For this month’s MKLG Blog, I have selected the subject of automobile accidents, especially here in South Carolina. I have handled the claims of personal injury victims of all types, including death claims, for over 40 years. While I would not cite myself as an authority on too many topics, I believe I have a great deal of insight into automobile accidents and the resulting devastation they cause to individuals here in the Palmetto State.
The National Safety Council released some alarming statistics this year. Nationally, there were 40,000 traffic deaths in 2016. This number was 6% over 2015 and 40% over the 2014 figures. This was the highest total in 53 years, and is alarming to say the least. My personal opinion is that accidents are happening with increasing regularity because drivers here in South Carolina are in too much of a hurry. They speed, they cut corners and they take unnecessary chances. If everyone would slow down and drive at or below the speed limit, I predict you would see a substantial drop in injuries and fatalities. My pet peeve is trying to pull out of the street from my neighborhood onto Trenholm Road and watching the cars zip by like they are going to a fire. I hate to say it, but I predict a fatality there one day unless traffic safety measures are enacted on Trenholm Road. Other key causes of auto accidents are texting while driving and other cell phone usage, and driving while impaired, whether it be drugs or alcohol.
There are numerous suggestions to improve safety, such as greater enforcement (especially to catch speeders), ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers, a three-tiered licensing system for all new drivers under the age of 21, adopting comprehensive programs for pedestrian safety and my favorite: reinstating motorcycle helmet laws here in South Carolina. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why we have not done this already. I am hoping and praying for an improvement in our injury/fatality statistics in South Carolina.
What should you do if you are injured or lose a loved one due to an automobile accident?
1. Besides the obvious, requiring a police officer to write up a report (except in the most minor accidents);
2. Reporting it to your insurance carrier immediately; and
3. If you are injured, consulting a competent lawyer. I would further suggest you check out the lawyer personally and not rely solely on the TV ads.
Lawyers who promise a quick result are not the way to go, particularly if you are substantially injured. You need a lawyer who will take the time to give your case the attention it deserves. I am biased, but believe there is no finer team to handle a personal injury claim in South Carolina than the folks here at the Mike Kelly Law Group!
For additional information I suggest you go on the National Safety Council website www.nsc.org/ and ours www.mklawgroup.com/