Riding a bicycle near traffic is extremely dangerous due to the possibility of collisions with automobiles. When a cyclist is seriously injured or killed, contacting a personal injury lawyer is the best way to receive advice regarding how to pay for medical bills and other costs associated with the accident. There are also special lawsuits that can be filed by the victim’s family when someone dies in a traffic accident.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office was in the process of investigating a collision between a car and a bicycle that proved to be fatal.
Bicycle collides with car on Highway 17 in fatal accident
After their initial investigation, a public information officer with the department stated that the accident happened on Highway 17 northbound in Ravenel at about 5 pm on a Saturday night. All of the northbound lanes near Branton Road were closed while the debris were cleared and the victim was treated. For several hours, police had to re-route traffic through Miley Hill Road and Burbage II Mobile Home Park while the area was being secured. There was no information released regarding the identity of the cyclist or if criminal charges would be filed against the driver responsible.
Who will be responsible for paying for the victim’s damages?
Whether someone is riding in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or any other type of vehicle, the crucial legal determination will be to find who is at fault for the accident. Fault is essentially another term for the element of causation. In other words, the driver who actually caused the accident by their careless driving should be held responsible for paying the damages of the injured parties.
A lawyer who focuses in accidents will use various kinds of evidence such as accident and police reports, testimony from witnesses, and medical records to make sure the victim is compensated properly. The legal term for the sum of these amounts is also a crucial element in a negligence case called damages. The attorney also advocates on their client’s behalf to make sure they are compensated as completely as possible.
Accidents that involve fatalities
Because this accident involved a cyclist who was killed by a driver, the victim will obviously not be around to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault. However, there is a special type of civil lawsuit called a wrongful death action that is available after fatal accidents. These cases have a few special rules that make them slightly different from standard negligence and personal injury cases.
When someone is killed in an accident, a wrongful death action is really the only meaningful civil remedy available to the family. This allows a victim’s family members, usually a surviving spouse, child, or parent, to file a lawsuit on the deceased person’s behalf. A wrongful death action will pay for things like medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages related to emotional harm that the family must endure. This is not a criminal action, and the wrongful death case can be filed by a family even if the defendant is never charged by the state, or eventually acquitted.
Negligence cases in South Carolina
All kinds of personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death cases, follow the state’s negligence principles. A negligence case is the legal term for the type of lawsuit that seeks damages from the driver at fault for not being careful enough on the roads. South Carolina has specific negligence laws just like every other state, and they are all slightly different depending on the jurisdiction.
Modified Comparative Negligence
There is a modified version of the comparative negligence doctrine on the books in the state. This means that a plaintiff who is partially at fault for an accident can still collect money from the defendant, as long as their level of fault is the lesser of the two. Fault percentages are a factual determination made by the jury at the conclusion of a trial.
In other words, a plaintiff who is found by a jury to be ten percent at fault for an accident can still collect ninety percent of the money they are owed. However, if they are found to be sixty percent at fault for the accident, where the defendant is forty percent at fault, they cannot collect anything. A similar set of rules regarding fault applies to accidents that involve multiple parties. This can become somewhat confusing, but a personal injury lawyer will explain how this doctrine will apply to your case.
Speak with a local attorney in the Charleston area
If you want to discuss an accident with a personal injury lawyer who serves Charleston and nearby parts of South Carolina, contact the Clekis Law Firm. You will receive legal advice and guidance during a free consultation.