Car Wreck Attorneys in South Carolina
Car accidents can be devastating, both physically and emotionally, for the people involved. When an accident results in personal injury to the victim, it can leave them burdened with medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car wreck in South Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, and we can help. Our personal injury attorneys located in Fort Mill, South Carolina, have the experience necessary to be successful in your case. Call David W. Martin Law Group today for high-quality legal advice at 864-756-8599.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in South Carolina
In 2018, there were 969 fatal collisions in South Carolina. In total, there were 142,406 collisions in one year alone. There are many causes of car accidents, but the South Carolina Department of Transportation has found the following are the leading causes of car wrecks in the state:
- Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of illegal substances or alcohol is illegal and can impair a driver’s ability to react quickly and reasonably while driving.
- Distracted driving: Drivers who are distracted by phones, radios, GPS devices, and even other passengers.
- Automobile defects: Vehicle defects can include malfunctioning brakes, steering, or tire issues.
- Reckless driving;
- Speeding: Excessive speeding or driving too fast for the road conditions.
- Inexperienced drivers: Young or inexperienced drivers may not have the judgment required to avoid accidents or risky situations.
- Poor road conditions: Poorly maintained roads, lack of proper signage, or lighting, hazardous weather conditions.
These are just a few of the leading causes of accidents in South Carolina. It is important to always drive with a clear head and to stay focused on the road to help prevent these accidents from occurring.
Practical Next Steps After Being in a Car Accident
Knowing what to do in the aftermath of a car accident can become overwhelming when actually faced with the situation. Car wrecks can be traumatic and cloud your judgment in the moment. Here are some practical next steps we recommend after experiencing a car wreck that can also help with your case.
- If you are involved in an accident, the first step is always to call 911 and report it to the police. The responding officers will come to the scene and fill out an accident report which documents the scene.
- In South Carolina, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance, which can cover damages and injuries caused by the driver in an accident. Therefore, the second step after being in a car wreck is to call your insurance company or fill out an online report form. Your insurance company will likely ask you for certain information about the wreck, including a copy of the police report.
- Of course, a pressing concern is your physical health. You should seek medical attention, even if you believe you did not suffer any injuries. Certain injuries are not immediately apparent, such as a concussion.
- Collecting evidence is crucial if you want to pursue a legal claim. Certain things that may be helpful, especially once you are working with an attorney:
- Photographs or videos of the accident or aftermath;
- Police report;
- Insurance report;
- Take down names of witnesses and parties involved;
- Talk to any witnesses;
- Proof of time missed at work;
- Records detailing lost income;
- Any communications between you and the other party or parties involved in the car wreck;
- Medical treatment recommendations; and
- Medical expenses.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
In many cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will offer a settlement to the victim to avoid going to court. It is important to remember that the insurance company’s primary goal is to minimize its own costs, not to compensate you for your losses. Insurance companies may offer a low settlement in the hopes that you will accept it and not pursue further legal action.
Consulting with a personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company can be an important part of this process. Our attorneys will not only help you negotiate with your insurance company and also ensure that you receive fair and just compensation for your damages.
Potential Legal Claim For Victims of a Car Wreck
With any legal claim resulting from a car wreck, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina. If you do not file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you may lose your right to compensation. Our talented personal injury attorneys have represented clients in these matters for years and know what it takes to have a winning personal injury case.
A negligence claim consists of four key elements that have to be proven: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Each of these elements must be proven to have a successful negligence lawsuit, which ultimately means receiving damages. To establish a negligence claim, it is helpful to have evidence to back up your side of the story. This includes police reports, witness statements, photographs, and medical records.
- Duty – When driving on the roads, all drivers have to exercise ‘reasonable care’ to guard against foreseeable outcomes (i.e., car wrecks). Reasonable care is measured as what a reasonable person would do in the same or similar situation. In other words, all drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner to protect against car accidents. Driving reasonably can include, but is not limited to, driving at a reasonable speed, paying attention to the road and surrounding circumstances, limiting distractions in the vehicle (i.e., cell phone), staying educated on driving laws, and maintaining your vehicle to safety standards.
- Breach – A breach occurs when an individual fails to exercise reasonable care, or their conduct falls below a level of reasonable care in a situation. For example, in a car wreck, this could look like speeding, driving under the influence, failing to use a turn signal, swerving out of their lane, and much more. Negligence can be something that the at-fault driver should not have done or something the at-fault driver failed to do.
- Causation – The actions of the individual who caused the wreck needs to have caused the harm that resulted to have a successful negligence claim. This can be determined by evaluating whether it was foreseeable that the person was injured by the negligent actions of the other individual. In other words, but for the actions of one individual, would the car wreck still have occurred?
- Causation is the key distinction between a car wreck being a simple accident compared to one individual being at fault. While it is uncommon, it is possible for a car wreck to happen where neither party has necessarily acted negligently or failed to take reasonable care in the situation. For example, both drivers have to swerve to avoid something obstructing the road and crash into each other.
Damages for a Negligence Claim
There are several types of damages one could collect for a negligence claim. Compensatory damages return the victim as closely as possible to their condition before the accident. This can include:
- Past and future medical expenses, such as hospital bills, doctors visits, and prescription medications;
- Property damages to the vehicle, such as the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle;
- Past and future lost earnings if you are unable to work due to your injuries; and
- Pain and suffering resulting from emotional distress caused by the accident.
To have a successful personal injury claim, you must show that at least some of these damages exist as a result of the car accident.
Punitive damages are generally only used in cases where there is demonstrated willful, reckless, malicious, and wanton conduct. This normally requires knowledge and failure to take precautions based on that knowledge. The goal of punitive damages is to deter people from acting recklessly in the first place.
It is important to understand that South Carolina is an at-fault state. This means that the driver who is at fault for the accident is responsible for paying damages and injuries to the other driver. However, if a driver exceeds 50% of fault, they cannot recover any damages from the other party. But if the drivers are exactly at 50/50 in terms of fault, they are each eligible to recover half of the damages awarded in the case. In order to determine fault in a car wreck, police or insurance can look at the accident scene itself, speak to witnesses, and generally collect evidence. If one of the drivers receives a ticket from the police officer, this can be evidence of fault.
Call Our Passionate Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. Let our passionate and highly qualified Fort Mill personal injury attorneys help when you need it most. Call David W. Martin Law Group today at 864-756-8599 for a consultation to discuss your car accident and how we can pursue justice in your case.
Always Prepared for Court
While we do all we can to settle cases in your benefit, we are also fully prepared to take your battle to court and win.
A Personal Touch to Every Case
We know that every case is different, and we treat them all with the same respect and attention. You’ll never be a number in our system, we will get to know you and every detail of your situation to get you the best outcome possible.
David W. Martin grew up right in Fort Mill and created his firm to represent the people who needed him most in the community he loves.
Your Legal Team
At David W. Martin Law Group, our team of attorneys have the experience to help you achieve the best possible result based upon your facts and circumstances in South Carolina.