How Dangerous Is I-20 in Columbia?

How Dangerous Is I-20 in Columbia?

Interstate 20 (I-20) stretches across multiple states and serves as a critical east-west artery for commerce and transportation in South Carolina. Unfortunately, local Columbia drivers know its dangerous reputation too well.

Poor road conditions and hazardous driving behavior highlight the perils of traveling and commuting on I-20. Understanding what makes I-20 so dangerous can help you avoid the risks, navigate any legal claims, and recover compensation owed to you after an accident. Reach out to a car accident lawyer.

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How Frequent and Dangerous Are Accidents Along I-20 in Columbia?

How Dangerous Is I-20 in Columbia?

Congested traffic, impatient drivers, and construction in the Columbia area can increase the risks of accidents and injuries on I-20. The Carolina Crossroads Project, for example, where I-20 meets interstates 20 and 126 in West Columbia, is so notorious for accidents that residents call it Malfunction Junction.

I-20 is statistically one of the most dangerous highways around Columbia, as figures for the number of accidents each year show. While annual numbers vary, I-20 remains a dangerous roadway with a higher chance of collisions resulting in serious injuries.

Other highways in South Carolina that see higher-than-average accident rates include:

  • Interstate 95: Known for its heavy traffic and frequent accidents, including multi-vehicle and truck-related incidents, this highway runs through South Carolina from north to south.
  • Interstate 26: This road connects Charleston to Spartanburg and sees high accident rates, particularly in congested areas and during inclement weather.
  • U.S. Highway 17: This major coastal route experiences heavy traffic and has seen many accidents in recent years.
  • South Carolina Highway 9: This two-lane road is dangerous because of its narrow width, lack of dividers, and history of head-on collisions.

Safe driving practices and adherence to traffic laws are crucial for minimizing the risk of accidents. These highways may have higher accident rates due to heavy traffic, driver behavior, and road conditions. If you plan to travel on these roads, stay alert, follow traffic rules, and exercise caution to ensure your safety and the safety of others.

If you're involved in an accident along I-20, a personal injury attorney can fight to obtain compensation on your behalf.

What Causes Accidents on I-20 in Columbia?

Driver behavior and road conditions are the most frequent cause of traffic accidents. Understanding this can help improve road safety and support your case after an accident. Investigating the contributing factors to your accident will also help your attorney seek the best legal outcome if you have an accident along I-20 or any other highway in South Carolina.

Distracted Driving

Texting, talking on the phone, or eating while driving may divert a driver's attention from the road and increase the risk of an accident. The prevalence of smartphones and in-vehicle technology also increases the risk of distraction. Approximately two crashes occur every hour in South Carolina because of a distracted driver. 

Driving While Intoxicated

Consuming alcohol or drugs before driving, including some prescription medications, can impair a driver's ability to make safe decisions, react appropriately to traffic conditions, and maintain vehicle control.

Driving under the influence remains a concern on I-20 in Columbia despite ongoing efforts by local law enforcement to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. The number of bars, restaurants, and events in the Columbia area further contributes to an increased risk of impaired drivers on the highway.

Aggressive Driving

South Carolina ranks seventh in the nation for poor driving. Tailgating, frequent lane changing, sudden braking, and excessive speeding can all create hazardous conditions on I-20.

Poor Road Conditions on I-20

Road conditions, traffic patterns, and traffic volume all contribute to accidents.

Potholes, poor roadway markings, and deteriorating road surfaces can cause drivers to brake or swerve suddenly. Limited or confusing signage, insufficient lighting, construction zones, and detours can further complicate the situation. A mixture of experienced commuters and tourists unfamiliar with the area can aggravate these issues, increasing the risks for anyone traveling through Columbia on I-20.

Weather can also affect road safety by lowering visibility, decreasing traction, and affecting overall driving safety. Rain, snow, wind, and fog can increase the risk of accidents, especially when drivers don't adjust their driving to match conditions or if road maintenance is inadequate. An attorney can seek compensation on your behalf if road conditions contribute to your accident.

Improving Safety on I-20

To enhance the safety of I-20 in Columbia, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) schedules major projects and ongoing maintenance and repairs.

Their safety improvement efforts take multiple approaches, including:

  • Implementing better traffic management strategies.
  • Improving road quality.
  • Increasing speed limit enforcement.
  • Promoting awareness campaigns that target dangerous driving.

These projects might reduce the frequency and severity of accidents over time, making I-20 a safer route for everyone. 

The responsibility of preventing accidents and maintaining safety on I-20 in Columbia lies primarily with each driver. By practicing safe driving habits, such as obeying speed limits, maintaining a safe following distance, staying alert, and avoiding distractions, we can all play a part in reducing the risk of accidents and improving safety for everyone. 

None of this can make I-20 completely safe, unfortunately. If you or a loved one has an accident along I-20, call an attorney to protect your rights.

Potential Compensation After a Traffic Accident on I-20 in Columbia

After an accident on I-20 in Columbia, you need a car accident lawyer. Your attorney will navigate the complex legal process, protecting your rights and getting you the compensation you deserve for any injuries and losses. 

Determining who's responsible for an accident is one of the most critical aspects of a personal injury claim in an at-fault state such as South Carolina. Your attorney will work to establish liability for the accident, whether it's another driver, a construction company, a government agency responsible for maintaining the highway, or multiple parties.

Establishing liability may include obtaining police reports, reviewing accident photos, and collecting witness statements. Your attorney may consult experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals, to provide insight into the accident's cause and how your injuries affect your life, potentially resulting in compensation.

Insurance Claims

Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, and provide accurate and detailed information about the incident. Your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to evaluate the damage and injuries. They may inspect your vehicle, review medical records, and assess other relevant evidence to determine the extent of the claim.

Once the claims adjuster assesses the damage, they'll negotiate a settlement. This offer may cover property damage, medical expenses, lost earnings, and other applicable costs. Your lawyer can review this settlement offer and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

If you can't reach a satisfactory settlement through negotiations, your attorney may suggest filing a lawsuit against the responsible party.

Personal Injury Claims

In South Carolina, if you sustain injuries in a car accident due to someone else's negligence, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.

The statute of limitations is a time limit within which you must file a personal injury claim. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for car accident injury claims is generally three years from the date of the accident. Beginning legal proceedings within this timeframe is crucial, as failing to do so may result in losing your right to seek compensation.

To successfully pursue a personal injury claim, you must demonstrate the following elements of negligence:

  • Duty of care: The other driver owed you a duty to drive safely and responsibly.
  • Breach of duty: The other driver failed to fulfill their responsibilities by acting negligently or recklessly.
  • Causation: The other driver's breach of duty directly caused the accident and your injuries.
  • Damages: You suffered damages, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, or property damage.

Each personal injury claim is unique, and the specific details of your case may influence the outcome. Seeking legal guidance early on can help protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Your lawyer will assess the strength of your case, guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and, if necessary, represent you in court.

Wrongful Death Claims

If the unimaginable occurs and you lose a loved one in an accident, your attorney may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

In South Carolina, attorneys hired by the personal representative of the deceased person's estate may pursue a wrongful death claim when another party's negligence, recklessness, or intentional act causes another person's death.

Surviving family members or the people named in the deceased person's will can recover compensation for damages resulting from the death. They include the deceased person's surviving spouse, children, or parents. If none are available, the right may pass to other heirs, such as siblings or grandparents.

Damages can include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages may include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost earnings, and loss of future financial support. Non-economic damages may encompass pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress the surviving family members experience.

Additional Insurance Coverage

While South Carolina does require minimum levels of auto insurance, some uninsured and underinsured drivers are still on the road. If one of these drivers is at fault in your accident, your insurance may provide additional compensation if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy.

SCDOT Claims

The SCDOT maintains I-20. After an accident, you can file a claim with the department under certain circumstances. Your lawyer will review your case and advise if your situation meets the state's eligibility requirements. You may be able to claim if the state knew about poor road maintenance issues on I-20, didn't do anything to fix it, and those road maintenance issues contributed to your car accident. 

Contact a Lawyer if an Accident on I-20 in Columbia Injured You

Jeff Morris, Car Accident Attorney
Jeff Morris, Car Accident Attorney

Car accident laws can be complex, and it can be challenging for someone without legal knowledge to understand them fully. A lawyer can explain your rights and navigate the legal process while you focus on recovering from your accident. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

An experienced car accident injury lawyer can evaluate the merits of your case, including reviewing evidence and estimating the potential value of your claim. Your attorney will also deal with the insurance companies, work to prove liability, and pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, property damage, and other applicable damages.

Reach out to a lawyer today to increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your accident on I-20.


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At Morris Law Accident Injury Lawyers, we have provided compassionate and aggressive counsel to personal injury victims in Horry County, Aiken County, and throughout South Carolina since 2016. We are available 24/7/365 days of the year. Reach out and get your case evaluated at no cost.