A Review of South Carolina Car Accident Law, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Sandy beaches and/or southern charm characterize many of the major cities in South Carolina, including historic Charleston. Although historians dispute where the opening shots of the Civil War were actually fired, many schoolchildren learn about the battle at Fort Sumter as being the location where the Civil War broke out in its full fury. Easy access to oceans and large, historic plantations (along with other benefits and sites of interest) are just some of the reasons why over 4.7 million people make their home in this southeastern state.
Having this many people within its borders and having several major interstates running through its geographical limits has its drawbacks, however. South Carolina drivers can easily find themselves injured in a car crash or other motor vehicle crash. These collisions can result in the motorist or one of his or her passengers suffering severe – or even fatal – injuries. What can an injured motorist do after being struck by another, negligent individual?
Dangerous Crashes in South Carolina
After dipping significantly in 2013 to 767 fatalities, the number of South Carolina traffic fatalities suddenly and dramatically shot up in 2015 to 977, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many of these fatal accidents took place in rural areas, away from major cities and urban areas. Approximately one-third of these crashes involved a driver with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater; one-third of South Carolina fatality incidents involved excessive speed.
Some of the counties with the highest number of fatalities included Horry County, Spartanburg County, and Greenville County. All told, the ten counties with the highest number of fatality accidents accounted for over half of all the fatality incidents in South Carolina. Some of the reasons for these fatal accidents included drowsy driving (where the driver has not had a sufficient amount of sleep), distracted driving (such as where a driver texts while driving), and disobeying the “rules of the road.”
Not every collision results in a death, however. In fact, NHTSA reports that approximately four million individuals are injured in motor vehicle collisions throughout the country. Many of these injury collisions occur for the same reasons as fatal car crashes. Drivers who engage in these behaviors (drunk driving, drowsy driving, etc.) are engaging in careless behavior and can be held civilly liable for the expenses, losses, and injuries of individuals whom they injure or kill.
South Carolina is a “Fault-Based” Insurance State
Like most every other state, South Carolina has laws mandating that drivers carry a sufficient auto insurance policy so that any person injured or killed through the driver’s negligence can obtain some measure of compensation for his or her injuries or losses. Unlike “no fault” states, injured drivers in South Carolina and elsewhere file claims for compensation with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Where the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance policy limits (or, worse, does not have any insurance at all), the injured victim may pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault person directly.
South Carolina is another example of a state that permits injury victims to recover compensation from an at-fault party even if the injury victim him- or herself is partly responsible for causing the accident. So long as the injury victim is 50 percent or less responsible for causing the crash, the victim will be able to recover some measure of compensation. The actual amount of compensation the victim is able to receive will reflect the amount of responsibility the victim bore for causing his or her own injuries.
File Your South Carolina Car Accident Claim Quickly
There is much that must be done after a South Carolina car accident: You must obtain medical treatment for your injuries, file a claim for compensation with the applicable insurance company, investigate who else may be responsible for causing your injuries, and determine whether to file a car accident lawsuit. According to South Carolina’s statute of limitations for car accident claims (S.C. Code Annotated Section 15-3-530), all of these tasks must be completed within three years of the date of the car accident. A car accident victim who fails to file his or her lawsuit for damages within this three-year window is usually not able to recover any compensation at all, regardless of how clearly at fault the other party may be.
Call Upon Stern Law, PLLC for Additional Assistance
Car accidents can be deceptively complex lawsuits. It is best to retain experienced counsel to assist you in pursuing your car accident injury claim as soon as possible in order to assure yourself that your legal rights are adequately protected. Stern Law, PLLC is a knowledgeable and skilled car accident law firm that can assist you in doing just this. Call us at (844) 808-7529 today and learn how our firm’s resources and knowledge can help you after a car accident.