South Carolina Car Accident FAQ
Below you can find answers to some of your frequently asked questions about South Carolina car accidents. If you have further questions, consult a South Carolina car accident lawyer.
Should I sign any of the paperwork that the insurance companies are sending me or provide a statement to the insurance company?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to persuade you to give a statement or sign medical releases. We recommend that you not sign any paperwork or give any statements regarding your accident until after you have consulted a car accident lawyer. Your own car insurance company will also contact you to discuss the accident. Be sure to keep in mind that your car insurance company has a duty to provide you with coverage, including personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MED-PAY) if you have PIP coverage or med-pay coverage as part of your policy.
How much is my car accident case worth?
No lawyer can guarantee you any result or give you a precise value for your case. Based upon our years of experience and research regarding jury verdicts, we can provide you with our opinions and advice. The value of your case will depend on the nature of your injuries, medical treatment, wage loss, and long-term or short-term disability. Other factors that affect your case’s value include any prior similar injuries that you have had and the liability of the drivers involved in your accident.
What should I do if I am injured by a driver who does not have insurance?
You should check your own insurance policy to see if you have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is available through your own insurer and provides coverage to you if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. The coverage may also apply if the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident or a ‘phantom’ vehicle runs you off the road.
If a family member is killed in a car accident, can the family bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver?
When someone is killed in a car accident, his or her estate can then bring a claim for wrongful death against the at-fault driver. Some additional court proceedings may be necessary in order to appoint someone to act on behalf of the estate. Our firm can help you deal with these processes in the Probate Court and distribute the recovered funds after your wrongful death case concludes in the Court of Common Pleas.
Who will cover my medical bills if I am injured?
If you have car insurance, you may have personal injury protection or PIP or medical payments coverage (MED-PAY). This is a no-fault type of insurance that provides coverage to you if you are injured in an accident and need medical care. Your PIP usually has a limit. Be sure to consult your policy to determine the amount of PIP or MED-PAY that you have. You should also use your standard medical insurance.
If I was partially to blame for the accident, can I recover for my injuries?
South Carolina courts allow you to recover as long as you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident. In other words, you cannot recover if you are more than half to blame for the accident. If your case went to trial, a jury would be asked to apportion the fault for the accident between you and the other driver. If you were 30% to blame and the jury determined that your damages were $200,000, the judge would reduce your recovery by your percentage of fault, down to $140,000.
If I do not live in South Carolina or Greenville but was injured in a car accident in South Carolina, do I need a local South Carolina lawyer?
If you were passing through South Carolina or have moved since your accident, a South Carolina court likely has jurisdiction over your case, especially if the accident was caused by a South Carolina resident. In those circumstances, you need a lawyer who is licensed to practice in South Carolina. It may be in your interest to retain a local lawyer who is familiar with the courts and local judges as well as the location of the accident site and the composition of the local jury.
If I am in an accident, what information should I get from the at-fault driver?
You should get as much information as possible including his or her insurance information, address, telephone number and any other contact information. You should try to get the same information from all the witnesses and any passengers in the other cars. This information is valuable when we need to locate the at-fault driver and his or her insurer. It is best to wait for a police report detailing how the car accident occurred.
How can I afford a lawyer if I am injured in a car accident?
We do not charge any upfront fees or require a retainer. While you may have the impression that lawyers charge enormous hourly rates, we structure our fee agreements so that you do not pay any hourly rates. For car accident cases, we work on a contingency basis and are paid a percentage of your recovery at the conclusion of your case. This allows you to focus on your medical treatment and family life rather than worrying about legal fees. Certain expenses such as court filing fees may also be incurred on your behalf and may be excluded. Your personal injury attorney will fully explain the terms of the written agreement.
If my child is injured in a car accident, how will he or she be compensated?
Children, like adults, can recover for any injuries they suffer in a car accident. Cases involving minors, however, are a bit more complex because of court rules and state laws that protect minors, even if you settle with an insurance company without filing a lawsuit. A judge may need to approve any settlement in order to make sure that the child’s award is properly invested or kept in a fund until the child reaches majority. Our firm understands these rules and can help you deal with all steps necessary to get compensation for your children if they are injured in a car accident.
What is the statute of limitations on my car accident claim?
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is 3 years for a private individual or corporation. If three years pass before you file a lawsuit, your claim is likely barred forever by the statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking on the day that you are in the accident. Ideally, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible in order to avoid any problems with the statute of limitations and to preserve important evidence.
Do you represent injured bicyclists or pedestrians who were hit by cars?
Of course. We recognize that many South Carolina residents are injured by cars while biking or walking. Drivers are often negligent when they fail to yield the right-of-way to bicycles or pedestrians. It important that you wear a helmet when you ride your bike and comply with all rules of the road.
If you are injured by a negligent driver, contact us for a free consultation.