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DUI Accidents and Wrongful Death Lawsuits in SC

A former teacher of the year has been charged with felony DUI resulting in death after a traffic accident that killed an off-duty North Charleston police officer.

Officer Ryan MacCluen, 31, died after a car pulled out in front of his motorcycle. A SC Highway Patrol officer charged the driver of the car, a teacher at Burke High School, after administering field sobriety tests.

The fatal crash happened less than an hour after an SUV pulled out in front of another officer and his K-9 partner, killing the dog and sending Officer Brandon VanAusdal to the hospital. The driver in that wreck was charged with felony DUI with great bodily injury.

DUI Accidents Can Happen to Anyone

If any headline emphasizes the fact that this can happen to anyone, it's "Police officer dies in DUI crash with Teacher of the Year."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 10,000 people die in DUI accidents every year, and many more are injured.

No matter a person's standing in the community or the likelihood that an accident like this would happen to them, they are liable for the damage caused by their choice to get behind the wheel after drinking - in one case, for the senseless death of a police officer in our community, and in the other for another police officer's injuries and the death of his K-9 partner.

Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable in SC Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you have been injured in an auto accident and the other driver was impaired by alcohol or other drugs, you have a good chance of recovering damages in a personal injury lawsuit. You not only are likely to recover damages, but, if you have a competent auto accident attorney who is willing to try your case, the insurance company is likely to pay more than the average car wreck settlement.

In the above cases, there are three reasons the insurance companies will avoid trial if they can:

1) The injured plaintiff in one case and the deceased plaintiff in the second case are police officers who, as far as we know, are pillars in their community. They are extremely sympathetic plaintiffs who were hurt or killed through no fault of their own, and someone needs to pay for what happened;

2) The defendants, although one was also a school teacher and an important person in her community, made the choice to get drunk and get behind the wheel. That choice led to terrible tragedy and anguish for their victim's family and the community, and a drunk-driver-defendant is possibly the least sympathetic defendant to a jury in SC; and

3) Because the drivers were drunk, assuming that is proven, there is a high likelihood that jurors will award punitive damages against the defendants.

Got Axelrod?

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash with a drunk driver, we want to help. Schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.

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