A head-on collision in Chester County, South Carolina (SC), on the night of February 3, 2017, left both drivers dead. The fatal crash happened on U.S. 21, about two miles north of the town of Fort Lawn, and investigators believe they know which driver was at fault.
According to news reports, the innocent victim was 48-year-old Jennifer Lyles Zills of Rock Hill. She was traveling north on the two-lane rural highway when a Kia sedan crossed the center line and hit her car. She died at the scene, while the other woman involved in the wreck succumbed to her injuries shortly after being transported to a hospital.
Police could not immediately determine why the driver of the Kia lost control and entered the path of oncoming traffic. Common reasons for such potentially deadly errors include falling asleep at the wheel, becoming distracted by a smartphone or GPS device, speeding around a curve, and experiencing a mechanical failure such as a tire blowout.
The roadway where this fatal head-on happened is marked with a solid yellow line and a broken yellow line, which makes it a no-passing zone. The woman behind the wheel of the Kia was bound by law to stay in the southbound lane and to the right of the dashes. Failing do so, investigators told reporters, cost both her and another person’s life.
If any of the reasons like taking her eyes off the road, fatigue or failing to keep her in car in proper repair caused the at-fault driver to cross the center line of U.S. 21 in Chester County, her insurance company would be on the hook for settling wrongful death claims brought by the other victim’s family. This would be true even though the at-fault driver also died. Insurance coverage will remain in effect until all legitimate claims are settled or otherwise resolved.
Having neither person involved in the wreck alive to give testimony will complicate the case, which is a good reason to hire an experienced Carolina wrongful death attorney. A dedicated and knowledgeable legal adviser and representative will make sure that claims do not get dismissed for lack of evidence.
Another concern may be that the at-fault driver lacked sufficient coverage to compensate the grieving family for their financial losses and emotional suffering. If that is true, invoking underinsured motorist provisions of their loved one’s own auto insurance policy may be possible. A Carolina wrongful death attorney will be able to offer guidance on how to do this.