South Carolina Street RacingAuto Accidents
South Carolina Street racing might seem like a fun idea to come thrill-seekers, but it’s never as the movies portray it to be. Not only is street racing disruptive, but it also creates an unsafe environment for everyone in the vicinity.
If you’ve suffered injuries from a driver who was street racing, you should seek compensation for your injuries from the responsible party. A South Carolina car accident lawyer can help get you on the path to financial recovery.
What is Street Racing?
Street racing is the term used to describe a race between two or more vehicles on public roads or highways. Street racing is illegal and unsanctioned.
There are different types of street racing, but drag racing is one of the most popular. Drag racing involves only two vehicles driving straight to a finish line, only racing for a small, specified distance. Touge racing, also known as drifting, is a common type of street racing, requiring a driver to utilize a special driving technique.
Any type of street racing, while fun and exhilarating for drivers and onlookers, is extremely dangerous.
How Does Street Racing Take Place?
Street racing can happen at any time but most often at night when roads are emptier.
Racers choose an exact location and meet up in large groups. They frequently block roadways before beginning to avoid police intervention. These roadblocks make it easier for police to intervene, stop racers, and make arrests.
Street racing cars can either be new or older, often modified specifically for street racing.
Races can occur on popular streets, major highways, or local roads. The busier the street or interstate, the greater chance of someone getting hurt.
Street Racing Laws in South Carolina
Street racing is strictly illegal in South Carolina. The law makes it illegal to race on public roads, streets, or highways. It is also illegal for anyone to assist or facilitate a street race. The law also considers altering or “souping up” a vehicle to use it for racing as aiding or abetting.
Anyone that engages in street racing in South Carolina faces legal consequences. Street racing is a misdemeanor, with penalties including a maximum fine of $600 and/or up to six months in prison.
Offenders can also have their driver’s licenses suspended for up to one year. Additionally, if an individual allows someone to use their vehicle for street racing or if they host a street race on their property, they may also face the same consequences.
Street Racing Increases Chances of Car Accidents
During a street race, several dangers arise.
Generally, some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Aggressive driving
- Impaired driving
- Distracted driving
These same issues that frequently cause car accidents are also at issue during a street race, heightening the chance of car accidents and severe injury to others.
Speed is the hallmark of street racing. In a recent year, speeding killed 11,258 people. It creates danger for everyone, from the driver to others on the road.
When a driver speeds, there are consequences.
Speeding can cause:
- Loss of complete control over the vehicle
- Increased stopping distance
- Reduced effectiveness of vehicle safety equipment
- More significant injury in the event of a crash
Speeding itself is illegal for a reason. It is one of the riskiest driving behaviors a driver can engage in.
Aggressive driving is a term describing multiple driving behaviors. Simply put, a driver drives aggressively when they participate in dangerous behavior that ignores consequences and puts others at risk.
Street racing often involves driving maneuvers that easily create danger for the driver and everyone else in their surroundings. Usually, when a street racer is racing, they pay little to no attention to potentially negative outcomes, as their sole focus is winning and showing off.
It is common for street racers to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a race. When someone is under the influence, they should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Alcohol and drugs can have many effects on a driver, including blurred vision, loss of good judgment, and an inability to safely maneuver a vehicle.
Driving under the influence, like street racing, is illegal and carries severe consequences.
Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s attention off of driving. It’s common for street racers to become distracted by looking at other racers, taking photos or videos as they drive, or driving away to evade police.
When a driver’s eyes come off the road, one or both hands are off the steering wheel, or their mind drifts away from the task at hand, this is distracted driving. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents.
Street Racing Doesn’t Just Affect Other Drivers
While street racing can be dangerous for the racers, it can also pose a significant risk to bystanders.
Whether a person is intentionally stopping to watch the commotion or is simply walking past the scene of a street race, anyone on foot is in a dangerous position to get hit by a vehicle and potentially suffer severe injuries.
In many cases, bystanders can suffer more serious harm than individuals in vehicles due to the fact they have no protection from injury.
Injuries Resulting from Street Racing Collisions
Accidents caused by street racing are common and often result in serious injury to those involved. The severity of injuries usually depends on the particular situations, including how the accident occurred and the driving behaviors involved.
Some of the injuries victims of street racing accidents most frequently suffer include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding
Injuries from street racing accidents can be severe and require extensive medical treatment. It is possible to recover from many of these injuries, but in some cases, victims suffer injuries that result in long-lasting consequences, permanently affecting their lives.
Seeking Financial Recovery for a Street Racing Accident
If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident due to street racing, you may have the opportunity to seek compensation for your losses, financial and otherwise.
Whether your accident is a car accident or a pedestrian accident, you can pursue economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate you for the financial losses you suffer due to your accident and injuries. These damages are typically easier to prove, as evidence is readily available.
Economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Conversely, non-economic damages represent intangible losses experienced from a street racing accident. These damages are usually more challenging to prove, as concrete evidence is more difficult to obtain.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
Punitive damages are available in special cases where the defendant’s actions are not only negligent but rather willful or reckless. Unlike economic and non-economic damages that compensate victims for their losses, punitive damages mainly exist to punish defendants for their actions and deter future actors from engaging in the same behavior.
Strong evidence can substantially help build your case and prove your damages.
For street racing accidents, good evidence can include:
- Cell phone photos or videos
- Surveillance footage
- Street cam footage
- Police reports
- Arrest records
- Medical records
While calculating the case’s value is one of the toughest parts of a claim for damages, an accident attorney has the skills necessary to get it done. They know what evidence you need to successfully prove your losses and the most effective way to pursue the compensation you need and deserve.
Street Racing Accidents Resulting in a Death
In the most unfortunate cases, street racing accidents can result in a victim’s death. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one has died because of injuries sustained during a street race.
Wrongful death lawsuits allow a victim’s family to hold the responsible party accountable for their wrongdoing and obtain compensation for the losses they experience due to their loved one’s passing.
Available compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit depends on the details of the case but may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Loss of financial support and benefits the deceased provided
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering of the victim’s family
Punitive damages may also be available for wrongful death cases.
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In South Carolina, the personal representative of the victim’s estate must file the claim on behalf of the surviving family members. Any damages recovered in the lawsuit will then go to the family.
The family members eligible to receive compensation for wrongful death include:
- Other heirs
South Carolina law imposes a strict time restriction to pursue financial recovery for a loved one’s death. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in South Carolina is three years from the date of the death. If you fail to file your claim within three years, you may lose your right to ever obtain compensation for your loss.
If a loved one has passed away after their involvement in a street racing accident, a street race accident attorney can provide legal guidance and determine the best course of action to pursue fair financial recovery.
Helpful Steps to Take After an Accident Caused by Street Racing
After a street racing accident, you want to take appropriate steps to protect your rights to future compensation. To do so, try completing the following steps.
Seek Medical Attention
Sustaining injuries in a street racing accident is highly likely. Therefore, always be sure to receive medical care. Whether or not you get medical attention at the scene of the accident, always follow up with your physician.
Getting medical care is important but also taking your medical treatment seriously. Healthcare providers provide medical treatment plans for a reason, as following the plan helps you recover as much as possible from your injuries.
Failing to follow through with your medical treatment can send the wrong message to the insurance company or opposing party once you file a claim for damages. If you have any concerns or doubts regarding your medical treatment, discuss them with your doctor.
If possible, gather any evidence that can help your case. Evidence can include photos, video, and witness contact information. If you have legal representation, your lawyer can also obtain additional evidence while building your case. For example, your lawyer can obtain the police report from the accident, which might indicate that they arrested one or more drivers for street racing. Such arrests can help your case.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney
Schedule a meeting with a qualified accident lawyer as soon as possible. An accident attorney knows how to assess your damages and pursue fair and full financial recovery on your behalf.
A Lawyer Can Assist With Your Street Racing Accident Case
If you’ve been in a street racing accident and suffered unfortunate injuries, do not hesitate to discuss your case with a South Carolina car accident lawyer. Having an accident attorney on your side gives you the best chance to seek justice and compensation for your injuries and losses.
The law often limits the time to take legal action, so never wait to seek legal help to protect your rights. For more information, contact us.
Nathan Hughey, an attorney and fourth-generation South Carolinian, founded Hughey Law Firm in 2007. Before that, he spent five years defending nursing homes and insurance companies. Leveraging his experience, he now advocates for those injured or wronged by such entities, securing over $220 million in verdicts and settlements.