Charleston Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
Motor vehicle accidents occur at an alarming rate. According to a recent publication by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety:
- A motor vehicle accident occurs every 4.4 minutes;
- A motor vehicle accident injury occurs every 15.4 minutes; and
- A motor vehicle accident with a fatality occurs every 11.6 hours.
In 2014 alone, there were a total of 119,173 reported motor vehicle accidents in South Carolina with 53,029 reports of injuries. Similar statistics exist in other states across the country, including in North Carolina. With the ever increasing number of vehicles on the road, drivers and passengers are in need of competent legal representation now more than ever.
Our motor vehicle accident attorneys at Clawson and Staubes have handled thousands of claims and cases involving cars, trucks, vans, buses, tractor trailers, motorcycles, mopeds, golf carts and bicycles. We have handled multi-vehicle accidents, single vehicle accidents and vehicle vs. bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
There are numerous causes of motor vehicle accidents. Some accidents originate from careless acts, including disregarding signs/signals, failure to yield the right-of-way, following too closely, improper lane usage/change, improper turn and driving too fast for conditions. Other causes arise from reckless acts, which, depending upon the circumstances, may include significantly exceeding the speed limit, distracted driving due to cell phone usage, fatigued driving due to lack of rest and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Still other motor vehicle accidents may be caused by conditions outside the control of a driver, such as an animal or debris in the roadway, poor roadway design, poor roadway conditions, a malfunctioning traffic device, a vehicle design defect or a tire blowout.
When a person is injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, he or she may pursue various claims against the alleged at-fault driver. One of the most common claims is for negligence. A negligence claim requires the injured party to establish that the driver breached a duty in failing to act as a reasonable person would have under the same or similar circumstances, which proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries or damages. A negligence per se claim requires the injured party to establish that the driver violated a safety statute or regulation, thus establishing the breach of a duty as a matter of law, and that this violation proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries or damages. Negligence per se is evidence of recklessness, which may give rise to punitive damages.
Negligent Entrustment and Family Purpose Doctrine
Injured parties sometimes assert a claim for negligent entrustment of a vehicle. These claims assert the entrusting of a dangerous instrumentality to a driver who was incompetent, unfit, inexperienced or reckless and the vehicle owner had knowledge of the driver’s dangerous propensities. Often, courts require the vehicle owner had knowledge that the driver’s involvement with alcohol and propensity to drive while intoxicated.
Less frequently, injured parties assert a claim for family purpose doctrine. These claims assert that the head of a family who owns, furnishes, and maintains a vehicle for the general use, pleasure and convenience of his family is liable for the negligence of a family member having general authority to operate the vehicle for such a purpose.
Motor vehicle accidents can range from low speed, minimal property damage fender benders with no injuries to high speed, major property damage collisions resulting in serious injury and death. Actual damages, depending on the circumstances, may include medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injury, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar conduct may also be recoverable under certain circumstances.
At Clawson and Staubes, our team of talented attorneys has considerable experience in representing clients in state and federal court actions arising out of motor vehicle accidents. Our firm provides a rapid response in injury cases in order to collect and preserve evidence, analyze the facts in order to assess viable causes of action and defenses, cultivate a comprehensive litigation plan, conduct the necessary discovery on issues including liability, causation and scope of damages and see the case through trial. Our firm has tried hundreds of motor vehicle accident cases across South Carolina and North Carolina, including soft tissue injury, spinal injury, traumatic brain injury and death cases.
Consult with a Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
If you are in need of a South Carolina or North Carolina motor vehicle accident attorney, our legal team at Clawson and Staubes is available to assist you. Contact us at (843)577-2026 to learn more about our services.