What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in South Carolina?
The statute of limitations is the time period you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you pass this time period, you can be forever barred from pursuing compensation against the at-fault party, regardless of how negligent they were. In South Carolina, you generally have three years to file your claim. The three-year clock begins on the date the accident occurs or the date of death in the case of a wrongful death claim.
While this may seem like a long time, it can quickly run out. Additionally, it is important that you don’t delay contacting an auto accident lawyer after a crash. Evidence can quickly be lost or destroyed. Your car accident attorney will need time to investigate the case, identify all parties whose negligence caused the crash, and build a strong claim for compensation. You can get the process started today by calling Stewart Law Offices for a free case review.
When Is There a “Shared Fault” in a Car Accident Case?
South Carolina uses a modified comparative negligence model when more than one person is at fault for an accident. Under this approach, a car accident victim can still pursue compensation against the at-fault party even if their own negligence was partially to blame for the accident, as long as they are not 50 percent or more responsible for the accident. However, the compensation they receive is reduced by their degree of fault. For example, if the victim is 20 percent responsible for the accident, their compensation would be reduced by 20 percent. Because it is impossible to know every factor that might have contributed to the collision, you should not admit to any fault following an accident.
What You Need to Know About Dealing with Car Insurance Agents After a Crash
- Insurance adjusters of the at-fault vehicle are not on your side. They do not represent you – they represent the person who caused your injuries and their own company.
- The insurance adjuster may be pleasant and have you believe that he or she will handle your damage claim fairly, but the insurance company’s only goal is to minimize losses.
- Never give a recorded or written statement to the insurance company without the advice of your attorney.
- Do not sign any documents or accept payment from an insurance company without talking to your attorney.
- If an insurance adjuster calls you to discuss what happened after a crash, the best thing you can say is: “Please talk to my attorney.”
What Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident?
You can pursue compensation for the full extent of losses you suffer because of someone else’s negligence, including:
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may require extensive medical care following an auto accident. Common medical expenses for which car accident victims can receive compensation include:
- Emergency care and treatment
- Transportation to the emergency room
- Hospital stays
- Surgical care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Follow-up care
- Prescription medications
- Costs of future medical treatment
You can also receive compensation to repair or replace your damaged vehicle.
You can also pursue compensation for the time you miss from work due to your injuries. If your injuries are severe and prevent you from returning to your job, you can pursue compensation for your lost earning potential.
Pain and Suffering
South Carolina recognizes that accident victims may suffer in numerous ways that cannot be easily quantified. This is why you are allowed to pursue compensation for your “pain and suffering,” which can include:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Psychological effects, including increased anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress
- Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
- Negative effects on your relationships with loved ones
It can be difficult to determine the value of your claim on your own. An auto accident attorney from Stewart Law Offices can gather evidence to ensure your losses are fully documented and pursue maximum compensation for your claim.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents are dangerously unpredictable. They can lead to a variety of severe injuries. Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
The immense impact of a car accident can cause great pressure to your bones. Broken bones are painful and may take considerable time to heal. If the break is complicated, it can require ongoing medical attention. Broken bones can also diminish the victim’s range of motion and make it difficult to work.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries commonly occur in car accidents when the victim impacts a hard surface like the steering wheel or dashboard. However, impact is not always necessary for a traumatic brain injury to occur because the violent force of a car wreck can cause the brain to crash into the skull. A traumatic brain injury requires prompt medical attention and treatment. Watch for the following symptoms following a South Carolina accident which may indicate a brain injury:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Ringing in the ears
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine might take the brunt of the impact in a car crash. Spinal cord injuries can cause life-altering consequences and a lifetime of healthcare needs. Symptoms of spinal injuries include:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of movement or numbness in the chest, arms, or legs
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Breathing problems
Whiplash is one of the most commonly occurring car accident injuries. This soft tissue injury is associated with neck pain, muscle stiffness, tingling in the shoulders, and a loss of range of motion.
Not all injuries are immediately apparent after an accident. This is why it is crucial that you seek medical attention after an accident. You may have internal bleeding if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe weakness
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Severe headache
- Low blood pressure
If a victim comes into contact with hot car parts or fuels, they can suffer serious burns that leave their body vulnerable to severe infections. Some burns require multiple skin grafts or result in permanent disfigurement. Burns are also one of the most painful injuries that a motor vehicle accident victim can suffer.
Some injuries have a catastrophic effect on a victim’s life and lead to a lifetime of care. These injuries include:
- Loss of vision or hearing
Common Causes of South Carolina Car Crashes
Although they are often referred to as “accidents,” driver negligence typically causes car crashes. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence that cause crashes include:
Distracted driving has quickly become one of the most common causes of South Carolina accidents. Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s eyes, hands, or eyes away from the task of driving. When a driver is not focusing on the road in front of them, this can lead to life-threatening collisions.
Drunk driving is especially dangerous because a person’s cognition, motor skills, and senses are adversely affected when a person imbibes. Nearly half of all fatal South Carolina car crashes involve impaired drivers. If a driver cannot operate a vehicle safely, they should not get behind the wheel.
Speeding is dangerous because it makes it more likely for:
- Collisions to occur
- Serious injuries to arise
- Safety features to be less effective
All drivers must operate their vehicles at a safe speed. They must adjust their speed in case of adverse conditions, such as heavy traffic, bad weather, or construction.
The incidence of aggressive driving has increased dramatically over the last few years. Aggressive driving often involves dangerous driving practices like:
- Excess speeding
- Illegal passing
- Purposeful dangerous braking
A driver’s license exam only tests for basic skills behind the wheel. Inexperienced drivers pose a danger to other drivers when they encounter complex and new situations and don’t know how to react safely, making them more likely to cause collisions.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Vehicle owners are responsible for keeping their vehicles in a safe condition. If they fail to maintain their vehicles, collisions can occur.
Tired drivers display many of the same symptoms as drunk drivers and can be just as dangerous.
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