Most of us go through our days unaware of the suddenness in which a car accident can occur. You may be surprised to know that South Carolina car accidents occur with great frequency. In 2014, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety recorded over 119,000 collisions, or one traffic collision every 4.4 minutes. Some of these wrecks resulted in:
- Damage to property, such as cars that were damaged or totaled
- Minor injuries to occupants, such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises
- Serious or catastrophic injuries, like spine and neck injuries and traumatic brain injuries
A car accident can quickly turn you and your family’s lives upside down. While you struggle to recover from the physical and emotional pain of a serious crash, you may be faced with expensive medical bills and a reduced income caused by an inability to work. If you’re in this predicament, a Columbia, SC car accident lawyer can help.
The attorneys at The Solomon Law Group can help you recover monetary damages (compensation) from the person or group that caused the accident or caused you to receive an offer for an unfair settlement. These damages can help you pay your bills and expenses, leaving you free to focus on your recovery.
What Are the Causes of South Carolina Car Accidents?
While a car accident can happen at any time even under ideal driving conditions, there are certain factors and circumstances that contribute to most car accidents in our state. These include:
Distracted driving: Is any activity that could divert a driver’s attention away from the primary task of focusing on the road. These types of distractions often include the use of a cell phone.
Impaired driving: Drivers who consume alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances experience a reduction in their ability to react to traffic conditions and an impairment of their judgment.
Disobeying traffic rules and control devices: Drivers who are in a hurry or who are not paying attention can drive their vehicles too fast or carelessly for the prevailing road conditions or may ignore control devices telling them to stop or yield. This can cause a collision with other drivers who are obeying the law and driving responsibly.
Determining how a car accident occurred is an important step in assigning fault. If you decide to file a lawsuit against the guilty driver or an insurance company who may be treating you unfairly, your attorney will need to determine how exactly the crash occurred and how it could have been prevented. Solid evidence is required for this step.
What Should You Do After an Auto Accident?
Even though car accidents are jarring and terrifying, the next steps you take after the accident could help you with your claim down the road. Having an idea of what you need to do will help you if you ever find yourself in this situation in the future.
- Check for injuries. Assess if you or anyone else is hurt. Call 911 if anyone needs immediate medical care.
- Get out of traffic. Car accidents can create a lot of congestion on the road. Move the vehicles to the side of the road and out of traffic if possible.
- Call the police. An official police report will help because the police are a third party. They’ll find who was at fault and you can use this when you file a claim. When you’re explaining what happened, only report the facts. Don’t try to fill in gaps that you don’t know. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell the police officer you don’t know a particular detail. Guessing could lead to inaccuracies and could hurt you in the future.
- Don’t apologize. You might want to apologize about the situation, even if you’re not at fault. Apologizing implies you’re at fault and could reduce your compensation later.
- Take photos. Photograph everything that you can. This includes the scene, close-ups of the damage, and your injuries. Take more photos than you think necessary.
- Exchange information. Speak to the other parties involved in auto wreck. Get names, addresses, contact information, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information of the other parties. You’ll also need the details of the vehicles in the crash.
- Get witness information. Get names, addresses, and contact information of eyewitnesses if they want to provide their account. Eyewitnesses aren’t obligated to give their side of the story.
- See a doctor. Go see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you need one. After a car crash, your body can go into shock and mask injuries. If you don’t go to the doctor and develop more severe injuries, you might not get full compensation because you waited.
How Do You Obtain Compensation After a Car Crash?
Bringing a car accident claim, and if necessary, a lawsuit in South Carolina can result in you being awarded monetary damages. You obtain financial compensation when you either settle your case with the at-fault party for a specific sum of money or when you prove the following to a judge or jury:
- The defendant owed you or your loved one a “duty of care” requiring him or her to operate his or her vehicle in a lawful, reasonable, safe, and careful manner
- The defendant breached this duty of care by instead operating his or her vehicle in a careless or negligent manner
- The defendant’s careless actions caused you or your loved one to suffer an injury or your loved one’s wrongful death
How Can You Strengthen Your Car Accident Claim?
Inform your insurance provider and the other party’s insurance provider about the crash. This is a professional courtesy and then you can proceed to file your claim. You want your claim to be as substantial as possible. There are ways to reinforce your claim.
- Provide police report. As the police gather their information, you might find out more about the collision from the report. It could show the other party’s definite fault.
- Use photos of the accident and injuries. Your photos of the accident and injuries you’ve sustained will show how the accident affected you.
- Give copies of medical documents. Your medical records can show what injuries you sustained in the car crash. Also, have copies of documentation for required prescriptions or physical therapy because of the crash.
- Don’t speak with insurance adjusters. Their job is to get you to settle for as little as possible. You can have your lawyer facilitate communication between you and the insurance company. You don’t have to worry about intimidation or saying something that can be used against your claim.
Do You Need a Columbia, South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer?
Have you or a loved one been in a car accident? You have the right to seek legal representation. A skilled lawyer from The Solomon Law Group can help you file the claim so you can get compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses.
When you decide to file a claim, you show to the other driver that their negligence had severe consequences. Your actions might make them reconsider their driving behavior in the future. This could potentially make them a safer driver and make the road safer for everyone.
When you have sustained injuries or losses that should be compensated through a monetary payment, The Solomon Law Group is here to help. Contact our team of experienced Columbia car accident attorneys right away at (877-323-3120 – toll-free or 803-391-3120 – in the Columbia area) for assistance after a car wreck.