Speeding is not only illegal, it unnecessarily increases the risk of a catastrophic accident. The criminal courts can make sure that a speeding driver who hurts others will be punished.
But to recover compensation for their injuries, victims need to file a civil lawsuit against the driver. Were you or a loved one injured by a speeding driver? Talk to our Greenville, SC car accident attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. about your legal rights.
How Speeding Contributes to Serious Accidents
Speeding car accidents tend to be far more dangerous and deadly. A speeding driver has little time to react to changing conditions, such as a car turning onto the road. This makes it likelier that the driver will act abruptly, for instance by swerving the vehicle to avoid a crash. If that doesn’t cause an accident, an overcorrection often does.
More speed also increases the sheer force of the vehicle colliding either with a stationary object or another automobile. The sheer physics of this makes the accident more impactful, which can result in significant injuries or fatalities. One car hitting another at 75 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone is much worse than striking it at the posted speed limit.
Speeding is a significant factor in nearly 30% of all automobile accident deaths, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). High speed claims the lives of approximately 12,000 people every year. Those who survive their accidents may face years of painful recovery — if they recover at all — and permanent disabilities.
Why Do Drivers Speed?
The reasons for speeding are as varied as the drivers who speed. However, that reasoning is crucial to know because it is the victim’s duty to explain how the at-fault driver was responsible for causing the accident. A few of the most common reasons motorists drive over the speed limit include:
- Running late to work, a medical appointment, or some other event
- Being in a hurry to arrive at one’s destination
- Feeling pressure to keep up with the flow of traffic
- Being on a long trip and seeing no other drivers (or law enforcement) in the immediate vicinity
- Failing to pay attention due to distractions such as talking on the phone or listening to the radio
- Experiencing the thrill of breaking the law and getting away with it
Regardless of the reasons why someone might speed, it’s illegal and dangerous. Every driver owes everyone else on the road a duty to drive safely, which includes obeying the speed limit.
Speeding Ticket Consequences in Greenville, SC
Speeding in South Carolina can take various forms, including:
- Driving over the speed limit
- Driving too fast for the weather conditions
- Driving too fast through a school zone or residential area
- Driving too fast in a construction zone
A driver who violates these rules can face both criminal and civil penalties. As far as criminal consequences, these can include a fine of up to $200 or even jail time if the speed was excessive. Driving 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit may result in an immediate driver’s license suspension.
Civil repercussions arise if the speeding driver gets into an accident that causes injury. The accident victim can file a lawsuit against the driver and his or her insurance company to recover compensation for damages stemming from the wreck.
Liability in Speeding Car Accidents
Although an accident victim bears the burden of demonstrating the defendant’s irresponsible conduct, this can be done by showing that the defendant’s negligence was in violation of the law. This is known as negligence per se.
Negligence per se means that an individual is deemed to have acted in a negligent manner if he or she broke certain laws. As opposed to the four elements required for a standard negligence claim, the victim only has to prove three, which is often easier.
In a negligence per se case, the victim must prove:
- The defendant broke a law
- The law was intended to protect the victim from the kind of harm he or she experienced
- The plaintiff is a member of the class of persons that the law is intended to protect
An individual who is hurt by a speeding driver may be able to pursue a claim against that person using the negligence per se doctrine. If the victim can show that the defendant was speeding when the wreck happened and that the speeding caused the wreck, he or she will likely prevail in the lawsuit. A jury must then decide the amount of damages to award the plaintiff.
Proving that the at-fault party was speeding at the time of the accident can be challenging, which is why it’s essential to retain the services of an experienced attorney. A lawyer can use a number of tools to obtain evidence that speeding was involved, such as:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Traffic and surveillance cameras
- Dashcam footage
- Police reports
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene
Accident reconstruction can also be useful. An expert witness can analyze the evidence from the accident scene to determine whether speed was a factor.
We have experience developing expert witness testimony in court to show that the defendant was speeding and to make the strongest possible claim for the victim’s legal damages.
Compensation for Victims in Speeding Car Accidents
Accident victims can demand damages to cover a variety of losses, such as:
- Medical bills, including for hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and much more
- Lost wages due to time recovering from injuries
- Lost earning capacity if the victim is unable to return to the same job as before the wreck
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
Let Our Greenville, SC Legal Team Fight for You
If you were hurt by a driver who was speeding, you have the right to hold the driver accountable and seek compensation for your injuries. It starts with retaining the right legal counsel. Talk to our attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. today to get started.