Highway Death Toll Continues To Climb In South Carolina

March 6, 2016

A man and woman from Moore are dead following a high-speed, head-on collision in Spartanburg County.

The crash occurred on Highway 290 near Howell Road. 39-year-old Yeny Marron and 42-year-old Nicolas Marron were in a 2007 Nissan, when an eastbound van crossed over to the westbound side. Mr. and Ms. Marron, who were both wearing seatbelts, were declared dead at the scene. The van driver, whose name was not released, was rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

The couple have a freshman son who is on the varsity soccer team at Dorman High School. So far, there have been over 20 roadway fatalities in the area in 2016.

Duty in a Negligence Case

One of the earliest cases to discuss the idea of legal duty, although the rule itself would not come for about another hundred years, was Vaughan v. Menlove, an 1837 case from England. That case involved a large haystack that was right on the property line and quite close to a neighboring cottage. Large haystacks are extremely dangerous, because the smallest spark ignites the entire stack in only a few seconds. For this reason, most landowners take certain measures to reduce the risk.

But Mr. Menlove did not take any such precautions, despite being aware of the danger and warned of the possible consequences. But, in classic English style, he told people that “he would chance it.” Somewhat inevitably, according to the court,

fire and flame so, occasioned as aforesaid by the igniting and breaking out into flame, of the said rick or stack, was thereupon then communicated unto the said cottages in which the Plaintiff was interested as aforesaid, which were thereby then respectively set on fire. . .by reason of such carelessness, negligence, and improper conduct of the Defendant in so continuing the said rick or stack in such a dangerous condition as aforesaid, in manner aforesaid, were consumed, damaged, and wholly destroyed, the cottages being of great value.

The judges split as to whether the appropriate question was whether the defendant had acted with gross negligence or “whether he had acted bona fide to the best of his judgment.” While several judges insisted that a duty of reasonable care applied only in contracts cases, Judge Vaughan had a different conclusion: “He had repeated warnings of what was likely to occur, and the whole calamity was occasioned by his procrastination.”

Eventually, the concepts introduced in this case found their way into the “neighbour rule” of Donoghue v. Stevenson and then into the reasonable care standard that applies in South Carolina car crash cases.

Today, if the defendant breaches the duty of reasonable care – and driving on the wrong side of the road falls into that category – the defendant must pay any legal damages caused by that breach.

Contact an Aggressive Lawyer

The duty of reasonable care is one of the most well-settled principles in negligence law. For a free consultation with an attorney who uses the law to obtain maximum compensation for victims, contact David Aylor Law Offices in Charleston. An attorney can arrange for victims to receive ongoing medical care, even if they have no money and no insurance.

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