Filing a car accident claim can be complicated and overwhelming. You most likely have a lot of questions. While your best option is contacting a Charleston car accident lawyer for specific answers, here are some of the top questions asked by potential clients.

1. How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident in South Carolina?

When it comes to the amount someone can sue for a car accident in South Carolina, it is not a one-size-fits-all situation. The damages that can be claimed depend on various factors, such as the severity of the injuries, the extent of the property damage, and the impact on the victim’s life.

The good news is that South Carolina law allows for both economic and non-economic damages to be awarded. Economic damages cover things like medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

How much someone can sue for a car accident all boils down to the unique circumstances of each case and the skillful representation of an experienced car accident lawyer in Charleston who understands the law and your personal situation regarding the accident.

2. How Long Do You Have to Settle a Claim for A Car Accident in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, you typically have three years to settle a car accident claim or file a lawsuit against the defendant. In almost all cases, this is three years from the day of the accident. In rare cases, this 3-year statute of limitations can be extended. But this only occurs when you can reasonably prove that you have suffered latent injuries due to the accident. In other words, you would have to prove that you did not know you were injured until well after the accident occurred. By discussing their case with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer, a Charleston car accident victims can learn the applicable statute of limitations for their car accident claim.

3. Is South Carolina an At-Fault State for Car Accidents?

Yes. This means that under South Carolina law, the person at fault for the accident must pay for any resulting damages. If the at-fault driver is insured, you should be able to recover compensation by filing a claim with their auto insurance provider. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your own insurance policy may also provide coverage for your losses. Alternatively, you should be entitled to sue the at-fault party in court if you cannot reach a reasonable settlement agreement. This may be necessary to ensure that you are compensated fully, which will require the assistance of an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer. In a trial, comparative fault will determine the final compensation, meaning that if you are found to be partially at fault, a percentage of fault will be assigned and you will receive the award minus that percentage.

4. What Do You Do if You Get into a Car Accident in South Carolina?

What you do immediately after a car accident can significantly impact whether you will be able to recover compensation. After any car accident, you should take the following steps to protect your rights and to preserve evidence to support any subsequent car accident claim:

  • Seek immediate medical attention: It is essential to seek medical care right away, even if you don’t feel injured. You may be injured in ways you are not aware of initially. Also, a medical report will be required to link your injuries to the car accident.
  • Collect and preserve evidence: This evidence should include:
    • The names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of the drivers involved
    • The police report
    • Photos of the accident scene and your injuries
    • Your medical records; and
    • The contact information for any witnesses
  • Get a lawyer involved: Attempting to handle your car accident claim without a qualified personal injury lawyer may not be a good idea, especially if there are injuries, criminal charges or significant property damage involved. You don’t want to jeopardize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.

5. Do You Have to Call the Police after a Car Accident in South Carolina?

Under S.C. Ann. § 56-5-1210, anyone involved in an accident that resulted in injury or death must contact the local police department and report the accident. That said, even though you are not required to file a report after a minor accident with no injuries, it would be wise to do so. Local law enforcement may want to investigate the accident scene, which can support your claim against the other driver. Inform the police about what happened from your perspective. But avoid making unnecessary statements to the police, such as apologizing for the accident, as this may be misconstrued as an admission of fault.

6. Do I Need to Make a Police Report for a Car Accident?

You will need a police report for any accident that resulted in injury or death. Without a police report, you may find it very difficult to file a car accident claim. The police report should contain the exact location of the accident, the date and time of the accident, a description of the damages, and the names, contact information, and addresses of the drivers involved.

7. Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Charleston?

To protect your rights and ensure maximum compensation, it is advisable to act promptly and engage the services of a lawyer experienced in car accident cases as soon as possible. This is especially important if you have sustained bodily injuries. Any delay in seeking the help of an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer can prolong the settlement process, which can take several months to years.

It is also important to remember that there is a time limit for filing a car accident lawsuit, so it is important to consult with a qualified attorney before it is too late. An experienced personal injury lawyer will represent you in dealing with the insurance company throughout the claims process and during a trial if necessary.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a car accident in Charleston, we want to help you get full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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