Columbia Car Accident Lawyer
Injured in a Car Wreck in Columbia, SC?
Bert Louthian, Columbia, SC car accident lawyer, can ask a court for compensation for your medical bills, repair bills, missed work and any other financial costs that the car accident caused, as well as for pain and suffering, permanent disability and other non-economic losses. In some cases, a car accident attorney may also be able to collect further money, called “punitive damages,” to punish a person or corporation for a particularly serious harm.
Even if you think you may bear some fault for your injuries, the chances are good that you can still collect damages. That’s because South Carolina uses comparative negligence that allows motorists to recover a percentage of their damages even if they were partially at fault.
For a free evaluation of your car accident case, call our law firm today for immediate help.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyer
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Automobile accidents are often devastating, but never more so than when they are caused by the carelessness of another party. Drivers engage in many dangerous and negligent behaviors on the roads. Some of the factors most likely to cause preventable accidents include:
Speeding — The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that speed is one of the most common factors in traffic accidents in Columbia and throughout South Carolina. In the majority of speeding-related crashes (55 percent), drivers were going over the speed limit. In the remainder of crashes, drivers are operating their vehicles too fast for road conditions.
Distracted Driving — 3,092 people died and another 416,000 were injured in 2010 as a result of distracted drivers, according to Distraction.gov.
Drunk Driving — The Centers for Disease Control report that 30 people each day die throughout the United States in drunk driving crashes. We are not immune in Columbia or statewide South Carolina, with drunk driving accidents taking too many lives each year.
Automotive Defects — Some car accidents result from problems with the vehicle itself. In those situations, it could be possible to recover damages from the companies responsible for the car’s defective design or construction.
Reckless Driving — Also called “aggressive driving,” this includes many dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, such as tailgating, unsafe lane changes and weaving in traffic.
Drowsy Driving — Studies show that driver fatigue is a major threat to highway safety in Columbia, South Carolina and across the country. Even if a drowsy driver manages to stay awake, reaction times and decision-making abilities are often impaired, which could cause a crash.
Other causes of car accidents include… drivers who disobey the rules of the road, such as failing to yield or failing to obey traffic signals, as well as drivers who simply behave in a careless way while driving. Following too closely and aggressive driving are also major contributors to car accidents in Columbia and across South Carolina. In any situation where a driver breaks the law or engages in behavior that is unreasonably careless, that driver can be held legally responsible for the damage that he or she caused. In legal terms, the driver is classified as negligent and can be sued for this negligence.
How Bad are Auto Accidents in South Carolina?
According to the Department of Public Safety, there were 589 fatal South Carolina car accidents between January 1, 2012, and October 18, 2012. These fatal crashes resulted in 632 deaths of passengers, drivers, pedestrians, bicycle riders and others sharing the road. The Department of Public Safety also reported on the total number of fatal South Carolina vehicle crashes and fatalities in 2011. Their statistics indicate that 625 fatal crashes in 2011 resulted in 677 deaths in Columbia and across South Carolina.
As the figures demonstrate, car accidents cause far too many people to lose their lives. In fact, the CDC indicates that car crashes are the leading killer of both kids and young adults throughout the U.S. and are among the top cause of death in all age groups.
These devastating losses due to car accident deaths in Columbia and throughout South Carolina are, unfortunately, only the tip of the iceberg. South Carolina car crashes also cause thousands of injuries, both serious and minor, as well as significant property damage. Extensive financial and emotional costs are also associated with car crashes.
Get a Free Consultation From An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC
If you’ve been in an a car accident, it’s important to make sure that you understand your legal rights. South Carolina law on car wrecks is complex, and the deadline for filing a claim can be short. You should speak to the Louthian Law Firm as soon as you think you may need an auto accident attorney.
We have defended the rights of accident victims and other injured South Carolinians since 1959, and we’re committed to providing personalized service to you while aggressively going after wrongdoers. And, because we know how financially devastating an accident can be, we never charge you a dime until your case is won.
Fighting the Auto Insurance Companies
In some Columbia, South Carolina car accidents, the victims’ recovery is complicated by dealing with a bureaucratic or hostile insurance company. Even loyal customers who have paid their premiums on time for years may find themselves arguing with insurance adjusters about whose fault an accident was, the value of damages, what kind of coverage they have and other issues that can significantly change how much compensation they are entitled to.
If an insurance company refuses to pay a valid car accident claim, it’s called insurance bad faith and it is illegal. An experienced Columbia car accident attorney can help you hold the insurance company to its end of the bargain and collect the compensation you are entitled to.
Seeking Truth. Securing Justice.
EXAMPLE CAR ACCIDENT RESULTS
Car Accident Settlement
South Carolina Crash Settlement
Settlement for Wreck
What should you do after a car accident?
Remember These Simple Steps After An Accident…
Call 911 to notify the police and request an ambulance.
If you are in harm’s way, do what is necessary to get to a safe place.
Gather the name and insurance information of the other driver.
If there are witnesses nearby, gather their information, too.
If possible, take pictures of the scene with your phone.
Contact an attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Get medical treatment
Whatever you do, don’t attempt to shake it off simply because you’re not the type to go to a doctor. Exercise caution and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Always seek medical attention after an accident. It is so often the case that someone is hurt more than they realize after a traumatic event. When you experience trauma, your body kicks into overdrive. The painful symptoms stemming from an injury could be masked by adrenaline.
In addition to being the smartest course of action for your health, seeing a doctor is also wise from a legal perspective. If you decide to file a lawsuit, you’ll want to establish a timeline of your injuries, which begins with your first visit to a doctor or hospital.
Types of Injuries
How Much Money Can I Get From a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Call Today for a Free Consultation and See If You Have a Case.
The amount you seek in a claim depends on the damages you’ve experienced because of the car accident. The expenses covered by an injury claim include payment for medical bills, lost income and property damage, in addition to compensation for non-economic damages, such as the pain and suffering that stem from your injuries.
Consulting an experienced Columbia car accident lawyer will give you a better idea of how much money you should pursue. Claims can range from thousands to millions of dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions About Accident Lawsuits
A lawsuit will help you cover the damages you’ve experienced. This includes:
- Medical expenses
- Income lost due to missed time at work or loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
This answer depends on the circumstances of your case. The value of a case can range from thousands to millions of dollars depending on the extent of the damages you’ve experienced. An attorney will be able to give a clearer picture of the amount you should seek in your claim.
When you file a lawsuit against someone, you are not alleging they are a bad person, and you’re not looking for free money. You are simply claiming that a negligent party should be held responsible for the damages they have caused. In many cases, the money you’re seeking will be paid by an insurance company, not the defendant in the case.
Negligence means that someone was careless or reckless. It doesn’t mean that the person meant to cause harm, only that they failed to act in a manner that would be considered acceptable under the given conditions. A driver who was sending a text and hit a pedestrian, for example, was negligent. They didn’t mean to hurt the other driver, but it was their careless behavior that led to the pedestrian’s injury.
Yes. Even if your crash didn’t involve a collision with another vehicle, there are still plenty of situations in which someone else might have caused the accident. For example, if a defective vehicle part led to the wreck, you can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer. You might also have a valid claim if your wreck was caused by:
- Poor road conditions or poor design
- An object left in the road – this could be the case in a residential neighborhood or a construction zone, for example
- Another driver’s negligent actions
Anyone who bears responsibility for your injures can be named in a lawsuit. In some cases, it’s just one person or organization that is named. If multiple people share the blame, then it’s also possible to sue several people for the injuries you’ve suffered. We investigate the circumstances surrounding your case to determine who was at fault, so it’s not necessary for you to know exactly who should be named in your lawsuit.
If your injuries are severe and costly, and another person or persons were responsible for them, you should consider your legal options and consult an attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to give you a better idea of your case’s chance of success.
When looking for an attorney, you should consider their experience and skill, in addition to the resources they will be able to allocate to your case. Some attorneys offer past results on their website, and you can always ask the attorney about their successes during a consultation. You’ll also want to feel comfortable with the attorney handling your case and be confident that they’ll be able to deliver.
A successful case is built on preparation and strategy. An attorney will be able to demonstrate how their client has suffered and why the defendant is responsible for paying the damages. The ability to accomplish this task depends on an auto accident attorney’s skill and experience. There is a significant amount of time and effort required to achieve the compensation a client deserves.
An attorney will be able to tell you more about the likelihood of success in your case. You can learn a lot from the initial thoughts of an attorney and, just as importantly, you can determine whether you feel comfortable with them. You’ll be trusting an attorney to handle a large majority of the work in your case, so it’s important that you trust them.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
Attorneys will tell you up front how they wish to be paid for their services, and it can differ from one firm to another. At the Louthian Law Firm, our clients don’t pay us unless we win their case, a form of payment known as a contingency fee.
What is a contingency fee? A contingency fee means that we are paid only if your claim is successful. If you earn no compensation, we charge you nothing.
Why You Need An Experienced Columbia, SC Car Accident Lawyer
An attorney will do the leg work of your case. He or she will correspond with other attorneys and insurance companies, file paperwork on your behalf, investigate your case and keep you up-to-date on the progress of your case. Having an attorney handle your case will better position you to get the compensation you deserve
Tips for dealing with the insurance agency
When dealing with another person’s insurance company, you do not have to speak with or issue a statement to their representative. If you have a car accident attorney handling your case, you should tell the insurance company to speak to an experienced Columbia car accident lawyer.
After an automobile accident, you will contact your insurance company. You should cooperate with them and answer their questions about the situation. Once they offer you a settlement, it is up to you to determine whether the offer is adequate. You do not have to accept the first offer they make.
Statute of limitations
The statute of limitations – the window of time in which you have to file a claim – for a personal injury claim is two years in Columbia and throughout South Carolina. It’s always best to act quickly if you are considering filing a claim.
Settlement vs. Trial
After an injury claim is filed, the two sides will negotiate potential payment to the injured party. If the two sides come to an agreement, there will be a settlement. If not, the matter will go to trial. This process can take several weeks to several months, or longer, depending on the circumstances of the case.
How does a settlement work? A settlement is the resolution of a case through an agreement between both sides in a lawsuit. Typically, a settlement is preceded by a dialogue and negotiation between the legal representatives of the plaintiffs and defendants listed in the case.
How does a trial work?A trial occurs when a settlement is not reached. In a trial, the matter is taken to court, where each side’s attorney makes the case for their client in front of a judge and jury. The jury will decide if the defendant was at fault and how much the plaintiff is owed.
Determining Fault in SC Accident Lawsuits
Fault is a key component of an injury claim. Car accident attorneys conduct investigations to determine whose actions contributed to your injuries. If those actions were considered negligent, then the negligent party should be held accountable for the costs stemming from your injury.
It can require a great deal of research to find out who was at fault for an accident. An experienced attorney has been through this process several times and will know what to look for.
To learn more about South Carolina’s vehicle-related rules and regulations, we suggest visiting the following websites…