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.
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.
Most motorcyclists will agree that, from deteriorated road conditions to distracted automobile drivers, riding a motorcycle is as dangerous as it has ever been. For many of the riders unfortunate enough to be seriously injured in an accident, a careless or distracted automobile driver has been at fault. Some riders are forced to go as far as to swerve or kick a car’s side to avoid a collision, with many riders citing cell phone use as the driver’s cause of inattention. The roads in South Carolina are may even be some of the most dangerous for motorcyclists. According to a recent article from The Post and Courier, the average annual fatality rate for riders in South Carolina is second to only Mississippi. Last year’s 135 motorcyclist deaths was the highest death rate in the palmetto state in a century, showing a frightening trend after the 2015 fatality rate rose to the highest level since 2007.
States with mandatory helmet laws show fatality rates 20 to 40 percent lower than elsewhere, but in South Carolina, only those 21 and younger fall under any state mandated helmet rule. Efforts to pass additional helmet laws in South Carolina have failed, but nearly three-quarters of motorcyclist deaths on South Carolina roads involve helmetless riders.
Some riders believe that untrained or reckless motorcyclists are the cause of the high fatality rate, as these riders are more prone to actions which create more risk of an accident such as weaving in and out of traffic and high-speed wheelies. According to some, it is the untrained riders with one to two years’ riding experience who take the most risk, as these riders are less cautious than both new and seasoned riders. In South Carolina, the law doesn’t require any training and only asks for a limited amount of proof of motorcycle riding ability to obtain a motorcycle license. In fact, the only test required to obtain a motorcycle license is taken on a closed course and only requires the rider to maneuver the bike at speeds well below typical roadway speeds (approximately 15 m.p.h.in the test) to pass. Whether it is making the decision to wear a helmet or taking a class to sharpen your motorcycle riding skills, there are steps that any rider can take to make the roads a less dangerous place for themselves and avoid the injuries, financial burden, and the chance of death that come with a motorcycle accident.
With accidents on the rise, more and more people are unfortunately injured and suffer from motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, even where the motorcyclist had no fault in the accident. The attorneys at Goings Law Firm, LLC understand the dangers motorcyclists face. Riders have a right to safety on the road, and those who create unsafe conditions should be held legally and financially responsible for their actions. For more information or to speak one of our qualified and compassionate Columbia personal injury attorneys, please contact us at (803) 350-9230 today.
In South Carolina, motorcyclists are in more danger than in almost any other state in the Southeast, statistics show. The state’s 2015 fatality rate was its highest since 2007, and the 135 motorcyclists who died on South Carolina roads last year were the most this century. The cause has been attributed to poorly maintained road, potholes and pea gravel, inexperienced riders and distracted drivers. South Carolina law also allows riders to obtain motorcycle licenses with no training and minimum evidence of road proficiency.
Among nine Southeast states, South Carolina’s average annual fatality rate from 2011 to 2015 is approximately 10 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles. The annual fatality rate is second worse, only to Mississippi, which has the least number of registered motorcycles in the region. The road skills test in South Carolina is taken on a closed course where requires riders to perform turns, stops and weaves. In fact, the most of the exercises of the Department of Motor Vehicles involve speeds of approximately 15 m.p.h.
The Goings Law Firm, LLC wants to remind South Carolina motorcycle drivers to be safe and vigilant on the roads. Watch out for other drivers who may not be operating their vehicle as carefully as you. The personal injury lawyers at the Goings Law Firm know all too well the life-altering injuries that can occur when drivers are not driving carefully
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, trucking accident, or motorcycle collision, please call us at (803) 350-9230 to see if we can help. Our personal injury attorneys may be able to assist you with the applicable legal process and help you obtain the compensation you need.
One person was killed after the motorcycle he was operating on September 3 was involved in an accident with another vehicle in the vicinity of Johnsonville, an article for WMBF News reported.
According to reports Tony Singletary, 39, was riding his motorcycle on the southbound lane of Midway Highway when it was struck by a vehicle, head-on. Singletary, who was wearing a helmet, was brought to the hospital but was later pronounced dead while receiving treatment. Corporal Sonny Collins of the South Carolina Highway Patrol told reports that the accident took place in the vicinity of Johnsonville and that they are still figuring out which of the two vehicles veered to the wrong way.
Families are often left dealing with emotional, physical, and financial hardships after losing a loved one in motorcycle accidents. The lawyers of Goings Law Firm, LLC in Columbia send their deepest thoughts to the family and friends who mourn the loss of their loved one.
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 a severe auto accident involving a motorcycle happened at one of Columbia’s intersections. The accident happened at the intersection of Assembly St. and Gervais St. just after 7:00 A.M. during peak morning commute hours.
The accident occurred when an SUV pulled out in front of the motorcycle. The Columbia Police Department reports that an SUV was cited for failure to yield to right-of-way. Tragically, the driver of the motorcycle was taken to the hospital and later died as a result of this accident.
If you are familiar with the Columbia area, you know that morning commutes and city traffic can often be treacherous. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC we understand the difficulties that are often involved when you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of an auto accident or motorcycle accident, then call Robert F. Goings at (803) 350-9230 to find out how we can help.
A Hartsville man was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was struck by another car. The motorcyclist was riding in a parade that took place over the July 4th holiday. We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and his family.
The July 4th holiday is a wonderful time to celebrate our country’s independence. Many people use the holiday as an opportunity to travel or participate in outdoor recreational activities. Unfortunately, it can also be a very dangerous time of the year. We often hear about tragic accidents like this one that happen over the holiday season. Whether you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, boating accident, or auto accident, if you were injured in an accident over the recent Fourth of July holiday, the Goings Law Firm, LLC is here for you. We are experienced in handling cases all over South Carolina. Call us today at (803) 350-9230, for a free case consultation.
An auto accident can be overwhelming, confusing, and terrifying. As we have already noted several times, auto accidents are on the rise this summer in South Carolina. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC, we want you to be prepared if you are the unfortunate victim of a South Carolina auto accident. By taking certain key steps immediately after an accident you will be in a better position to hold the responsible party accountable for the damage they have caused you.
One of the fist things you should do after an accident is to take a deep breath and remain calm. This is not the time to loose your cool. Once you have collected yourself, put your hazard lights on.
Check for injuries.
First, make sure that you are ok, and then check with the passengers in your car to make sure they don’t have any serious or life threatening injuries. After checking everyone in your own car, check your surroundings, make sure it is safe to exit your car, and then check for serious or life-threatening injuries with the driver(s) or passenger(s) of other cars involved in the accident. If you believe that anyone has sustained serious or life-threatening injuries, then call 911 immediately.
Many injuries as a result of an auto accident are not immediately apparent. Because of the adrenalin and initial shock that often come with an auto accident, pain from back and neck injuries often manifests in the days or weeks following an accident. For this reason, it is always a good idea to call an ambulance to the scene of the accident and get checked out by a medical professional.
For minor accidents, move your car to safety.
Traffic surrounding an accident scene can often lead to further accidents or create further hazards for cars already involved. If your car is movable, then consider moving to the side of the road or a safer location. If you move your car, be sure to take pictures of your car as it is in the accident scene before moving it.
Call the police. Get an accident report.
An accident report can be very helpful for establishing liability. An officer will come to the scene and talk to both parties and fill out an accident report. In South Carolina, the accident report you receive at the scene will be called a form FR-10, be sure to save this form. You should call the police, even for the most minor accidents. The other driver may suggest not calling the police, but do not listen to them. Call the police anyways. Again, if there is an emergency, call 911. If it is a minor accident, police departments have non-emergency numbers.
In the City of Columbia, the non-emergency number for car accidents is: (803) 252-2911
Exchange information with the other driver and all witnesses.
You should get the other driver’s name, phone number, and address. You should also collect the insurance information. Be sure to get the insurance company name and the policy number. If there are any passengers in the other car, or if there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to also get their name, address, and phone number(s).
This is your best chance to collect information about the accident. Take as many pictures as possible. Cell phone cameras are very handy in this situation. Be sure to get pictures of all cars involved in the accident. Also take pictures of the area of road or intersection where the accident occurred. If there are skid marks or any other evidence of the accident at the scene, be sure to take pictures of all of this.
Do not admit fault or apologize.
Even though the accident may not be your fault, you may be tempted to apologize for the accident. This could be viewed as an admission of fault. Often, fault for an accident is not clear, and you should refrain from any statement that could be viewed as an admission of fault.
Contact your insurance company.
Even when the accident is not your fault, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Give your insurance company the information (name, address, insurance policy, etc.) of the other drivers involved.
If you are injured as the result of an auto accident, then contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC!
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be very long and difficult process. If you believe you have sustained injuries, things can become even more complicated. Enlisting the help of an experienced Columbia personal injury attorney early in the process can go a long way in helping you deal with the complex aftermath of an auto accident. The South Carolina legal team at the Goings Law Firm, LLC has experience working with insurance companies to help ensure you get the best possible result for your injuries. If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, then you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230, for a free case consultation.
On Saturday evening, June 20, 2015, a Richland County man was killed while riding his motorcycle on Leesburg Road. Another Columbia area driver, who was driving under the influence, caused the crash. Reports state that the at-fault driver has been arrested for felony DUI involving a death. The victim of this motorcycle accident leaves behind a wife and two children. To read more on this story from WIS TV, please click the link here.
The Goings Law Firm, LLC is deeply saddened by this truly terrible accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family during this difficult time. In South Carolina, when a driver causes an accident resulting in wrongful death, there can be major criminal consequences. But, the driver can also be held responsible in civil court for the irreparable damages they have caused. At the Goings Law Firm, LLC we understand the significant suffering that a wrongful death accident can cause. Our Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers help prevent injuries as a result of tragic drunk driving accidents like this by seeking punitive damages for the gross reckless and negligent conduct of other drivers. Please contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC in Columbia today at (803) 350-9230 to discuss your case with us for free!
Automotive and traffic safety experts often refer to the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “Deadly Days of Summer”. This time period is given that name because summertime always brings an increase in accidents on our roadways. This is especially true for states like South Carolina where many tourists will be traveling into and through South Carolina on the way to vacation. The Goings Law Firm, LLC has already reported to you about two major accidents that occurred on I-26 in just the first week after Memorial Day. Both accidents had major damage and shut down the entire interstate for hours. Your can read about the Charleston I-26 accident by clicking here and the Columbia I-26 accident by clicking here.
In addition to the two I-26 accidents, last week we also reported that fatal accidents are already on the rise in South Carolina. Combining the rise in fatal statistics with the already dangerous summer days ahead means that drivers should use extremely heightened caution as they take to the road this summer. The Goings Law Firm, LLC wants you to stay safe on the road this summer, and we have included a few safety tips below to help you do that.
Safety tips for drivers on the road this summer
One of the key safety tips to remember while driving this summer is to always keep your cool and remain patient. When a driver becomes impatient while in high traffic conditions, he/she becomes an “aggressive driver.” Aggressive driving is major cause of deadly accidents on our roadways. So, always remember to keep your cool behind the wheel. Further, remember to look out for other dangerous and aggressive drivers behind the wheel. This is often referred to as “defensive driving”, which is a fundamental key to safety on the roadway. Also, keep in mind these other safety tips while on the roadways:
- Always wear you seatbelt, and ensure that all passengers are also wearing their seatbelts.
- Obey all traffic signs, yield signs, and instructions.
- Always use your turn signal, and give plenty notice to other drivers by signaling well before applying the breaks or changing lanes.
- Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, especially in crosswalk areas.
- Obey the speed limit.
- Move over for accidents and emergency vehicles.
- Give motorcycles and eighteen-wheeler trucks plenty of room.
- Do not follow too closely on the highway or interstate.
- Ensure all children and child seats are secured properly in the car.
- Do not text and drive (It’s against the law- click here for more).
- Do not talk on the phone while driving.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, just some quick tips to keep you and your family safe as you take to the road. Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, but keep in mind that convertibles and motorcycles pose a greater safety risk and drivers must take extra precautions when operating these vehicles.
The Goings Law Firm, LLC has also written extensively about motorcycle safety here on our website. To read more about motorcycle safety, click here.
Accidents can happen to anyone. If you are involved in an accident this summer, then contact a South Carolina Accident Attorney at the Goings Law Firm, LLC.
Even the most careful drivers can be involved in accidents because of the negligence or recklessness of other drivers on the road. If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident, motorcycle accident, or trucking related accident, then call Robert F. Goings at the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. By seeking punitive damages, we seek to deter aggressive driving by punishing drivers for their wrongful conduct. When you are involved in an accident, there can be many complex issues involved with a case. It is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in dealing with the many complex issues that might arise. Robert F. Goings is a skilled South Carolina Accident attorney, and will advocate on your behalf to get you the results that you deserve. Call (803) 350-9230 today for a free case consultation.