Through the first half of 2018, the number of individuals killed on Spartanburg County roads stands at 27. That number is double where it stood last year at the same time. With the deadliest part of the year in terms of traffic fatalities set to begin, law enforcement officials are concerned that the number of fatalities will only continue to climb.
Overall deaths in South Carolina for 2018 are down versus 2017. However, that provides little comfort for police and first responders in Spartanburg County. With gas prices relatively low and the economy doing well, it is likely that the number of drivers on the road will be high, and with more drivers come more accidents.
Most often, fatalities occur when individuals fail to use their seat belts. Speed and drinking and driving are other large contributors to the fatality numbers, with texting and driving climbing the list as well.
In any accident involving injury or death, claims for personal injury and damage to property arise. These claims are often based on theories of negligence – a showing that one individual failed to act like a reasonable person, and that failure led to harm to another person. Failure to use a seatbelt in South Carolina cannot be used as a defense, so if a speeding driver struck another vehicle and the driver in that vehicle was not wearing a seatbelt and was killed, the speeding driver may not use the fact that the driver was not wearing a seat belt to defend any claim for wrongful death.
South Carolina uses what is called the “modified comparative negligence” standard to assess liability of the parties. Modified comparative negligence means that an injured party may see his or her damages reduced, or even denied, if he or she were partially at fault. If the injured party is 51 percent or more at fault for their injuries, they are not entitled to any recovery.
However, all this discussion about assignment of fault and reductions in damages is irrelevant when someone has died. Do not become a part of the Spartanburg County boom in automobile deaths. Wear your seatbelt. Obey the speed limit. Do not drink and drive. And finally, put the phone away.
South Carolina personal injury attorney Ladson Howell of Howell & Christmas Injury Attorneys dedicates his practice to general plaintiffs’ personal injury litigation. Attorney Howell has served for ten years on the Executive Committee for the Charleston County Bar Association. He can be found on Google+ and YouTube.