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.
What are the Alcohol Liability and Dram Shop Laws in South Carolina?
The alcohol liability and dram shop laws in South Carolina can protect victims of alcohol related injury or death. Alcohol has proven to be a lead factor in the cause of injuries and deaths on the highways of South Carolina. South Carolina currently ranks 2nd for the most DUI fatalities per capita in the United States. In recovering for our clients, we do not stop with the drunk driver. We pursue those that cause and enable the drunk driver.
The Goings Law Firm regularly sues restaurants and bar owners, social clubs, and individuals in cases arising from accidents involving the service of alcohol to intoxicated persons and minors. Dram Shop laws are intended to prevent restaurants, bars, and clubs from serving alcohol to minors and serving alcohol to intoxicated persons. If a restaurant, bar, or club violates such Dram Shop laws and someone is injured as a result, the establishment can be held responsible for the injuries. Our attorneys are well versed in these laws and experienced in representing both injured victims involving the sale and service of alcohol.
South Carolina has specific statutory and common law that governs the liability of restaurants, bars, social clubs and even individual people (social hosts) with respect to the service of alcohol under certain situations. These laws govern what is known as dram shop liability, tavern owner liability, liquor liability and social host liability, and they may allow an injured party to hold a restaurant, bar, club, or individual responsible for injuries or death caused by the service of alcohol.
While South Carolina does not have a “Dram Shop Act,” it is illegal in South Carolina to “knowingly” serve alcohol to any person who is intoxicated. To pursue a Dram Shop action, the injured party must apply the criminal statutes governing alcohol control (S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580) and demonstrate that an establishment knowingly served alcohol to an intoxicated person. If the injured party can establish that a restaurant or a bar knew or should have known that it was serving an intoxicated person, whether by signs of visible intoxication or based upon the type, number and time period over which the customer consumed alcoholic drinks, that restaurant or bar is liable for the resulting injuries and damages proximately caused by the drunk driver. Additionally, if a restaurant or bar knew or should have known an alcohol purchaser is under 21 years of age, then that restaurant or bar could be liable if the purchaser’s intoxication caused an injury. Similarly, an adult social host who knowingly serves, or causes to be served, an alcoholic beverage to a person he knows or reasonably should know is between the ages of 18 and 20 is liable to the person served and to any other persons for damages proximately resulting from the host’s service of alcohol.
In a recent case, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a $10 million verdict against The Getaway Lounge & Grill and its owners. See Hartfield v. The Getaway Lounge & Grill, Inc., 388 S.C. 407 (2010). The case involved a customer who spent a night visiting a number of bars, including The Getaway, before getting into a motor vehicle collision, which killed the customer and seriously injured the driver of the other vehicle. One of the owners of The Getaway testified that the customer did not appear intoxicated while he was there. Fluid samples taken from the customer’s body indicated that his blood alcohol content (“BAC”) was .212. At trial, a forensic chemistry expert, using a method known as “retrograde extrapolation,” estimated that his BAC when he left The Getaway must have been between .18 and .20 and that, therefore, “he would have been grossly intoxicated and exhibiting symptoms of intoxication.” The Court stated that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to support the forensic chemist’s expert testimony. Notably, the Court also held that a customer need not be “visibly intoxicated” for the imposition of dram shop liability; rather, “knowledge” of intoxication may be acquired through different mediums. The complexities of the Getaway case demonstrate that it is critical to retain an attorney with experience and knowledge in the area of dram shop litigation.
Dram shop liability is a specialized area of law, both from a practical and a legal perspective. Dram shop cases are often fact-intensive and require extensive resources and experts to prove the elements of the case. Dram shop cases often turn on the issue of liability, making the timely collection and analysis of police reports, receipts, video, social media, and eye witness statements crucial. Dram shop claims involve unique aspects of the law as well. For example, South Carolina’s modified joint and several liability system does not apply to conduct involving the use, sale, or possession of alcohol. This has significant consequences in multi-defendant litigation, resulting in the ability to collect 100% of the damages awarded from a restaurant or bar that is found just 1% liable. Also, there is no cap on punitive damages under for negligence based on alcohol liability. Thus, having an attorney experienced in dram shop litigation is crucial to both bringing and defending these claims.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver and you believe a bar or restaurant may be responsible, call us today at 803-350-9230 or contact us online for a free consultation today,
If you are involved in a car and truck accident in South Carolina in which alcohol was involved, multiple parties may be held liable for the damages and injuries that were caused in the alcohol related collision. The obvious liable party is the intoxicated driver, as the at-fault for the accident. In South Carolina however, the injured party may also have a claim against the establishment (bar, restaurant, tavern, convenience store, etc.) that served the driver alcohol prior to the accident under a theory called “dram shop” law.
Although not recognized by statute in South Carolina, dram shop claims have evolved throughout the years by South Carolina Supreme Court decisions. In particular, the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled in, that a bar can be held liable for injuries an intoxicated patron causes if the bar violated South Carolina state law by over serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated customer . A “visibly intoxicated” adult is one who a reasonable person knew or should have known the adult was intoxicated, often in light of the person’s behaviors or a blood-alcohol test.
While South Carolina courts recognize the liability of establishments who over-serve their patrons, there previously had been no requirement for establishments to insure themselves for alcohol-related incidents. Due to this lack of mandated risk mitigation, injured persons were often left without proper means to recover expenses incurred from injuries caused by intoxicated individuals, such as medical bills or lost wages. Essentially, bars and restaurants were allowed to over-serve patrons without adequately insuring themselves in the event any of their intoxicated patrons drove drunk or assaulted someone.
One of the problems is purusing a lawsuit against a bar has been the lack of ability to meaningfully recover against the establishment. However, in 2017, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a new law requiring establishments licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption after 5:00 P.M. to maintain liquor liability insurance of at least $1 million. The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2017, applies to both new applicants for liquor permits and licenses, as well as those renewing permits or licenses. This law creates an avenue for an injured person to recover from a bar or restaurant that allows a patron to get drunk or overly intoxicated.
The Goings Law Firm has many years of experience holding these alcohol permit holders legally responsible when allow a patron to get drunk and then drive on our roads endangering innocent lives. We are Real Lawyers who know how to get Real Results for DUI related injuries and deaths. Contact an experienced dram shop and alcohol liability attorney at the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230.
Alcohol impairment is one of the leading causes of traffic collisions. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 48 minutes in 2017. Based on the legal definition of impaired driving, alcohol-impaired crashes are those that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or above.
According to NHTSA 10,874 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2017. Alcohol-impaired crash fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all crash fatalities. Unfortunately, the DUI arrest rate is much lower. Statistics show that with nearly a million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence compared to the 111 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving that same year.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a DUI crash, you may be wondering what legal action you can take. Depending on the specifics of the case, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
WHAT IS A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
Wrongful death laws allow survivors to pursue monetary compensation for those whose negligence or intentional act of harm caused a loved one’s death. Each state has its own wrongful death statute which governs how a wrongful death action is brought, the types of civil damages that are recoverable, and which family members are allowed to receive compensation. In South Carolina, a wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, except the estate of the deceased person steps in to seek compensation on their behalf. The wrongful death action can only be brought by a person that is determined by the court to be the “personal representative.” So, not just any family members of the deceased to file the claim.
HOW STATE LAWS AFFECT DAMAGES
Though many DUI crashes result in criminal charges, some do not. If your loved one was killed in a drug or alcohol related collision, and the driver was not charged by the police, you still may be able to file a wrongful death claim in civil court.
South Carolina law also affect how damages are handled. Because a wrongful death case is a civil claim, liability comes in the form of damages, rather than punishment by imprisonment or other penalties that can be decided in a criminal case. South Carolina law the recovery of “compensatory damages, which includes the following:
- Pecuniary Loss – the loss of the deceased’s ability to earn money in which the beneficiary might logically and reasonable have been expected to share, such as money for the care and protection of the deceased’s spouse and children and for the education and training of the deceased’s children. Where the relationship of husband and wife or parent and child exists, pecuniary loss will be presumed.
- Mental Shock and Suffering.
- Wounded Feelings.
- Grief and Sorrow.
- Loss of Companionship.
- Loss of the use and comfort of the deceased’s society, including the loss of the deceased’s experience, knowledge, and judgment in managing the affairs of the deceased and his or her beneficiaries.
- medical and funeral expenses
In cases involving a drunk or impaired driver, South Carolina law may also permit punitive damages, which are designed the punish a defendant who’s found negligent and deter similar negligent actions in future.
WHEN TO FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT
When a loved one dies in an alcohol-related crash, family members are often left stunned and unsure where to turn for help. Seeking legal advice immediately following the accident is advised, as evidence can be collected and eyewitnesses can be contacted. Memories get fuzzy, damages get repaired and the chance of video or photographic evidence being deleted or lost rises as time passes. Acting quickly is the best way to ensure as much evidence as possible is collected. You should never delay in determining your legal rights.
It is important to know that each state has a unique statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the legal principle that sets a time limit for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In South Carolina, a case generally must be filed within three (3) years of the date of the collision. In certain situations, this statute of limitations may be shortened to two (2) years if for some reason the case is governed by the S.C. Tort Claims Act. It is important to understand that if you fail to bring the case within the applicable statute of limitations period, you will forfeit your rights to assert any action.
LEGAL HELP FOR WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, it’s wise to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can answer any questions you have about your case.
The attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC have represented many families who have lost loved ones in tragic accidents. Our team understands the importance of working quickly to gather evidence that can be used to help us fight for the justice you deserve. We have extensive experience representing the families of victims and other wrongful death claims in Alabama.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone getting behind the wheel when they were intoxicated or otherwise acting irresponsibly, call (803) 350-9230 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.
South Carolina Ranks #2 Worst Drivers in United States as a Result of Drunk Driving Statistics
Car crashes are a leading cause of death in the US and were expected to cause around 40,000 deaths by the end of 2018.
To put it plainly, America’s roads are dangerous. Texting behind the wheel is a major reason for many traffic fatalities, and it’s only getting worse. In 2016, 3,450 people were killed by distracted driving. Plus, cheap gas and a strong economy means America’s 222 million licensed drivers are driving more than ever. More people on the road leads to more accidents and citations.
South Carolina was ranked No. 2 on QuoteWizard’s list for “Best and Worst Drivers” across the United States. Last year, the State of South Carolina came in at No. 4, but an increase in DUIs brought it up in the rankings. Nearly half of all fatal crashes in South Carolina are because of drunk driving, according to the study. Drivers can blame an increase in DUIs for the jump from last year’s rank as the fourth worst drivers to the second worst drivers this year.
However, South Carolina didn’t nab the top spot when it comes to bad drivers — that was Maine; with Nebraska, California and North Dakota rounding out the Top 5.
Rankings for this study by QuoteWizard was determined by accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations and fatalities in each state throughout the year.
The Goings Law Firm is committed to fighting drunk drivers in Court for the harm their cause to innocent people on the roads. We have been awarded large verdicts and settlements for our clients against drunk drivers, and if you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call us today at (803) 350-9230 for a Free Consultation to see if we can help you.
South Carolina ranks as the 2nd worst in DUI related fatalities in the nation based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Drunk drivers kill innocent people, or result in serious injuries that have devastating effects on families. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in South Carolina with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. In fact, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have by law set a threshold making it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher. In 2017 there were 10,874 people killed in alcohol-impaired- driving crashes, an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 48 minutes. These alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2017. Of the 10,874 people who died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2017, there were 6,618 drivers (61%) who had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. The remaining fatalities consisted of 3,075 motor vehicle occupants (28%) and 1,181 nonoccupants (11%).
- In 2017 there were 10,874 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher. This totaled 29 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year. (Note: It is illegal in every State to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.)
- An average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2017.
- The estimated economic cost of all alcohol-impaired crashes (involving alcohol-impaired drivers or alcohol- impaired nonoccupants) in the United States in 2010 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $44 billion.
- Of the traffic fatalities in 2017 among chil- dren 14 and younger, 19 percent occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.
- The 21- to 24-year-old age group had the highest percentage (27%) of drivers with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes compared to other age groups in 2017.
- The percentage of drivers with BACs
of .08 g/dL or higher in fatal crashes in 2017 was highest for fatalities involving motorcycle riders (27%), comparedto passenger cars (21%), light trucks (20%), and large trucks (3%).
- The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2017 was 3.6 times higher at night than during the day.
- In 2017 among the 10,874 alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities, 68 percent (7,368) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher.
There is some good new too — Fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes decreased by 1.1 percent (10,996 to 10,874 fatalities) from 2016 to 2017. Alcohol- impaired-driving fatalities in the past 10 years have declined by 7 percent from 11,711 in 2008 to 10,874 in 2017. The national rate of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 was 0.34 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), down from 0.35 in 2016. The alcohol-impaired-driving fatality rate in the past 10 years has declined by 13 percent, from 0.39 in 2008 to 0.34 in 2017. At the Goings Law Firm, we believe that one DUI related fatality is one too many. Drinking and driving have consequences, and it’s our mission to make sure at the drunk driver pays for the injuries and harm they inflict on the innocent. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk driver related motor vehicle crash, call us today for a free, no obligation, consultation– the number is 803-350-9230.
Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, November). Alcohol- impaired driving: 2017 data (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 812 630). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
New Year’s Eve rings in more than the dawn of a new year—it’s also one of the deadliest nights on our nation’s roads. It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, but one too many toasts before getting behind the wheel can turn revelry into tragedy.
South Carolina ranks second highest for DUI deaths amid New Year’s Eve based on a Study from Safewise.com. South Carolina’s statistics show that 6.22 per 100,000 people due to Impaired Driving. This is the second highest in the nation, only behind Wyoming.
Last year , nearly 22,000 people were arrested for DUI and more than 300 died in incidents involving drunk driving. In 2017, drunk driving accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities nationwide, and nearly sixty percent (60%) of alcohol-involved fatal crashes involved drivers that registered very high blood alcohol content.
Drunk and impaired driving is a deadly problem in our state, and innocent lives are effected everyday. The Goings Law Firm fights drunk drivers in court. If you or a family member has been injured due to a drunk driver, call us today at 803-350-9230. We will get you the justice that you deserve, and we make DRUNK DRIVERS PAY!
In a new study conducted by QuoteWizard, Columbia has been ranked among cities with the highest rate of car crashes.
This is a fact that our firm already knew to be true. In 2017,more than 40,000 people nationwide died in car crashes. And that number is on the rise, with a six percent increase in traffic deaths since 2015. No matter what part of the country you live in, being on the road is always a risk. But driving is apparently more dangerous in some places than others. QuoteWizard analyzed self-reported driving infractions data from site users, which includes accidents. These rankings account for more than one million data points on accidents from 2017.
Cities ranked ‘most accident-prone’ have the highest rate of accidents per driver. “Car crashes are, sadly, all too common across the country. But crash rates vary quite a bit from city to city. Whether it’s distracted driving, lousy roads, bad drivers, or a combination of all three, drivers in some cities seem to crash more often than others,” says Adam Johnson, QuoteWizard content manager. “QuoteWizard analyzed over a million datapoints on drivers in America to find out where people are getting into accidents at the highest rates.”
From the most accidents to the least, these are the 25 most car accident-prone cities in the US:
- Columbus, OH
- St. Louis, MO
- Los Angeles, CA
- Sacramento, CA
- New Orleans, LA
- Charlotte, SC
- Columbia, SC
- Washington DC
- Baltimore, MD
- Greenville, SC
The study reveals that Charlotte, NC, Columbia, SC, and Greenville, SC all rank in the top 10 most car accident prone cities in the country. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car collision, please contact our firm immediately. We have the ability to ensure that you receive all the compensation that you are entitled under the law. We hold reckless drivers, and their insurance companies accountable. For a free consultation, call us today at (803) 350-9230.
The Highways in South Carolina are Among the Most Dangerous in the Nation
Wall Street 24/7 has released its latest study of United States Roadways, ranking the safest and most unsafe by state. In ranking the safest and most dangerous states to drive in the United States, data of roadway fatalities from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration was reviewed. The state with the safest roads was Rhode Island. The state with the most unsafe road was Mississippi. Surprisingly, 9 of the 10 safest states were in the Northeast. Six of the top ten worst regionally fall in the Southeast with South Carolina coming in this year’s survey as the 3rd worst state for roadway safety. As the number 3 dangerous state, South Carolina has the following statistics:
South Carolina (#3 most dangerous roads in America)
Road deaths per 100,000: 20.5
2016 roadway fatalities: 1,015 (13th most)
Seat belt use: 94%
Deadliest holiday in 2016: Martin Luther King’s Birthday (16 fatal crashes)
Fatal crashes on rural roads: 60%
If you or a loved one have been injured or suffered death as as result of a collision in South Carolina, you need to hire an honest, aggressive, and experienced attorney that can help you get the compensation that you deserve. You need a Real Lawyer, with Real Results. Contact the Goings Law Firm today at 803-350-9230 to see how we can help you.
We find that car collision are often caused by drivers who are breaking the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. Unfortunately, there are a lot of car accidents in Columbia, South Carolina, and a new study may explain why: Columbia drivers are heavy-footed Speeders!
A new study ranks drivers in Columbia, South Carolina as among the fastest drivers in the United States. Columbia ranked 6th in the top 25, with drivers who break the speed limit. Charleston ranked 9th and Greenville, SC ranked 11th in the study. The study was published by QuoteWizard, an online insurance comparison website. QuoteWizard analyzed self-reported data from users on driving infractions, which includes speeding tickets. These rankings are based on over one million data points on speeding infractions from 2017. Cities ranked ‘speediest’ have the highest rate of speeding tickets per driver. A more detailed look at the study can be found here: more detailed looks at the fastest specific markets is available here: https://quotewizard.com/news/posts/fastest-driving-cities-2018
From faster to slower, these are the top 25 fastest driving cities in the US:
- Columbia, SC
- Salt Lake City
- Charleston, SC
- Virginia Beach
- Greenville, SC
- Kansas City
- Bay Area