Fatal Head-On Wreck In Ridgeway
A 21-year-old man is dead after his Honda smacked into a pickup truck on State Highway 34. Few other details were available about the wreck.
An autopsy is scheduled with Newberry Pathology to determine the exact cause of death. The accident remains under investigation by Fairfield County Coroner’s Office and South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Fault vs. Liability
Insurance adjusters and emergency responders seldom have a problem assigning fault in head-on wrecks. The wrong-way driver is almost always at fault. That determination is accurate, based solely on evidence available at the scene.
A couple of second-half touchdowns could erase a halftime deficit and alter the result of a game. Likewise, a couple of things, namely additional evidence and obscure legal doctrines, could change the result of a personal injury case.
Event Data Recorders often provide the additional evidence. An EDR is a car or truck’s on-board computer. These gadgets measure and record information like:
- Steering angle,
- Vehicle speed.
- Brake application, and
- Engine RPM.
Electronic evidence is more reliable in court than party statements or witness statements. Our brains aren’t tape recorders. We remember things selectively. Furthermore, not all witnesses are legally qualified to testify.
Computers, assuming they are working correctly, are never wrong. Furthermore, electronic evidence usually resonates very well with tech-savvy Richland County jurors.
A Columbia car accident attorney can also use the last clear chance doctrine to change an initial fault determination. This doctrine usually distinguishes between a wrong-way crash and a head-on crash.
Wrong-way crashes are often avoidable. If Driver A sees Driver B approaching on the wrong side of the road, Driver A has a duty to get out of the way and avoid the accident if possible. All drivers have a duty of reasonable care at all times.
Head-on crashes are usually unavoidable. If Driver A unexpectedly swerves or strays over the centerline, drive B most likely couldn’t avoid a wreck. If Driver B did brake or swerve suddenly, that unexpected maneuver might cause a worse crash than the one it prevented.
A Sumter personal injury attorney usually uses evidence and legal doctrines together. Information from an EDR, like steering angle, helps to determine if a wreck was a head-on or wrong-way crash.
Resolving Your Claim for Damages
Proper use of evidence and legal doctrines while building a case is important. But this effort means nothing unless an attorney successfully resolves a car crash or other personal injury case. Usually, these claims settle during mediation.
If the insurance company drags its feet during informal settlement negotiations, as is usually the case, most Richland County judges appoint mediators to jumpstart negotiations. Usually, a mediator is an unaffiliated Sumter personal injury lawyer who has special problem-solving skills.
Mediators know how to bring two sides together. Sometimes, this process involves some cajoling. Sometimes, a mediator must lean a little harder on an insurance company until it sees the light of day.
Mediators also enforce a duty to negotiate in good faith. When they come to the table, a party cannot just go through the motions. Instead, it must be willing to make some compromises to reach an agreement with the other side and avoid a trial.
Because of these special skills and this good faith negotiation duty, civil mediation is about 90 percent successful in South Carolina.
Work With a Diligent Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sumter, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.