A car accident lawsuit can ask a court for compensation for your medical bills, repair bills, missed work and any other financial costs that the accident caused, as well as for pain and suffering, permanent disability and other non-economic losses.
In some cases, our car accident lawyers 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.
How Bad are Auto Accidents in South Carolina?
Infographic: SC Accident Stats
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, South Carolina 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 S.C. 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.
Causes of Car Accidents
Car 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 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.
- Automotive Defects — Some Columbia 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 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 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.
The Relationship Between the Economy and Car Crashes
Traffic crash fatalities were expected to exceed 40,000 in the United States in 2015, for the first time since 2007. A number of factors may explain the increase, one of which is the economy.
Spending was down nationwide, during a recession that began in December 2007. Although it officially ended in June 2009, many people continued to suffer the effects of a sluggish economy for years, after being unemployed, losing equity in their homes, and losing investment funds. But in 2015, the economy began to rebound, and people began buying new cars and taking road trips. Learn more the relationship between the economy and car crashes
Fighting the Auto Insurance Companies
In some 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 lawyer can help you hold the insurance company to its end of the bargain and collect the compensation you are entitled to.
Get a Free Consultation
If you’ve been in an 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 a vehicle accident lawyer.
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.
For a free evaluation of your car accident case, call our car accident lawyers today toll free (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.