South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
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, a car accident lawyer 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.
Common 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 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.
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.
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, 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.
Get a Free Consultation From An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
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 car 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 accident case, call a car accident attorney today toll free (803) 454-1200. You can also fill out our online contact form.
EXAMPLE ACCIDENT RESULTS
Seeking Truth. Securing Justice.
- 800,000: settlement of an automobile accident claim
- 525,000: car accident settlement
- 150,000: settlement of an accident claim
HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I GET FROM A 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 car accident attorney will give you a better idea of how much money you should pursue. Claims can range from thousands to millions of dollars.
What should you do after a car accident?
Remember to take these simple steps after a car 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
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.
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.
Types of Injuries
- Back, neck and spinal injuries
- Head injuries
- Organ damage, or internal injuries
- Amputations, or the loss of a limb
- Road burn
- Extensive soft tissue damage.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Lawsuits
WHAT EXPENSES WILL A LAWSUIT RECOVER?
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.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
SHOULD I FEEL BAD ABOUT SUING SOMEONE?
WHAT IS NEGLIGENCE?
CAN YOU FILE A LAWSUIT AFTER A SINGLE-CAR CRASH?
WHO CAN BE SUED?
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A CLAIM?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD ATTORNEY?
WHAT LEADS TO A SUCCESSFUL LAWSUIT?
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 an attorney handling your case, you should tell the insurance company to speak to your lawyer.
After an 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.
Why you need an attorney
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.
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 South Carolina. It’s always best to act quickly if you are considering filing a claim.
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 should take advantage of a free consultation
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.
How fault is determined
Fault is a key component of an injury claim. 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.
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
Law related to car accidents in South Carolina
To learn more about South Carolina’s vehicle-related rules and regulations, we suggest visiting the following websites…
- South Carolina’s Code of Laws relating to motor vehicles
- South Carolina’s traffic and transportation safety laws