According to reporting from live5news.com, two people were recently killed in a tragic head-on collision in Dorchester County. The accident, which involved an SUV and a GMC truck, occurred on Highway 27. Officials from the South Carolina State Highway Patrol reported that the SUV swerved into the oncoming lane to avoid an object on the highway and then hit the GMC truck head-on, propelling the truck into a creek on the side of the road. The truck overturned into the creek and both occupants were killed. This heartbreaking accident is a reminder that head-on collisions are especially dangerous. They result in a disproportionate share of catastrophic injuries and fatalities. If you, or a family member, has suffered a serious injury in a head-on collision, please contact an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer for immediate legal assistance.
South Carolina Head-on Collisions: Heightened Risks
Head-on automobile collisions come with a heightened risk. The force associated with a single car accident is sufficient to cause serious injuries, but in a head-on collision there is also a powerful force coming from the opposite direction to add to the impact. Researchers at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a detailed special investigative report on head-on car accidents. The report concluded that head-on collisions are responsible for far more than their fair share of serious injuries. Head-on collisions are fairly uncommon, only around one in 150 automobile accidents involve a head-on collision. However, nearly 12 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities occur because of this type of accident. The data is clear; when head-on collisions happen the results are all too often devastating. Head-on accidents have a several different causes, the most common being:
- A distracted, intoxicated or otherwise negligent driver crossing over the center lane;
- A driver making a left hand turn at an inappropriate time; and
- A driver, usually intoxicated, going in the wrong direction on a divided highway.
No matter the specific causes of your South Carolina head-on accident, if you were injured, you need to hire an experienced Charleston car accident attorney. This is especially important if you were the victim of a drunk driving accident.
Alcohol Is Often a Factor in Head-on Collisions
One of the most notable findings in the NTSB report on wrong way driving and head-on automobile accidents was the conclusion that alcohol impairment is the ‘leading’ cause head-on collision fatalities. This is because the most dangerous head-on collisions occur at the highest speeds, and those accidents are heavily correlated with wrong way driving on a divided highway and vehicles very suddenly veering over the center lane. Both of those things most often occur when a driver is intoxicated. South Carolina has a major drunk driving problem. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, South Carolina routinely ranks in the top five in a list of the states with the most drunk driving fatalities per capita. Around 350 South Carolina residents are killed in drunk driving crashes every year. That accounts for around 50 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities. Further, a large percentage of those fatal accidents involve drivers whose blood alcohol level is over twice the legal limit. In other words, they involve drivers who did not just have a few drinks, but are instead seriously impaired. If you, or a family member, has been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you need to take immediate legal action. In South Carolina drunk driving accident cases, the injured victims may be entitled to receive punitive damages. This category of damages, also known as exemplary damages, are not awarded in most injury cases. However, when the actions of the defendant are deemed extremely reckless or malicious, the court may award them in order to punish the defendant and further disincentivize similar reckless behavior. Even though punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant, the compensation is still awarded to the injured accident victim.
Standard Compensation for Victims of Head-on Collisions
While punitive damages may be available in your case, and your Charleston car accident attorney will always consider seeking them, it is also important to recognize that compensation that is available in all car accident injury cases. The goal of most forms of legal compensation is to put the victim back into their original position. Essentially, the court is attempting to make the situation equivalent to what it would be if the head-on collision had never occurred. Obviously, with accidents involving serious injuries, or even worse fatalities, that will not be truly possible. However, the court will do its best to try to put a monetary figure on all of the damages you sustained. Specific categories of damages frequently awarded in South Carolina car accident injury cases include:
- Compensation for property damage;
- The full extent of your current, and future, medical expenses, including: any required physical therapy, medical equipment, doctor’s appointments, hospital bills, in home services, or other disability expenses;
- Compensation for pain and suffering, both for physical pain and mental distress;
- Lost wages;
- Lost future earning capacity; and
- Compensation for the loss of love, affection, support or companionship. This form of compensation could be available in the heartbreaking even that your spouse or child is killed by a negligent driver.
Notably, in cases involving serious injuries, you will be entitled to ‘noneconomic’ damages. While it is relatively easy to put a dollar figure on a hospital bill, it is much more difficult to put a value on a non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Because this type of damage is so difficult to value, insurance companies will often try to offer lowball settlements to injured victims. If you have suffered non-economic damages, you need an experienced attorney who will protect your rights and will fight aggressively to make sure you get every penny that you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Charleston Car Accident Attorney
All drivers are required to take proper care when behind the wheel. The failure to operate a motor vehicle with the appropriate level of prudence is negligence. If you were the injured because of the negligence of another driver, you deserve full and fair compensation. At the David Aylor Law Offices, our skilled Charleston car accident lawyers will fight aggressively to protect your legal rights. If you have been injured in a head-on collision, please contact us today. We serve clients in the Charleston area and throughout South Carolina. Initial legal consultations are always free of charge.