Drunk driving appears to have claimed another innocent life in South Carolina. A fatal head-on collision on Augusta Road in Aiken County has dawn DUI charges against the surviving, at-fault driver who crossed the center line of the highway and collided with an oncoming car. The deadly crash occurred on the afternoon of April 3, 2015. Two passengers in the car driven by the 75-year-old woman who died in the wreck also suffered injuries serious enough to require hospital treatment.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the friends and family members of the deceased victim. We also wish the injured passengers full and rapid returns to health. For the driver accused of inflicting that loss and the physical wounds, we can only hope that her pending criminal prosecution provides a lesson to others about the terrible consequences of taking the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Every drunk or stoned driver is a potential killer.
We cannot yet know, of course, whether the woman charged with DUI in relation to the deadly South Carolina wreck will be found guilty, face jail time or be made to pay court-ordered fines. However, causing a serious traffic accident that leaves other people hospitalized and dead almost always makes a driver liable for settling victims' insurance claims and paying civil damages. When such an accident results from drunk or drugged driving, the at-fault driver can also be required to pay punitive damages to compensate for the harms they inflicted while behaving with reckless disregard for others.
Certainly, no amount of money can replace a loved one's companionship, support and presence. Working with a victim's advocate to ensure that financial amends get made, however, can bring a sense of justice, aid with closure and ensure that dealing with accident-related expenses does not become a second form of victimization.