November 15, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Car accidents can happen for many different reasons. Most people are familiar with accidents caused by speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving. However, not everyone realizes that poor roadway design is also a significant contributing cause of South Carolina car accidents.
In fact, a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked South Carolina as having the most dangerous highways in the entire country. Though the rankings were based on a number of factors, the condition of the state's infrastructure played a major role.
South Carolina's dangerous roadways put all motorists at risk of being seriously injured or killed in a traffic accident. Take, for example, a 2007 crash in Conway that left a young woman dead. The accident occurred at the intersection of Highway 501 and East Cox Ferry Road, which, at the time, was not controlled by any traffic lights. The woman died after her vehicle was hit in the side by a truck.
After the accident, the woman's family wanted to make sure that no one else would suffer a similar fate. They went around the neighborhood gathering signatures in an effort to convince the South Carolina Department of transportation to install stoplights at the busy intersection. Eventually, they succeeded.
Reporting unsafe roads in South Carolina
During their quest, the family discovered that South Carolina actually has a process in place for residents to report concerns about unsafe roads. Now, they want everyone to be aware of this process. They hope that by spreading the word, they can help prevent future highway defect accidents from occurring.
Anyone who wants to report an unsafe road can call the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) at 855-GO-SCDOT (855-467-2368) or send a letter to the SCDOT Communications office in Columbia. After the complaint is received, SCDOT will dispatch an investigator to look into the situation and determine what, if any, corrective action should be taken.
Of course, SCDOT's ability to make any improvements is contingent on the agency's ability to secure sufficient funding to do so.
South Carolina road defect lawsuits
When a car accident is caused by another person's negligence, injured victims -- and the families of those who were wrongfully killed -- can bring personal injury lawsuits against the responsible parties. Most commonly, the defendants in these lawsuits are negligent drivers. However, victims can also take action against those responsible for negligent road design, construction or maintenance.
In many of these cases, the defendant will be the state of South Carolina, SCDOT or a unit of local government. It is also possible to bring a lawsuit against a contractor, design firm or construction company that was responsible for creating dangerous road conditions.
No matter who the defendant is, it is important to recognize that road defect cases are considerably more complex than car accident lawsuits involving simple driving negligence. Often there will need to be significant accident reconstruction and expert testimony. In addition, lawsuits against units of government involve procedural complexities that are not present in lawsuits against private entities. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a dangerous road design, contact an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney who can help you pursue just compensation.