A car accident, involving three vehicles, has resulted in criminal charges for a South Carolina man, according to police.  The accident occurred on U.S. 701 near Conway, South Carolina.  A 24-year-old man, swerved his car into incoming traffic lanes leading to his striking an incoming vehicle head-on, thereafter he swerved back into the original lane.  When the driver re-entered his lane, he struck a van.  Nine people were injured including the driver.

The driver is being charged with driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license.  However, in addition to these criminal charges, the driver may be liable in civil court for personal injuries and property damage.   Under South Carolina personal injury law, the victims of a car accident caused by negligence of another party may look to reimbursement for an injury by pursuing a negligence action.

Negligence Elements Generally in South Carolina:

(1)   A duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff

(2)   A breach of that duty by a negligent act or omission

(3)   Damages proximately resulting from the breach

Elements Defined:

(1)   A duty of care is the standard of conduct the law requires of an actor in order to protect others against the risk of harm from his actions.  It adheres to the principle that the plaintiff should not be called to suffer harm to his person or property which is foreseeable and which can be avoided by the defendant’s exercise of reasonable care.  The duty to act may arise from statute, contract, relationship, status, property interest, or some other special circumstance.

(2)   The plaintiff must also show that the defendant did not use the amount of care one ordinarily would have under the circumstances.  If the plaintiff shows a duty arising from a statute and the defendant violated a statute, the element is met by proof of negligence per se.  In a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must show that the defendant departed from the recognized and generally accepted standards, practices and procedures.

(3)   Next, the plaintiff must show the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injury.  The South Carolina Supreme Court has said that causation requires proof of (a) causation in fact, and (b) legal cause.  Causation in fact is proved by establishing the injury would not have occurred but for the defendants negligence.  Legal cause is proven by establishing foreseeability.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident of any kind, schedule a consultation with Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP.  We understand that an accident can turn one’s life upside down, and we are here to make your life easier.  Contact our Baxter Village office in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999.