people just like Catherine enjoy biking for pleasure but also a growing number of people commute to work or school on their bikes. More people own bicycles now than ever before, and during the current pandemic, bicycle shops even have a hard time keeping them in stock.
We want to bring greater awareness to bicycle safety. As motorists, we all should do a better job sharing the roadway with cyclists. The safety and well-being of cyclists require motorists to drive with greater care and to keep a proper outlook. Some of the leading causes of fatalities towards cyclists are involved driving distracted, looking at your phone while driving, or driving too fast in residential neighborhoods. In the last 8 years, crashes on South Carolina’s roads and highways have claimed the lives of more than 1100 pedestrians and bicyclists, making our state’s roads among the nation’s deadliest. South Carolina significantly out paces other states for bicycle related deaths per capita.
Our firm has handled many unfortunate cases involving severe and catastrophic injuries, and many times death, as a result of being struck while on a bicycle by a motorist on the roadway. We are proud to advocate for bicycle safety and protect the rights of cyclists in South Carolina. Call us today at 803-350-9230 if we can help you. 🚴🏼♀️🚵🏻♂️🥇🚨🚲🛴🚓🚧⚠️🚦🚐
In South Carolina, the law is designed to protect a person who is injured in a car or truck accident due to the negligence or fault of another. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine the type of losses that you may be able to compensated for following a collision. The purpose is to compensate a victim of property damage, injuries or losses and to put the non-fault party, as near as possible, in the same position that he or she was in before the accident occurred. The ability to recover “actual damages” is what the law permits. In other words, actual damages would be the actual losses and expenses which the plaintiff has suffered because of the at-fault driver’s negligence.
This guide explains the law in South Carolina related to the compensation you are entitled to receive following a collision. The amount of the compensation is tied to the nature, extent and severity of the injuries and damages incurred, and often times an award can be increased if the driver was drunk, impaired, or other circumstances existed other than simple negligence.
Here is a description of the general types of damages that are recoverable in South Carolina if you are a victim of a motor vehicle collision:
Damages Recoverable for Personal Injuries – Medical Bills, Lost Earnings, Pain and Suffering, Loss of Enjoyment of Life, and Mental Suffering
A person injured in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of another person can recover actual damages and expenses incurred as a result of the bodily harm. The recovery is based on two types of compensation: (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages. Economic damages are things like medical bills, lost wages, loss employment opportunities and non-economic damages would be related to pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
In determining the amount of compensation for the injuries or loss suffered as a result of a negligent driver, a determination of the amount of damages should include past, present, and future damages. Actual damages for a person who has been physically injured include: medical and healthcare charges related to the injury or expenses incurred for reasonable and necessary medical treatment; pharmacy charges and related expenses; pain and suffering; mental anguish; lost wages due to absence from work, which is the loss of time and income which resulted from the impairment of the ability to work and earn a livelihood, impairment of health or physical condition, the permanency of any injury, any permanent physical scarring; and any other losses which are reflected by the character of the injury.
The recovery of damages for a person who has been physically injured include pain and suffering — both past and future — as well as mental anguish, impairment of health or physical condition, and disfigurement. Pain and suffering compensates the injured person for physical discomfort and emotional response to the sensation of pain caused by the injury itself. There is no definite standard by which to compensate the plaintiff for pain and suffering.
Similar to pain and suffering, but separate, is recovery of loss of enjoyment of life. Loss of enjoyment of life damages are designed to compensate for limitations on the ability to participate in, and derive pleasure from, the normal activities of daily life. In determining the amount of compensation for personal injuries, it is proper to consider past and present aspects of the injury. This would include physical and mental pain and suffering, expenses incurred for necessary medical treatment, loss of time and income which resulted from the impairment of the ability to work and earn a livelihood, the loss of enjoyment of life suffered as a result of the injury, and any other losses which are reflected by the character of the injury.
Very closely associated with pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life is recovery for mental anguish. Mental anguish includes: mental suffering, apprehension, shock, fright, emotional upset, stress, humiliation and anxiety, and can be properly considered as an element of damages.
The amount of damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental suffering cannot be exactly measured and is often left to the judge or jury hearing the facts of the case.
The injured party may recover for those future damages that are reasonably sure to result from the injuries. The principle underlying compensation for future damages is that only one action can be brought and, therefore, only one recovery had. It is proper to include in the estimate of future damages compensation for loss of capacity for work or attention to the plaintiff’s ordinary business, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering which will, with reasonable certainty, result.
Vehicle Property Damage – Repair or Value of Vehicle
The amount of damages to a motor vehicle is the difference between the value of the vehicle immediately before it was struck and the value of the vehicle immediately after it was struck. If repairing the vehicle would put it in as good a condition as before the accident, then the measure of damages would be the cost of repair plus any amount by which the value of the vehicle was decreased due to its involvement in a collision. This is also called depreciation.
If the vehicle cannot be repaired, the measure of damages would be the value of the vehicle immediately before it was struck, minus any salvage value. This is referred to as “fair market value.”
Fair market value is not determined by how much you paid for the car or your emotional attachment to it. Fair market value is simply the amount of money a person would pay you to take ownership of the car. Unfortunately, the money that you can receive for a totaled vehicle is not what you may owe on the vehicle or what you think the value of the vehicle should be, but based on the market value of the vehicle of similar make, model, and condition.
Under South Carolina law, any vehicle that has a loss of 75% or more of the fair market value must be declared a total loss. Insurance companies can choose to declare a vehicle a total loss if it has sustained less than 75% of the fair market value or if the fair market value of the vehicle was less than $2000. Vehicles declared a total loss will be marked as “salvage” unless at least one of the following is true about the vehicle: (a) it is marked “non-rebuildable”; (b) it has been damaged less than 75% and has not sustained water or fire damage; (c) the value of the vehicle is less than $2,000; or (d) it has been titled as an antique vehicle.
Loss of Use of a Motor Vehicle
A victim of a motor vehicle collision also may be entitled to recover for the loss of the use of a vehicle during the time that the plaintiff was unable to use it. Actual damages for this purpose may be measured by determining what it would have cost the plaintiff to rent a similar vehicle while the plaintiff’s own vehicle was being repaired. In some situations, damages for loss of use of a vehicle may be awarded even if the plaintiff did not rent a car and even if the plaintiff borrowed a car. However, the plaintiff is required to make all reasonable efforts to minimize the damages, which is referred to as “mitigation of damages.”
Punitive damages are sometimes available to a victim of a motor vehicle collision. Punitive damages are only reserved for cases where the negligence driver was driving recklessly, under the influence, or operating with a conscious disregard for the safety of others. Often times a court can consider awarding punitive damage if an at-fault driver violates a specific safety statute found in the South Carolina Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways, as contained in S.C. Code 1976, § 56-5-10 et seq., such as running a red light or disregard of traffic signs. As discussed below, punitive damages can be the hardest to prove so this remedy is not available in most everyday collisions.
Punitive damages are different from actual damages and are not the same as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are intended to punish at-fault for extraordinary and outrageous misconduct and to prevent the at-fault driver and others from committing similar acts in the future. Punitive damages can only be awarded when conduct of the at-fault driver has been something more than mere negligence. The evidence must establish the acts or omissions giving rise to the collision were grossly negligence, reckless, or willful and wanton, meaning there was a conscious failure to exercise due care or a conscious indifference to the rights and safety of others or a reckless disregard thereof.
To support an award of punitive damages, the court requires proof by clear and convincing evidence that the conduct complained of included a consciousness of wrongdoing at the time of the conduct. Clear and convincing is more than just a preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence, which requires only proof which persuades you that a party’s claim is more likely true than not true. On the other hand, clear and convincing proof is not as high a standard as the burden of proof in criminal cases, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Clear and convincing proof leaves no substantial doubt in your mind. It means that the evidence is not ambiguous, doubtful, equivocal or contradictory. Convincing means persuading by proof or argument, causing one to believe in the truth of what is asserted. Clear and convincing proof establishes in your mind, not only that the fact is probable, but that it is highly probable. An punitive damage award imposed should take into account (1) the defendant’s degree of culpability; (2) the duration of the conduct; (3) the defendant’s awareness or concealment; (4) the existence of similar past conduct; (5) the likelihood the award will deter the defendant or others from like conduct; (6) whether the award is reasonably related to the harm likely to result from such conduct; (7) the reprehensibility of the conduct, the harm caused, (8) the defendant’s awareness of the conduct’s wrongfulness, (9) and any concealment. Thus, any penalty imposed should bear a relationship to the nature and extent of the conduct and the harm caused, including the compensatory damage award. Secondly, any penalty imposed should take into account, as a mitigating factor, any other penalty that may have been imposed or which may be imposed for the conduct involved, including any criminal or civil penalty or any other punitive damages award arising out of the same conduct.
Without a doubt the best way to fully recover financially for injuries sustained by a drunk driver is to hire the best attorney you can find and not talk with the insurance company representative or adjuster without legal representation. Our firm has the experience and reputation in South Carolina of fighting against drunk and impaired drivers. Our firm works with M.A.D.D of South Carolina (Mothers’ Against Drunk Driving) to ensure that impaired drivers, and those that enable the intoxicated motorists, are punished financially for the injuries and harm that they cause to innocent victims of these crimes.
Injuries Caused by Drunk Drivers Require an Attorney Who Can Secure the Evidence Before it Gets Destroyed.
If you or a member of your family were involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by a drunk or impaired driver, it is important to contact an experienced and respected personal injury attorney without delay. A collision that is caused by drunk or intoxicated drivers can be much more complex, both factually and legally, than an ordinary automobile collision. It is important to not delay in hiring an experienced attorney to ensure that critical evidence is obtained and a thorough investigation is performed prior to important evidence being destroyed or not preserved. In certain cases involving intoxicated drivers, our firm will obtain a full accident reconstruction and hire experts (such as private toxicologists) to prove, as required by law, that there amount of alcohol or drugs consumed would resulted in appreciable impairment of the ability to safely drive. The evidence that needs to be obtained includes evidence related to the types and amount of alcohol or drugs consumed, surveillance videos, police body camera footage, patrol car footage, social media, credit card receipts, and cell phone data. You should never rely on the police or law enforcement to correctly gather this information. Further, it is important to hire an attorney to assist the police and the prosecutor’s office in providing correct victim impact evidence that may be used to prosecute the drunk driver in criminal court.
You May be Entitled to Punitive Damages against a Drunk Driver
Another reason you need a lawyer to help recover for injuries sustained by a drunk driver is the availability of punitive damages. Punitive damages are not the same as money for pain and suffering. Punitive damages are different than pain and suffering, and can result in a high settlement or judgment in your favor. If you have been hit by a drunk driver, the insurance company will most likely attempt an early settlement with you to avoid paying the full amount of damages you are owed, including punitive damages. One of the reasons the insurance adjuster will try to act early to settle a claim involving a drunk driver is because of punitive damages. The insurance adjuster does not want you to learn about your ability to obtain extra compensation in the form of punitive damages. Our firm has as track records of pursuing and winning settlements and judgments against the drunk driver and the insurance company for punitive damages.
Punitive damages are typically available for recovery against a drunk driver if your case is handled correctly. Punitive damages are reserved for cases in which the at-fault driver’s conduct was particularly reprehensible. A court may impose punitive damages when the at-fault driver is acting recklessly or driving while intoxicated which is considered a conscious disregard for the safety of others. There are many factors that are considered in determined the amount of punitive damages, which include:
- The severity of the injuries the victim sustained;
- The degree of reprehensibility of the action which caused the injury;
- The comparative negligence of the injured party (the extent to which the injured party contributed to the accident);
- The ability of the defendant to pay punitive damages.
In order to be awarded punitive damages, an injured party must be able to prove reckless, willful, or wanton conduct by clear and convincing evidence. In South Carolina, the General Assembly as placed limits on the amount of damage awards. If a jury finds that punitive damages are appropriate, it can award an amount up to three (3) times the amount awarded during the compensatory damages determination, or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, these limits or “caps” on punitive damages will be removed entirely if “the defendant acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, other than lawfully prescribed drugs administered in accordance with a prescription, or any intentionally consumed glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the degree that the defendant’s judgment is substantially impaired.” This “alcohol exception” to the punitive damages cap can result in a large award of punitive damages against a drunk driver.
Drunk Drivers Kill and Severely Injury Innocent People – The Statistics Are Alarming!
Drunk drivers inflict great harm on people in our society and the statistics are alarming. In 2018, there were 10,511 deaths alone from drunk-driving crashes, and 29% of all traffic fatalities were caused directly by drunk or impaired driving as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is an average of 1 alcohol-impaired driving death every 50 minutes. Sadly, 231 of the deaths from drunk drivers were children ages 14 and under. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018 was 3.4 times higher at night than during the day.n 2018 among the 10,511 alcohol-impaired- driving fatalities, 67 percent (7,051) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher. Also, 87 percent of alcohol related driving deaths or injuries occurred on non-interstate roads compared to 13 percent on interstate roads, and 56 percent occurred in urban areas whereas 44 percent occurred in rural areas.
The estimated economic cost of all alcohol-impaired crashes (involving alcohol-impaired drivers or alcohol-impaired non-occupants) in the United States in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $44 billion. Included in the economic costs are: lost productivity, workplace losses, legal and court expenses, medical costs, emergency medical services, insurance administration, congestion, and property damage. These costs represent the tangible losses that result from motor vehicle traffic crashes. However, in cases of serious injury or death, such costs fail to capture the relatively intangible value of lost quality of life that results from these injuries. When quality of life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2010 was an estimated $836 billion, of which $201.1 billion resulted from alcohol-impaired crashes.
Hire an Experienced South Carolina Attorney with the Reputation and Skill of Fighting Against Drunk Drivers
At the Goings Law Firm, we stand up for victims who were injured because of a drunk or impaired driver. Let us stand up and fight for you. Making drunk drivers pay are what we are known in South Carolina, so allow us to put our experience and reputation to work for you today. We have a 5 Star rating from our clients, and our firm has been considered one of the most recognized firms in South Carolina in the fields of personal injury and wrongful death as featured in Best Lawyer, Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and many other publications that rate attorneys. Call or text us at (803) 350-9230 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights.
As you enjoy the last day of 2019, make sure you’re being safe this is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year in South Carolina and throughout the nation. In fact, South Carolina ranks as the third most dangerous state based on highest crash rates based on the number of licensed drivers.
According to nationwide statistics from AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the odds of getting in a car accident on New Year’s Eve skyrockets because there are more drunk drivers on the road. New Year’s driving statistics from SafeAuto.com show that between 2008 and 2012, January 1st had the highest percentage of alcohol related deaths when compared to other days and holidays. During the holidays, more drivers are alcohol impaired because so many people are going to holiday parties, and drinking alcohol in excessive amounts.
Here are some statistics to keep this New Year’s Eve:
- The five states with the highest crash rates (most dangerous states) were: (1) Mississippi; (2) Oklahoma; (3) South Carolina; (4) Wyoming; (5) Texas
- During the Christmas and New Year’s period last year, there were 285 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in the United States.
- January 1st is the day of the year with the highest percent of deaths related to alcohol from 2008-12.
- Across the country, 36 people, on average, were killed every day in crashes involving alcohol between 2001 and 2005.
- DUI arrests peak between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
- Between Christmas and New Year’s, 40 percent of deadly crashes involve drunk drivers.
- More pedestrians are killed on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year.
- The hours between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. are the most dangerous during the New Year’s holiday.
Five Years of Fatal Crashes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in South Carolina
The reported crash rates in South Carolina for the last 5 years on New Years Eve and New Year’s Day is 1.25 crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers. The statistics are as follows:
- 50 Motor Vehicle Collisions in South Carolina that involve fatalities.
- 19 Motor Vehicle Collisions in South Carolina that involve fatalities caused by drunk drivers.
Have you been injured due to a Drunk Driver on New Year’s Day?
If you or a member of your family has been injured as a result of the reckless or drunk driving of someone on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, please contact the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Goings Law Firm today to learn about your rights to financial compensation. We have the experience to fight against drunk drivers to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation. We vigorously pursue legal action against the impaired drivers, and the bars, restaurants, and party hosts that over serve them. Call or text us today at (803) 350-9230 for a free, no obligation consultation.
DISCLAIMER: We are not “BILLBOARD LAWYERS” or “TV LAWYERS”. We are real lawyers that go to court to fight for truth and justice!
A high percentage of serious roadway collisions and fatalities in South Carolina occur on the Interstates. The old saying from the South Carolina Department of Transportation is that roads “can be highways or dieways, the choice is yours.” The only way to prevent collisions and fatalities is to should enforce traffic laws, engineer safer roads and educate drivers of their duties and responsibility behind the wheel.
Several major Interstate roads run through South Carolina, including I-85, I-20, I-95, and I-26. The reason that a high number of serious injuries and fatalities occur on these Interstate highways is due to a combination of heavily traveled and congested roadways, large commercial trucks, and multiple lanes and and motorists are traveling at high speeds. To make matters worse, many of the Interstate highways and bridges in South Carolina are poorly maintained and need immediate repairs. The deteriorating conditions of the roadways are simply not safe for many drivers. The roads and highways of our neighboring states, North Carolina and Georgia, are much safer. Fortunately, in the last several years, the the State of South Carolina has begun much needed road construction to these Interstates. While construction efforts are ongoing, this also leads to more collisions due to the inherit dangerous of driving through construction zones.
Traffic Collision Statistics in South Carolina
- 141,00o+ traffic collisions in South Carolina in 2017
- Greenville and Charleston Counties had the highest amount of traffic collisions in 2017, totaling 34,000 collisions
- About 39,000 collisions resulted in injuries
- About 925 results in fatalities
- On average 1 traffic collision every 3 minutes
- Most collisions occur between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm
- Most fatal collision occur between 9:00 pm and midnight
- 1 person injured every 8.7 minutes
- 1 fatality every 9.5 hours
- One person killed in a DUI .08+ Collision every 28 hours
- One Unrestrained Vehicle Occupant killed every 27.5 hours
- One Bicyclist killed every 21.5 days
- One Motorcyclist killed every 3.1 days
- One Pedestrian killed every 2.3 days
- One Child Under 6 seriously injured or killed every 9.4 days
- Traffic collisions cost South Carolina citizens more than $4.5 billion in economic loss
Primary Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in South Carolina:
- Failure to yield right of way
- Improper lane usage
- Failure to maintain distance from other vehicles
- Distracted driving
- Driving Impaired or Intoxicated
We Help Injured Drivers in South Carolina
The Goings Law Firm, LLC is a South Carolina law firm dedicated to helping people who were injured in motor vehicle collisions caused by the negligence and reckless driving of others on the roadway. Don’t confuse us with as one of those advertising lawyers on TV. You will not find us on TV. We are Real Lawyers who work hard to obtain Real Results. Instead of making cartoons on TV, we are in court working hard to get the best possible financial outcome for our clients.
The Goings Law Firm, LLC is a highly-rated law firm featured in publications such as Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. Robert Goings was recently named the Top Personal Injury trial attorney in the Midlands of South Carolina in a recent best attorney review publication. Many of the cases we handle involve large commercial trucks and eighteen wheelers that cause large collisions on the Interstate. We aggressively fight against the trucking industry from allowing unsafe drivers to violate federal and state motor carrier safety laws. Because of our track record of success obtaining large settlements and verdicts for our clients, we are often called to handle cases throughout the entire state in cases involving major collisions that result in serious injury and death.
If you were injured or family member or loved one has suffered a fatality from a car accident or truck accident in South Carolina, contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230 to find out about your legal rights. We are aggressive, yet compassionate. We will ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve though a personal injury or wrongful death legal action.
Tragedy can happen unexpectedly on our highways everyday. Unfortunately, a gentleman named Calvin Casson of Columbia was killed on Monday, April 15, 2019 when when a tractor trailer truck collided head with him on Fernandina Road in Lexington County, South Carolina. According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, a pickup truck driven by Casson was traveling east on Fernandina Road just after 7:00 p.m. when a large tractor trailer truck on I-26 went off the right side of the road, made its way through a fence, and collided head-on with the Mr. Casson’s truck. After striking Mr. Casson’s truck, drove into a Dick Smith car dealership on Fernandina Road, hitting parked cars. The first responders reported that Mr. Casson became entrapped in his vehicle and died on the scene. He was 51 years old. The driver of the tractor-trailer suffered minor injuries.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Casson. Dealing with the loss of a family member from a collision is an unspeakable tragedy. While the cause of this collision is still under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol, our firm knows that often times these collisions are preventable if drivers of large commercial vehicles would follows the safety laws enacted to protect other motorists. When traffic laws are violated, innocent people can be killed.
At the Goings Law Firm, it is our mission to ensure that families of loved ones who are killed on our roadways are fully compensated for the loss of their family member. While no lawsuit against a tractor trailer company or its driver can fully bring back what was lost, our job is to leave the family in a better place that we found them. A wrongful death case can provide monetary relief to a grieving family. Wrongful death actions are designed to compensate for the current and the future financial and emotional costs to the deceased’s family. These damages include the following:
- Medical bills and funeral costs
- Lost wages, including future earnings
- Lost benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of support or companionship
- Funeral expenses (unless these are recovered through a survival action)
- Punitive damage (for willful, wanton, reckless, or intentional conduct)
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Tractor Trailer Drivers
South Carolina’s wrongful death statute, S.C. Code Section 15-51-10 through 60, allows a lawsuit to be brought on behalf of the deceased’s spouse and children when a family member has died due to the deliberate, reckless, or negligent actions of another. If there is no spouse or children, then the lawsuit is for the benefit of the deceased person’s parents. If there is no spouse, children or parents, then the lawsuit is for the benefit of the deceased person’s heirs (heirs are persons who are legally entitled to inherit property from the deceased). Under South Carolina law, the wrongful death action must be brought by (or in the name of) the executor or the administrator of the deceased person. An administrator or executor is a person or an institution that carries out the terms of a deceased’s will or, if there’s no will, distributes the deceased’s property according to South Carolina’s probate laws.
Lawyers for Wrongful Death in Columbia, South Carolina
If you need a wrongful death lawyer in South Carolina, please contact our office to assist you and your family. We can help you to with the wrongful death process to ensure that you and your family receive the compensation that you deserved. It does not cost you anything for a consultation to learn about your rights under the law.
One of the types of cases the Goings Law Firm handles the most involves drunk driving car collisions. We are offended by drunk drivers, and we fight hard to make sure those intoxicated drivers stay off the road. We demand that drunk drivers pay our clients a lot of money for the harm they cause.
Injuries caused by drunk driving are often times result in civil lawsuits. Drunk drivers can face serious criminal charges, with penalties including suspend licenses, fines, and jail time, but in order for you to be compensated for your injuries or the death of a family member, you will need to bring a civil claim. Because of the egregious nature of alcohol related collision, juries can award large verdicts to punish and deter the drunk driver from doing this again to others. Because of this, the most important thing you can do if you were hit by an intoxicated drive is call an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney. In order to be fully compensated from a DUI collision, an aggressive team of attorneys with the Goings Law Firm will answer all of your questions.
Our firm take an aggressive approach to prosecuting the drunk driver in civil court for the needless harm that they cause our clients. In the legal profession, our firm is best known for fighting against drunk drivers. Drunk drivers kill. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States are killed in drunk-driving crashes—that’s one person every 48 minutes. South Carolina ranks as the 2nd worst in DUI related fatalities in the nation based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drunk drivers also cause serious bodily injury. We understand the devastating effects that drunk drivers can cause and that is why we are one of South Carolina’s leading litigation firms aimed at protecting injury victims that result from DUIs or other alcohol related collision. Because the actions of the drunk driver are illegal and reckless, we believe that you should be paid much more. We fight drunk driving cases hard so you receive the best results in not only fully recovering all for your medical expenses, disability, pain and suffering, but also “punitive damages” design to punish and deter this reckless conduct.
The Case Against the Drunk Driver
The legal claims against the drunk driver is based on negligence and violations of statutory laws that prohibit impaired or intoxicated driving. In South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in South Carolina with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. Often times the drunk driver will refuse to take a breathalyzer test or provide a blood sample to legally establish blood alcohol content when they are arrested. The failure to administer these tests does not prevent our firm from proving the driver was drunk. Even in these cases, we have the tools to find the evidence to prove that the drunk driver was intoxicated through assembling strong fact and expert witnesses to testify against the driver. Also, under the rules of civil discovery, we routinely subpoena phone records, bank records, medical records, and other relevant documents of the at-fault driver that would aid in proving that the driver was drunk. We will also put the driver under oath in a deposition or a court proceeding. If the driver pleas the Fifth Amendment in the deposition, we ask the court to give an ‘adverse inference’ that if the driver did answer the question he would admit that he was intoxicated. We will fight to ensure that you get the full amount of recovery against the drunk driver.
The Case Against Who Illegally Served Alcohol to the Drunk Driver
The efforts of our firm to collect money for our clients does not stop with the intoxicated driver. We investigate thoroughly to determine who served alcohol to the driver or those that enabled the illegal conduct prior to the driver getting behind the wheel. The State of South Carolina allows you to file a civil case against the private host who provided alcohol to an underage or obviously intoxicated guest. This state has laws in order to discourage serving alcohol to already drunk guests and to hold party hosts accountable if their intoxicated guests leave and cause an accident. We pursue claims against the party host, and regularly bring legal claims against the convenient stores, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and businesses that may have illegally served alcohol to them as permitted under South Carolina’s dram shop and alcohol liability laws.
The Case Against the Owner of the Vehicle
Additionally, we will explore if a “negligent entrustment” claim exists against the owner of the vehicle. If the drunk driver is operating a vehicle he does not own, you may have the option to sue the vehicle owner for negligent entrustment. In the past, we often successfully argued that if the owner gave the drunk person the keys to their vehicle, it is likely that they were aware of the intoxication and unable to drive. If a negligent entrustment claim is successfully proven, the vehicle’s owner is also liable for the vehicle accident.
Workers Compensation Claim if the Drunk Driver Hits You On the Job
Another consideration is whether workers’ compensation applies. If you were hit by a drunk driver while working or on the job, then you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Many of the DUI related collisions that we handle involve a workers’ compensation claim because the collision occurred while driving for work. The workers’ compensation carrier would have a “lien” on any civil court recovery but it is important to handle these cases through an experienced attorney so that you do not waive any rights to recovery. Because the Goings Law Firm handles both workers compensation and civil litigation claims, so we have the knowledge and expertise to successfully manage both cases in order to maximize your total recovery.
Contact an Highly Rated Drunk Driving Injury Attorney in South Carolina
The best advice is to contact today a highly-rated law firm that handles DUI injury and wrongful deaths to request a free consultation. Our proven track record of success in South Carolina against drunk drivers is what we are known for. The Goings Law Firm has the reputation of representing victims of serious injuries or deaths throughout South Carolina, and is ready to help you get the answers you deserve and the compensation you are entitled to receive. It is important to contact our firm before you speak with an insurance company or provide a statement to an insurance adjuster. Even if the insurance company representative tells you that you that your claim will be processed, it is our experience that you may not get the benefits that you are entitled to receive without the best legal representation. In order to be fully compensated from a DUI collision, contact an aggressive team of attorneys with the Goings Law Firm, LLC will help you today. Call us at (803) 350-9230 for a free, no obligation, consultation.