Fatal DUI Crash In Fort Mill
Few details were available after a 26-year-old man apparently lost control of his vehicle and slid off the road. The crash killed a 3-year-old passenger.
The crash happened near Fort Mill High School. Officers said the child was pronounced dead at the hospital. Both the driver and the adult passenger were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. Investigators believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash.
Police arrested the driver and he now faces multiple criminal charges.
Although injured passengers have the same legal and financial rights as injured drivers, many injured passengers don’t partner with a Columbia DUI accident attorney. They don’t want to “blame” the driver, with whom they often have a close personal relationship, for the “accident.” That’s especially true if a public or private insurance company pays most or all of the victim’s medical bills.
Civil claims don’t blame anyone for anything. Instead, a personal injury claim is a responsibility thing. We all make mistakes, and we should all accept the consequences of those mistakes.
In this context, this responsibility includes paying compensation for damages. If Ben scratches Jerry’s Elvis record, Ben should buy Jerry a new Elvis record. The same principle applies if Ben loses control of his car and injures Jerry.
Additionally, car crashes usually aren’t accidents. As outlined below, negligence, or a lack of care, usually causes car crashes.
Finally, victims shouldn’t let tortfeasors (negligent drivers) off the hook because an insurance company covers some of the victim’s financial losses. If that happens, the rest of us pay for that driving mistake, in the form of higher insurance premiums or taxes.
On a related note, at most, insurance companies only pay medical bills. A Columbia personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for other economic losses, such as lost wages, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Legal Claims in Alcohol-Related Crash Claims
If authorities charge a tortfeasor with DUI, that charge establishes negligence, because the law sets the standard of care. To obtain compensation, the victim/plaintiff must only prove the DUI substantially caused injury.
Non-moving violations, like driving with an expired license, usually don’t trigger the negligence per se doctrine. These violations normally don’t substantially cause injury.
Some drivers are impaired but not intoxicated. Alcohol impairment breaches the duty of reasonable care. These impairing effects, which include clouded judgment and slow motor skills, prevent tortfeasors from safely operating motor vehicles. Evidence of driver impairment includes:
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Slurred speech,
- Unsteady balance, and
- Odor of alcohol.
Additional first party liability evidence includes erratic driving before the wreck, statements the tortfeasor made about alcohol consumption, and the tortfeasor’s previous schedule. If s/he recently visited a bar, restaurant, or other commercial alcohol provider, it’s more likely than not that s/he had at least one drink there.
Similar evidence could establish third-party liability. In South Carolina, it’s illegal for commercial providers to sell alcohol to obviously intoxicated persons. If they make such sales, and these individuals cause car wrecks, the seller is financially responsible for damages.
Contact a Hard-Working Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. You have a limited amount of time to act.