I was hit by a Drunk Driver, what can I do?

 

photo of drunk driver after accidentOne 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 drink drivers stay off the road and 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, an aggressive team of attorneys with the Goings Law Firm will help you today.  Call us at 803-350-9230 for a free, no obligation, consultation.

 


Uninsured Motorist Accident

14% of Drivers are Uninsured

More frequently we are hearing that motorist are being struck by vehicles that do not have insurance. Uninsured drivers are a danger to us and our families on the roads. Without insurance, victims of automobile collision are often left without any ability to be compensated. In South Carolina, it is illegal to drive without proper insurance coverage. South Carolina law requires that you purchase liability and uninsured motorist coverage to drive in the state, which is divided into two coverages: bodily injury liability and physical damage liability.

Many uninsured motorist collisions involve hit and runs, drivers who are not authorized to operate a vehicle, or even driving a vehicle that was stolen.  The most recent study, performed by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) in 2017, shows that approximately 13.0 percent of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, are uninsured.  Stated differently, approximately 29.7 million drivers who are uninsured. Usually, in a car accident, the insurance of the driver who is at fault covers initially the injuries and damages. But, with 13% of drivers uninsured, victims of auto accidents have many questions about what to do when involved in a collision with an uninsured motorist.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Will Allow Compensation

The law in South Carolina allows a victim of an uninsured motorist to receive compensation.  South Carolina motor vehicle insurance laws are intended to protect citizens against uninsured drivers. In fact, the law requires that every auto insurance policy sold in our state includes “uninsured (UM) motorist coverage.”  Uninsured Motorist Coverage can provide you protection, but successfully bring an uninsured motorist coverage claim often requires an attorney to get you the best recovery.

Uninsured motorists coverage protects the policyholder directly, along with any person in the vehicle. This coverage pays if you are injured or your property is damaged by a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured driver. South Carolina law requires you to carry uninsured motorists coverage equal to the minimum amounts of liability coverage.  The minimum mandatory coverage in South Carolina is $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per collision for bodily injury, and $25,000 in property damage, also referred to as (“25/50/25”).  We strongly encourage everyone to purchase auto insurance with coverage limits greater than just minimum coverage.  In our experience, just one trip to the hospital following a collision can far exceed the this limits.  If your vehicle is totaled, this is often not enough to replace the vehicle, or cover the vehicle loan, and to provide a temporary vehicle

We have found that it does not cost much more money to have double or triple this amount, and often times drivers need in excess of $100,000 or $300,000 for each vehicle.   After you read this article, please check your insurance policy to see how much uninsured motorist coverage you have listed, and call your insurance agent today to get increased coverage.

The compensation that you are entitled to receive with uninsured motorist coverage would cover all legal damages that you are entitled to recover under the law including medical bills, chiropractic treatment, future medical expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, property damage, and in certain cases, even punitive damages.  Don’t worry, your insurance premiums should not increase for having to file a uninsured motorist claim because this is mandatory coverage and it is not your fault that the at-fault driver was negligent and failed to get insurance.

It can be difficult for victims of an uninsured driver to successfully navigate the laws of an uninsured motorist claim on their own.  It is easy to be mislead by the insurance companies in giving recorded statement, not understanding the forms they want you to sign, or being uninformed about how much compensation you should receive for your injuries.  If you say or do the wrong thing in communicating with the insurance company, you may lose important benefits allowed under the law.  The auto insurance company will have a team of attorneys that will attempt to defend the interests of the insurance company over your own best interests.

Tips After a Collision with a Uninsured Driver

Unless it is a hit and run, many accident victims do not learn at the scene about a driver being uninsured.  We have found that drivers at the scene will provide proof of insurance that has expired or is otherwise fraudulent.  Proof of valid coverage is typically not performed until after a formal claim is made with that insurance company.   Because you may not learn until after the fact that the negligent driver was also uninsured, its important to always take this steps following a car accident:

1. Gather as Much Information At the Scene

As with any collision, try to get as much information as possible about the driver.   Ask the driver for his name, contact information, driver’s license number, and a copy of his insurance card. Take pictures of all the damage to your car, the other cars, and the license plate on any vehicle involved in the collision.  Ask anyone at the scene if they saw or heard the collision, as it is important to get the names and all contact information of any witnesses.  Now these days, the chances that the collision was caught on camera is greater.  Look around to see if there is a traffic camera that could have captured the incident, or any surveillance camera at a neighboring businesses.   Never rely solely on the police officer to get any of this information.  We have seen that police do not take the time to do a thorough investigation, so make it a priority for you to gather as much information on the scene.

2.  Always Call The Police

Whether the other driver is cooperative or not, call the police immediately.  This is especially true if the damage is extensive or injuries are sustain. The police will document the incident and should provide you with an FR-10 Report, which is an exchange of driver information.  Also, the police should prepare a TR-310 Traffic Collision Report, which is the complete accident report. TR-310 Traffic Collision Report is generally available within 30 days after the collision from the SC Department of Motor Vehicles.  These police reports can become critical to any  insurance claim.  For example, without a police report you are barred for recovering for any hit and run collision under South Carolina statutory laws.

3. Contact Your Insurance Company and get Help from an Experienced Lawyer

The insurance company should be contacted the same day of the collision, or as quickly as possible.   Call your insurance company and follow the necessary steps to inform them of the accident.  The insurance company will want you to send in the FR-10 Report.  Notifying your insurance company will not increase your rates if the other driver is at fault, and is essential if the other driver is uninsured. Your insurance company will be able to determine if your policy covers uninsured drivers and offer directions on what to do next.  If you have substantial injuries, you should not give a statement to the insurance company without first seeking the advice of the best attorney you can find to answer your questions.

Our Attorneys Can Help with your Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claim

The Goings Law Firm has years of experience helping victims of collisions caused by negligent uninsured drivers.  Bringing an uninsured motorist claim in South Carolina can be difficult on your own, and without the best attorney for your case, you may not get the compensation that you are entitled under the law.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation or call us at 803-350-9230.


Columbia ranks in top 10 most accident-prone cities

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:

  1. Columbus, OH
  2. St. Louis, MO
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Sacramento, CA
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. Charlotte, SC
  7. Columbia, SC
  8. Washington DC
  9. Baltimore, MD
  10. 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.


South Carolina Motorcyclists Ride at Great Risk

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.


Car Crashes Into Richland Library Northeast: Three Hospitalized

Around 6:30pm on Monday night, a car struck the Richland County Library’s Northeast branch, which resulted in three people being taken to the hospital.  According to WIS’s report, the vehicle that struck the library first struck two other vehicles in the library parking lot.  The only library patron who was injured was walking out the front door at the time of the accident; the other two individuals who went to the hospital were in the vehicles involved.  Thankfully, current reports indicate that no one was seriously injured.

Car collisions can occur in many different ways, but in any accident that results in injuries, people can find themselves in need of assistance.  If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and needs help navigating the legal minefield in order to be compensated, give the personal injury attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC a call and see if we can help. (803) 350-9230.


2016 Spike in Richland County Roads Death Toll

One week into 2017, the frightening numbers are in.  The State reported that although the number of traffic fatalities in South Carolina in 2016 is very similar to the number reported in 2015 (actually down just slightly), the number of fatalities in Richland County has spiked from 45 in 2015 to 68 in 2016.  In other words, the already-too-high number increased by about 50% in just one year.

What leads to such horrible motor vehicle accidents?  Troopers of the South Carolina Highway Patrol say it’s primarily speed, impaired driving, lack of seat belt use, and distracted driving.  Distracted driving — texting, eating, talking on the phone, etc. while driving — is particularly common place.  The other biggie is seat belts.  Less than half the people who died while occupying a motor vehicle on South Carolina roads were wearing their seat belts.

The personal injury attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC understand how devastating it is to lose a loved one in a car crash.  The complicated legal battles that result from such a tragedy only add difficulty to the situation.  If you or your family are dealing with serious injuries or even wrongful death as a result of a motor vehicle accident, call the Goings Law Firm, LLC today at (803) 350-9230 and see if we can help.


Lexington’s Rosemary Cseh Killed in House Fire

Rosemary Ann Cseh (64) was killed in a house fire on Sunday night on Darian Drive according to . When the fire department arrived, the fire was well underway, and the property damage was in excess of $4,500. The Lexington County Coroner determined that Ms. Cseh died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the scene.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, fire fighters did discover that there were not any working smoke detectors in the home.

In some instances, tragedies are unavoidable. But in those instances where injuries or even death are the result of negligence or an avoidable accident, people often find themselves needing the assistance of a lawyer in order to seek compensation for their injuries. The personal injury attorneys at the Goings Law Firm are experienced in navigating the world of insurance companies and litigation and may be able to offer you assistance in seeking compensation. Speak with an attorney of the Goings Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC today by calling (803) 350-9230 to learn more about your options.


Eight People Injured in Accident on Interstate 77 in Columbia, SC

Eight vehicles were involved in a car crash around 7:30am on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 in Columbia, SC, and eight passengers were taken to the hospital from the scene.  No report yet on the severity of their injuries.

According to WLTX, the accident occurred when a vehicle spun out of control just as it got to the bottom of the Shop Road ramp onto Interstate-77 and  hit three other cars.  When traffic came to a sudden stop, four additional vehicles collided.  All South-bound lanes on I-77 were closed for about an hour near Exit 6.

The personal injury lawyers at the Goings Law Firm, LLC understand how difficult it can be for people to deal with the aftermath of car crashes. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, we may be able to offer you legal assistance to hold negligent parties accountable. Call us at (803) 350-9230 to learn more about your options.


Pedestrian struck in Charleston accident

A male pedestrian was recently struck by two vehicles while crossing a road in Charleston. According to reports, an investigation is being conducted by the Charleston Police after a pedestrian named James Alexander Moore Jr. was struck by a vehicle on December 5.

The accident reportedly happened at about 3:00 in the morning when Moore was walking on Glenn McConnell Parkway near Mary Ader Drive. After Moore was hit by the first vehicle, another vehicle in the area also struck him. The second vehicle apparently parked in the road in order to shield Moore from another possible collision.

When pedestrians go up against vehicles, serious injuries usually occur. The human body is not meant to withstand being struck by a large, speeding automobile. That’s why the attorneys at the Goings Law Firm, LLC work to represent pedestrians who were hit by cars through no fault of their own. Our legal team will help you pursue compensation for your serious injuries. Call us today at (803) 350-9230 to learn more.


21-year-old Woman Killed in Crash on South Carolina Highway 151 Over Memorial Day Weekend

On Memorial Day, May 25, 2015 around 8:00 A.M., a 21-year-old Charlotte woman was killed in a deadly car accident on highway 151 in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. The accident reportedly occurred because the driver fell asleep at the wheel. There were two passengers in the car who survived the crash. The passengers have undergone surgery but are expected to make a full recovery. Our thought and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Any time a sudden death occurs as the result of an auto accident, it is a very difficult time for the families and loved ones of those involved in the accident.

South Carolina Highway 151 is a very popular route for many people traveling to South Carolina beaches during the summer months. This accident was the second death resulting from a car accident that occurred on this highway over Memorial Day weekend. The heavy traffic on South Carolina’s roadways during the summer also leads to an increase in the amount of traffic accidents. Please use extreme caution as you an your family travel on the roadways this summer. The Goings Law Firm, LLC is experienced in dealing with loss resulting from an Auto Accident. While we understand the nothing can ever replace the loss of a loved one, the accident attorneys from the Goings Law Firm, LLC will can help navigate through the legal complexities of an auto accident case as you go through this difficult time.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an auto accident, then contact the Goings Law Firm, LLC today. Robert F. Goings is an experienced South Carolina auto accident attorney who can help you to fight for your rights as a party who has been injured from another driver’s negligence. Please call (803) 350-9230 today for a free case consultation.


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