Fatal Two-Vehicle Collision In Chesterfield County
A van driver died when his vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer that was attempting to make a U-turn.
According to South Carolina Highway Patrol investigators, a 2013 Chevrolet van was driving north on U.S. 601, when it collided with a tractor-trailer that was attempting to make a U-turn. The driver of the van died as a result of the crash. EMS took the driver of the tractor-trailer to the hospital. No other cars or passengers were involved in the incident.
The investigation is ongoing.
First Party Liability
Large truck U-turns are usually illegal in South Carolina, even if there’s no sign prohibiting such turns. Usually, vehicles can only take up a single lane during a U-turn. It’s pretty much impossible for a large truck to perform such a maneuver.
If a tortfeasor (negligent driver) violates a safety law and causes a car crash, the tortfeasor could be responsible for damages as a matter of law.
This doctrine, which is called negligence per se, usually only applies if an emergency responder issues a citation. That usually doesn’t happen in serious accident cases. Emergency responders are so busy securing the scene and tending to injured victims that they don’t bother to issue citations.
Additionally, many responders believe that car crashes are civil matters. They don’t want to write tickets and get involved in them.
So, a Columbia car accident attorney must normally use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation for victims.
Basically, ordinary negligence is a lack of care. Commercial drivers, like truck drivers, have a higher duty of care in South Carolina. The higher duty of care makes it easier for a Columbia personal injury lawyer to prove negligence, or a lack of care.
The contributory negligence defense is the most common defense in ordinary negligence claims. This legal loophole basically shifts blame for an accident from the tortfeasor to the victim. All drivers must avoid accidents at all times. That includes a responsibility to avoid a truck making an illegal U-turn.
This defense is very fact specific in South Carolina. So, it may or may not apply in certain situations.
Third Party Liability
Tortfeasors are legally responsible for the wrecks they cause. Third parties are often financially responsible for the ensuing damages.
These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Respondeat superior employer liability is one of the most common vicarious liability theories. It applies if the tortfeasor was an employee who was acting within the course and scope of employment at the time of injury.
Most large truck drivers are owner-operators or independent contractors for most purposes. But these individuals are employees for negligence purposes. Employer control is the difference between employee and non-employee in a negligence case. Therefore, even someone like an unpaid church volunteer driving a church van is usually an employee for negligence purposes.
Similarly, any act that benefits the employer in any way is within the course and scope of employment.
Vicarious liability is especially important in catastrophic and fatal injury claims. The medical bills alone in these claims are usually hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only large companies with deep pockets can pay that kind of compensation.
Connect With a Thorough 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. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.