Of all the crashes that happen on SC highways, wrong way accidents can be among the most catastrophic.
They are even more terrifying because they can happen at high speeds and because they are unexpected. In a moment, with no warning, a reckless or drunk driver can cross the center line, take someone’s life, and change others’ lives forever.
If you have been involved in a wrong way accident or someone you love has been killed by a careless driver who crossed the center line, you know what I’m talking about, and there is nothing we can say to take away your pain and grief.
We can, however, help you to hold the responsible parties accountable and ensure that they pay the maximum amount of compensation that is provided for under SC laws – a driver who causes a wrong way accident must compensate their victims or their victims’ families in a wrongful death lawsuit or a lawsuit based on negligence, and punitive damages may be available as well.
Wrong Way Accidents in SC
How common are wrong way accidents in SC?
They happen more often than you might think. For example, in November, a wrong way crash near Laurens, SC, resulted in the deaths of all five people involved:
All five people in the two cars were trapped in the wreckage on Interstate 385 in Laurens County and had to be cut from the crumpled metal. Four of them died at the scene and the fifth person died at the hospital, South Carolina Trooper Joe Hovis said.
In September, in Georgetown County, SC, two people were killed, including a three-year-old child, and three others were seriously injured when a reckless driver crossed the center line:
The fatal collision was reported off Highway 521 around 5 a.m. Thursday.
According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol, “The driver of unit number 1 was on the wrong side of the road and struck unit number 2.”
A person in each car died.
The Georgetown County Coroner says that 3-year-old Micki Nolan and 49-year-old Glendora Holmes did not survive the crash.
In November, another person was killed when a driver crossed the center line and crashed head on into another car, killing the driver of the second car:
Troopers say it happened on South Carolina Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 301.
They say a Toyota Highlander crossed the center line and was going the wrong way at around 10 p.m. Friday when it crashed head-on into a Nissan Altima.
Highway Patrol says the driver of the Nissan Altima was pronounced dead.
In October, a man was killed after he crashed into a bus while driving in the wrong direction on Hwy 701 in Georgetown County:
Troopers say that a Toyota Corolla crossed the center line and was going the wrong way on U.S. Highway 701 at around 8:20 p.m. Saturday, when it crashed head-on into a 2003 NABA bus.
Highway Patrol says the driver of the Toyota Corolla was pronounced dead.
Why do people cross the center line, and why are wrong way accidents so devastating?
What Causes Wrong Way Accidents?
There are many reasons why a driver would cross the center line, and most of them involve alcohol or reckless driving. For example:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
- Passing another car on a two-lane highway when it is not safe to pass,
- Speeding or reckless driving that causes the driver to lose control of their vehicle,
- Falling asleep at the wheel, and
- Mechanical failures like a flat tire or malfunctioning steering column.
Wrong Way Accidents are Often Catastrophic
Why are wrong way accidents so devastating?
They happen in an instant, with little time to prepare, think, and avoid the collision. Even worse, they often happen at high speeds – with the force of both vehicles contributing to the damage as the vehicles collide head on.
This type of accident, more than most others, often results in:
- Permanent disability,
- Brain injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Internal injuries, and
- Broken bones.
How do you avoid a wrong way accident? Often, you can’t – that’s why they are so terrifying.
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Lawsuits for Wrong Way Crashes
Like any other crash that is caused by a driver’s negligence, the injured person, or the family of someone who was killed, can file a civil lawsuit to recover damages from the reckless driver.
What makes wrong way accidents different?
When someone is killed as a result of the accident, a lawsuit for simple negligence becomes a wrongful death lawsuit for taking someone’s life.
When a driver commits a traffic violation that leads to a wrong way accident – crossing the center line, failing to obey traffic signals, or speeding, for example, that is negligence per se. Liability is clear, and now we are just litigating how much money is full and fair compensation under the circumstances.
When a driver crosses the center line and causes a head on collision, that may also be gross negligence – a reckless disregard for the safety and lives of others – that can result in a punitive damages award.
When a driver crosses the center line because they are drunk or high on drugs, you are not only entitled to punitive damages, but SC’s cap on punitive damages may be lifted.
Wrong Way Accident Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, SC
If you’ve been hurt in an accident the lawyers at Coastal Law can help you to investigate, gather the evidence that you need, negotiate your claim, and take your case to trial when they do not pay.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.