South Carolina has consistently been at the top in car accident frequencies. In 2020, SC ranked as the worst state for traffic-related fatalities, with a 1.78 fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. At present, at least one car crashes every 4.7 minutes, and at least one person gets injured every 10.26 minutes while driving on the roads of SC. Reports state that speeding and reckless driving, essentially the actions of careless drivers, are at the forefront of car accidents.
With 23,499 people (2022 census), Greenwood, South Carolina sees many car accidents. Injuries from these incidents are common. It is not unlikely that one may face such unfortunate situations. Thus, it is imperative to be prepared in case of an accident. With the help of a Greenwood automobile accident attorney, you can seek the compensation you deserve.
Things to Do After a Car Accident in Greenwood, South Carolina
Here are the steps you should take if you’re involved in a car wreck in Greenwood, SC.
- Check to see if anyone is injured, and call 911 if someone needs medical help.
- If you can, pull over to a safer place and turn on your hazard lights.
- Call the police. If they don’t come to the scene, you should still submit a report later.
- Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle information, vehicle registration number, license plate number, and insurance information. Share your info with the other driver.
- Take photos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and any injuries.
- Notify your insurance company.
- If you didn’t receive emergency medical treatment, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Contact a Greenwood car accident lawyer.
South Carolina Car Accident Laws
The following South Carolina laws are important in determining liability for a car accident. A Greenwood auto accident lawyer can tell you if you have a case.
South Carolina Doesn’t Have a No-Fault Law
Many states in the USA have a no-fault law in place. This law essentially establishes no responsibility for the accident on either party. Irrespective of whose fault it was, each party has to pay for their damages and take care of their personal injuries through their insurance. This means that one cannot receive compensation or settlement money from the other party. This law was implemented to prevent the time-consuming court processes involved in car accident cases.
However, for Greenwood residents, this law is not effective. South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state. Based on the evidence, each driver gets assigned a percentage of responsibility for the accident. Thus, it is important to gather evidence that supports your case effectively.
If you believe you have less than 50% responsibility for the accident, you can claim compensation for your damages with proper legal advice from an attorney. Evidence is important even if you are completely sure that you were not at fault, as your surety needs to be substantiated in court.
Elements of Negligence and the Duty of Care
Every driver is mandated to follow the duty of care while driving. Most accidents happen due to certain actions considered “negligence” on the driver’s part. It is important to know these elements to ensure that you understand your role and that of the other driver in the accident.
South Carolina’s duty of care for drivers:
- The driver must keep the vehicle under control with proper brakes, stops, and turns.
- The driver has to be conscious of other vehicles on the road and other objects, but most importantly, people on the road.
- The driver has to slow down their vehicle to prevent collision with any object or people on the road.
Failing any or all of these accounts for negligence, i.e., breach of the duty of care.
Negligence Per Se
The state of SC recognizes “negligence per se” in cases of car accidents where there was an automatic breach of the duty of conduct owing to the driver’s condition; drinking and driving, texting while driving, speeding, and breaking traffic rules qualify as negligence per se. In such cases, you do not need to establish the negligence of the accused driver for the accident.
A chain of events that occur in succession, naturally and ultimately lead to the injury (as a result of the accident), is termed the “proximate cause.” In cases of a car accident, there are two points of consideration-
- Legal Causation: These circumstances establish that the injury was precedent due to the driver’s negligence.
- Causation in Fact: The injury could have been avoided if the driver was not negligent.
The proximate cause plays an important role in establishing negligence in a case of an accident.
South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations
A very crucial part of getting your claim approved is the time of filing your claim. South Carolina has a timeline of 3 years to claim injuries suffered during a car accident due to the other driver’s negligence. However, it is best to file your claim as soon as possible as these things take time.
Required Liability Insurance in South Carolina
Every driver in South Carolina is legally required to have three types of insurance coverage.
- Property Damage (PD) Insurance: Every driver should have PD coverage of at least $25,000 per accident.
- Body Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance: Every driver should have a BIL insurance of at least $25,000 per person (injured) or $50,000 per accident to cover for physical injuries of the other driver and passengers by the driver at fault. If required, the insurance coverage can be extended through additional purchases.
- Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance: You must carry UM coverage equivalent to the BIL and PD insurance amount. This coverage covers your damages if you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
Damage Recovery in South Carolina
The following damages arising from a car accident due to the other driver’s negligence are eligible for compensation:
- Damage to property
- Loss of property
- Physical injury
- Temporal impairment of any body part
- Permanent loss of function of a body part
While counting and claiming visible and quantifiable damages, we often leave out the damages that are non-economic in nature. They are damages nonetheless. In SC, there is no limit to claiming non-economic damages. Damages that fall under this category are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and capability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional trauma
- Scarring and disfigurement
Contact a Greenwood Car Accident Lawyer Today!
There are multiple unforeseen factors involved in an accident that may be out of your control. However, how you deal with an accident depends on how well aware you are of the laws in place. The entire legal process is detailed and intricate. To navigate smoothly through the process, you should get the professional help of a Greenwood personal injury attorney.