The Insurance Information Institute reports that 1,243 fatal wrong-way crashes occurred in 2018. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration says that this dangerous driving behavior results in the loss of 300 to 400 lives every year, accounting for about 1% of the total number of traffic-related fatalities.
If you have lost a loved one due to a reckless wrong-way driver or were injured in this type of accident, a Myrtle Beach wrong way accident attorney from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers may be able to help explain if you have a viable claim after looking into the factors that contributed to your accident.
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Why Wrong-Way Driving Is So Dangerous
Wrong-way driving involves driving in a direction that opposes the flow of traffic, often on a high-speed, divided highway. A driver driving the wrong way may not realize he or she is driving the wrong way, and neither may the driver that he or she hits.
This can lead to collisions that occur at higher rates of speed, since neither driver may have the opportunity to brake soon enough to avoid the collision or lessen its impact. This can make it more likely that victims will suffer from catastrophic injuries like:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal damage
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Potential Causes of Wrong-Way Accidents
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a special investigative report on the factors that most commonly contributed to wrong-way collisions. These factors include:
- Drug or alcohol impairment: alcohol was the most common factor in wrong-way collisions. Of 1,150 wrong-way drivers who had a blood alcohol concentration test completed, almost 70% had a BAC at or above the legal limit of 0.08%. Drug impairment by illegal substances, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter drugs was also a factor in some of these accidents.
- Older drivers: the NTSB found that older drivers were more likely to be involved in wrong-way accidents, with 15% of all wrong-way collisions being caused by drivers aged 70 and older.
- Signage: the NTSB acknowledged that the most common precipitating event for wrong-way collisions (when the cause can be determined) is entering an exit ramp from the wrong direction and suggested that cities work to improve signage and pavement markings to help with this problem.
While not part of the NTSB report, other possible reasons for these types of crashes include:
- Aggressive driving
- Unfamiliarity with roadways
Our Myrtle Beach wrong way accident lawyers will work hard to get to the bottom of your case and potentially determine the factors that contributed to your accident and who should be held accountable for the harm you have suffered.
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South Carolina Wrongful Death Law
Tragically, many wrongful death collisions result in the loss of someone’s life. In these situations, a decedent’s loved ones can turn to South Carolina Code Section 15-51-10 for the right to recover compensation for the economic and non-economic losses they suffered due to the unexpected death of their loved one.
This type of claim can be brought by the executor or administrator of the decedent on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, parents, or heirs when the death is caused by negligence or other means that would have allowed the decedent to file a personal injury claim had he or she survived.
With a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover compensation for damages such as:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost financial support and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
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When You May Want to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Wrong-Way Accident Claim
While you can choose to hire a personal injury lawyer for any reason, some instances when it may be most helpful to hire a wrong way accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach include when:
Your Claim Is Denied
Even though you think that liability should be very clear in this type of claim, the insurance company may still deny the claim because it does not want to take responsibility. A lawyer can provide an objective opinion regarding liability and inform you if you may have a viable claim.
Damages Are Substantial
Wrong-way accidents can be devastating, often leading to loss of life or catastrophic injuries. If the wrong-way accident makes you permanently disabled, you may have a right to compensation for your lost earning capacity.
This element of damages can be difficult to establish and may require hiring an expert witness who can calculate what your lifetime earnings were predicted to be before the accident and what they are now. A similar process may be necessary to establish the value of loss of support if the accident caused the death of your loved one.
A lawyer may be able to help negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf that accounts for these damages.
The Insurance Company Offers a Settlement
If you are offered a settlement, it is important that you carefully evaluate it and determine whether it fairly compensates you for the full extent of your damages. You may not know the full value of your claim or realize the needs you will have in the future.
A personal injury lawyer works with these claims on a routine basis and may advise you whether a settlement is fair or if you should negotiate for a better offer.
Contact Our Personal Injury Team Today for Help
A Myrtle Beach wrong way accident lawyer from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to help you during this difficult time. We understand how a wrong-way accident can change your life in an instant.
Our team may be able to investigate your claim, gather evidence regarding liability and your damages, and negotiate with the insurance company while you focus on your recovery. Call us today or fill out our online contact form to get started on your claim.
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