A South Carolina woman lost her life recently in a crash with a dump truck. The 73-year-old Summerville woman suffered fatal injuries when the vehicle she was traveling in was hit by a dump truck while attempting a left-hand turn on the morning of September 12, 2014.

Although emergency responders airlifted the woman to the Medical University of South Carolina for treatment, she died of her injuries that afternoon. Another occupant, who had been driving the vehicle at the time of the crash, suffered minor injuries. The driver of the dump truck was reportedly unharmed.

The recent dump truck crash was not the first of its kind to take place in South Carolina this year. In April, a 31-year-old man was killed in a similar crash after his vehicle was struck by a dump truck in Columbia. In that case, however, it was the dump truck that was attempting to execute a left turn and crossed into the path of the victim's vehicle.

Left-turn accidents

Left-turn accidents are one of the most common motor vehicle crash types in the United States. According to federal data, more than half of all path-crossing accidents involve left turns, while only about one in 20 involves a right turn.

These crashes often occur as a result of distracted driving when a left-turning driver fails to notice an oncoming vehicle, or when an oncoming driver runs a stop light or stop sign and collides with a vehicle that is turning left. Another common cause of left-turn accidents is a turning driver's failure to correctly judge the speed and distance of an oncoming vehicle, which can cause him or her to underestimate the amount of time needed to complete the left turn.

Motorcycles are particularly at risk

As the recent South Carolina crashes illustrate, left-turn accidents can involve vehicles of all kinds - including dump trucks. Motorcycles are especially vulnerable to left-turn accidents as a result of their relatively small size, which can make them more difficult for other drivers to spot.

A study by Texas Tech University psychologist Pat DeLucia suggests that motorcycles' small size may also make it more difficult for other drivers to accurately estimate their distance and traveling speed, thus increasing the likelihood of left-turn accidents. The study was published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. A 2009 report from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows that more than one-third of fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle attempting to turn left in front of a motorcycle.

Hurt in a crash? Speak to a lawyer about your options

If you or a family member has been hurt in a crash in South Carolina, you may have the opportunity to recover financial compensation for the damages you have suffered as a result of the crash, such as lost wages, medical costs and other losses. Be sure to discuss the details of your situation with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out more about your legal rights and the options that are available to you.