Those involved in serious car accidents suddenly face significant financial losses and injuries, and in fatal accidents, the consequences are magnified. Drivers and passengers who are harmed in a car crash should promptly contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer for a consultation.
The attorney will review the situation and determine if a legal course of action to recover damages is achievable. The personal injury lawyer in South Carolina can take the case on contingency, which means attorney fees are paid from a small percentage of the monetary award, but if the case is not successful the client does not pay any attorney fees.
Frequent Accident Causes
The most frequent causes of car crashes in South Carolina are motorists driving too fast for the road conditions, driving under the influence, following too closely, improperly changing lanes, running traffic lights and stop signs, and failing to yield the right of way, according to records compiled by the state’s Department of Public Safety.
After a Crash
Immediately after a traffic collision, it is important to check to see if anyone is injured and help those hurt to get away from the wreck, especially if fuel or oil is leaking and there is a chance of fire.
A person should not, under any circumstance, leave the car accident scene. That is a felony under South Carolina’s criminal law and shows a conscience of guilt in causing the wreck. An individual should take a number of photographs of the accident scene before the cars are moved and ask police for the accident report, which will become evidence in a legal case.
No matter how adamant the other party is in casting blame, a person should not admit any fault. An admission can be used later to bolster the other party’s contention.
The other party’s insurance company may offer a quick settlement that likely will not cover all the damages. It is best not to have any contact with that insurance company, but it is advisable to discuss the crash with the person’s own insurance carrier. These discussions should not be handled without the assistance of a knowledgeable car accident attorney in South Carolina.
Applicable Accident Laws
South Carolina, in assessing blame for a car accident, is based on negligence, which is defined as failing to use proper care to avoid causing harm or property damage to another person or entity.
The state uses the comparative negligence standard. This law reduces the amount of damages that a party can claim by the percentage of fault assessed. If a party is 20 percent at fault, determined by a judge or jury, claimable damages are reduced by 20 percent. These laws can be best explained by a South Carolina car accident lawyer.
51 Percent Rule
South Carolina uses the 51 percent rule in determining fault. The negligence of the plaintiff, the party bringing a lawsuit, cannot be more than the defendant’s negligence. If both parties have 50 percent of fault each can only claim 50 percent of the losses incurred. Should the plaintiff be a bit more at fault, the so-called 51 Percent Rule applies and the plaintiff cannot claim any damages.
Benefit of an Attorney
A South Carolina car accident lawyer, in preparing a lawsuit, will examine the facts of the crash and question under oath all parties involved as well as any witnesses. The attorney may also use a professional accident investigator to reconstruct the crash.
The attorney will also gather all the medical records and receipts to calculate the amount of damages to be claimed.
Many personal injury civil lawsuits are settled between the parties. Because insurance carriers act in their own best interests, the car accident lawyer in South Carolina will aggressively negotiate an amount that covers the client’s losses.