Sinkhole Accidents - Traffic Nightmares in South Carolina
Sinkholes are craters that collapse and open up in the ground due to heavy storms or underlying road conditions. In Charleston, Georgetown, and throughout the Upstate, sinkhole accidents can cause chaos for motorists, often increasing the likelihood of injury. The following outlines why sinkholes are so common and highlight several recent examples of sinkholes that have developed throughout the state over the course of this year.
Sinkholes in South Carolina
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) advises that sinkholes are common in places where the underlying ground is made up of limestone, salt beds, carbonate rocks or any rock that is easily dissolved in water. Sinkholes tend to form slowly then suddenly collapse, resulting in craters that can range in size from no larger than a pothole to up to ten feet deep and several acres across in width. Whereas some areas plagued with sinkholes undergo major repairs, others are simply allowed to fill with water, eventually becoming natural lakes and ponds.
In South Carolina, carbonate rock and sediment lies beneath the surface in many counties, making sinkholes common in our state. Mapping from the Department of Natural Resources shows that areas throughout North Charleston, Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, and around Lake Moultrie are among those most vulnerable to collapse.
Recent Sinkholes in Our Area
Water is a significant factor in sinkhole formation and can be attributed both to natural causes such as heavy rains and storms, as well as due to manmade issues, such as water main breaks. Hurricane Matthew produced an uptick in sinkholes last year, many resulting in property damage and sinkhole accidents. Those that have occurred this year have largely affected highways and roads throughout the state, such as the following:
- In September 2017, a WCBD News 2 reported on a sinkhole that required road closures along East Bay Street in downtown Charleston. It developed between South Market and Cumberland Streets as the result of a water main break.
- In July 2017, US News & World Report shared a story about one of the larger sinkholes to impact our area this year, occurring near the approach of a bridge in Hodges, SC. Located on the main highway in Greenwood County that sees traffic from more than 4,200 vehicles a day, engineers attributed the cause to heavy rains. Of the several sinkholes that occurred, one was estimated at roughly 10 feet in depth.
- In May 2017, The State reported a crater in Chester County roughly five feet wide and four feet deep, which was discovered only after a motorist inadvertently drove head first into it, sustaining injuries.
Been In An Accident? Get Help Today
When injuries result from sinkhole accidents, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages either through an insurance claim or by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. Call or contact us online today and request a free consultation to discuss the available options in your case. We serve clients in Charleston and throughout the Lowcountry and Upstate, providing the experienced legal representation you need to ensure your best chance of recovery.