We Help Car Crash Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve
Accidents happen. Nobody plans to get in a car accident, but when an automobile collision happens, know your rights, responsibilities, and what you should (and should not) do. This is a basic guide for motor vehicle accidents. For more information and for a free case evaluation with a Myrtle Beach car accident lawyer, call us today at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online.
Serious and Tragic Consequences
There were over 1,000 car crash deaths on South Carolina roads in 2016. About every nine hours a person dies from a motor vehicle collision (South Carolina Department of Public Safety Collision Fact Book).
Car Accident Causes
Car accidents can occur for any number of reasons. What’s important for victims is that when they are the result of negligence, they can often recover compensation. Here are some of the more common causes of accidents in the Myrtle Beach area:
- Alcohol / drugs (including prescription medication)
- Youth / inexperience
- Physical impairments
- Old age
- Roadway Design and Defects
- Poor, faulty or defective construction
- Confusing, damaged, poorly placed or missing warning signals or signs
- Broken or no guardrails
- Sudden shoulder drop-offs
- Dangerous road debris
- Malfunctioning traffic signals
- Defective materials in construction
- Roads not salted or plowed in winter weather
- Blind curves and poorly banked roads
- Improperly graded curves and uneven shoulders
- Vision or landscaping obstructions
- Inadequate nighttime lighting or overly bright lights
- Lack of appropriate roadway markings
- Wrong road materials
- Low bridges or incorrect overhead bridge markings
- Vehicle Design and Defects
- Weather Conditions / Poor Visibility
- Poor lighting
- Dawn / dusk
First Step: Pull Over and Be Safe
Whether with another car, truck, motorcycle, bicyclist or pedestrian, motor vehicle accidents are often serious. First, you should safely stop your car. Is anyone hurt or unsafe? If any vehicle is damaged, drivers must stop and exchange their information (such as your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration). If the accident results in damage over $1,000, injury or death, and if not investigated by law enforcement, you must report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days after the accident (South Carolina Law §56-5-1270). You should never leave the scene of an accident until it is appropriate to do so; otherwise, if there are substantial injuries or death, you will face significant criminal consequences as a hit and run driver.
Next Steps: Keep Your Cool
Emotions often are high after a car accident, and it’s important to keep composed. At the scene of an accident:
- Check on all passengers and drivers. Is anyone hurt? Does anyone need help? Is anyone in danger? Use common sense.
- Call the police. Ask for a police report to be filed. Get badge numbers.
- Call for an ambulance if someone is hurt.
- Exchange information (but despite your conscience, don’t apologize or admit guilt)
- Talk to witnesses, and try to get their information (name, address, phone number, email). Don’t be surprised if they’re reluctant to get involved.
- Take photos (which is easy enough, nearly everyone has a cellphone with them)
After the Accident: Follow Up
After the car accident, diligently follow up. You should:
- Report to your insurance company (and tell the truth)
- Seek and keep track of your medical treatment should you require any
- Get property damage estimates
- Be cautious in discussing details about the accident. You should talk only to your attorney, your insurance company, and the police. Refrain from talking with other parties or their insurance companies
- Avoid early settlement offers (usually used to “lowball”)
- Consult with and hire the right attorney to help you
Fault vs. No-Fault Insurance
Many states have no-fault automobile laws, which mean that an injured driver must use his own automobile insurance (up to a certain limit).
South Carolina works differently because it is a fault state. Being a ‘fault state’ means if you have property damage, medical bills and/or other damages, you can first look to the at-fault driver to pay for those. Important note: You must be less than 50 percent (50%) at-fault. This can be a complex area of car accident law, and you should consult an experienced attorney for guidance.
Compensation for Auto Accident Injuries
Are you entitled to recover damages for your injuries? Every car accident differs, of course. If the other driver was negligent (at fault), you may be compensated for physical injuries, financial loss, and emotional pain. Compensation may include:
- Lost wages (past and future);
- Lost future earning capacity due to permanent disablement;
- Medical bills (doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation, homecare assistance, medical appliances and equipment);
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering; and
- Property damages.
Your attorney can help determine your case’s merits and estimate the damages you may be able to recover.
Can I Sue the Government?
Possibly. If you are hurt in an accident and believe a roadway defect caused the crash, you should consider hiring an attorney. Among other things, an experienced attorney like those found at the Hughey Law Firm should help you:
- Determine and prove whether the state, county, township, or other party (for example, a contractor) is at fault;
- Assess whether the road defect is from design, construction or maintenance;
- Follow all technical procedures, such as timely sending required notices of claim (before filing suit);
- Coordinate among police, accident investigators, and insurance representatives;
- Evaluate your potential compensation; and
- File suit before the statute of limitations (legal deadline) expires.
Can I Sue the Other Driver’s Employer?
The boss is not automatically liable or ‘at fault’ even if the driver used a company car. There are several grounds (or legal theories) that may come into play:
- Respondeat superior
- Negligent hiring or retention
- Negligent lending of a vehicle
- Negligent maintenance of a vehicle
Your experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help you navigate this maze, including bringing claims (filing suit) against the careless driver and his employer.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident? Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Myrtle Beach Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know was hurt in a car accident, don’t delay as you may lose important rights. Call the Hughey Law Firm right away at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online. Our experienced team will make you our priority. We have significant experience with car accidents and injuries throughout the state of South Carolina, including Myrtle Beach and its surrounding areas. There’s no charge to speak with one of our dedicated professionals. We will answer your questions, evaluate your case, discuss your options, and develop an effective, cohesive plan to get you the compensation you deserve.