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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Fireball Crash Kills Four People

Fireball Crash Kills Four People


Some combination of a violent collision and smoke inhalation killed four people in a Ford truck that smacked into  an illegally-parked dump truck.

The wreck happened on I-85 South between University City Boulevard and West W.T. Harris Boulevard. According to investigators, the victims were riding in a Ford truck that hit an improperly parked dump truck on I-85 South. One witness said he tried to free the four people in the pickup. “At the time, the driver was, he was fighting, but smoke was just filling the cab,” he said. “And it filled up really fast. It filled up really fast.”

“As soon as I started to spray the flames [with a fire extinguisher], the whole vehicle exploded,” he added. “Like all the windows busted out. And it was pretty much at that point, nothing we could do. There’s nothing else I could do.”

Fault vs. Liability

If a driver hits a fixed object, like a wall or a parked vehicle, emergency responders and insurance adjusters almost always conclude that the driver was at fault for the crash. Even following such a fault determination, a Columbia personal injury attorney can still obtain compensation for you in court. There’s a difference between fault and liability, just like there’s a difference between a halftime score and a final score.

Responders and adjusters base fault determinations on the evidence that’s immediately available at the scene, and on no other evidence. Especially following a fireball wreck, little physical evidence may be available. Furthermore, highway collisions usually have few witnesses, at least right away. For various reasons, very few people stop what they are doing and loiter at accident scenes so they can give official statements to police officers.

Subsequent physical evidence is usually available, like the information on a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder. This information includes critical data like vehicle speed and steering angle. Additional witness statements are usually available as well. Frequently, several people saw the wreck but they didn’t linger at the scene.

Legal issues come into play as well, such as comparative fault. Frequently, both drivers were partially at fault for a wreck. In a few states, drivers who were partially at fault are ineligible for compensation. But the law is different in South Carolina. Partially at-fault victims could be entitled to up to 51 percent of their requested compensation.

Speaking of legal issues, commercial drivers, like dump truck drivers, usually have a higher duty of care in South Carolina. The higher duty of care makes it easier for a Columbia personal injury attorney to prove negligence, or a lack of care. This duty applies as long as that driver is on the road, whether or not the driver is moving, or even whether or not the driver was behind the wheel at the time.

Third Party Liability

Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) are legally responsible for the crashes they cause. Third parties are often financially responsible for the damages these collisions cause.

These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Respondeat superior usually applies in commercial driver wrecks. This legal theory has two basic elements in South Carolina:

  • Employee: Even if they are independent contractors or other non-employees for most purposes, commercial drivers are always employees for negligence purposes. That’s because their employers exercise some control over their behavior.
  • Scope of Employment: Similarly, any act which benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. That could include parking a dump truck on the side of the road, if the truck is going to or coming from a job.

Other third party liability theories include dram shop alcohol provider liability and negligent entrustment owner liability.

Reach Out to 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.


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Car Accidents

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Trucking Accidents

Attorney Marc Brown is a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer. We can help you when you need it most.

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Wrongful Death

Experiencing the death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time. It can also be financially devastating. Let us help!

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Slip & Fall

Marc Brown is an experienced slip and fall attorney that serves the entire states of South Carolina and Georgia.

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Dog Bites

If you need legal help with a dog bite injury, reach out to a South Carolina dog bite lawyer at the Marc Brown Law Firm.

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In cases of shootings and other crimes, victims can seek financial compensation by filing a civil claim for damages.

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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

Why Choose Us?

Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

We’ll Come To You

After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

Clients First

At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

24/7 Availability

We are available around the clock for our clients. If at any point we are unavailable, we promise to promptly respond to all messages within hours.


We work hard so that our clients receive the justice they deserve! When necessary, Attorney Marc Brown retains investigators, engineers, and other experts to help prove your case. Insurance companies are big, but Marc is experienced and resourceful. We fight for each of our clients so that you can receive the maximum compensation available to you.

No Fees Unless We Win

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

Marc Brown and The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 award