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Oftentimes auto accidents result in personal injuries that significantly alter your well being physically, emotionally and financially. In fact, in the United States the majority of personal injuries are due to motor vehicle accidents. The Charleston SC auto accident lawyers of Hughey Law Firm have represented thousands of clients, helping them to recover damages for their injuries as a result of the auto accident. With this experience you can trust that an auto accident lawyer at Hughey Law Firm will fight hard to win your case.
Consulting an auto accident lawyer with the Hughey Law Firm means that you are consulting with a law firm that has long been the go-to law firm for other lawyers to help them prosecute auto accident cases for their clients. We have extensive experience filing lawsuits and will file a lawsuit while aggressively pursuing your case if appropriate to do so.
The personal injury and Charleston auto accident attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm have handled numerous car accident cases involving property damage, injury, wrongful death, and uninsured motorists. We have helped numerous people recover damages for injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents. Many of our cases come to us from other law firms, as they are searching for an experienced auto accident lawyer in Charleston SC to deliver for their clients.
The vast majority of personal injuries in the U.S. result from motor vehicle accidents including cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and personal watercraft. Attorney Nathan Hughey formerly defended car wreck cases and trucking cases for insurance companies. He is an auto accident lawyer in Charleston that uses this experience to effort gaining you the best recovery possible. Our auto accident lawyers in Charleston represent people with car accident injury and wrongful death claims throughout South Carolina. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) estimates that a traffic collision occurs on South Carolina roads every 3.7 minutes. Whether you live in Charleston, or somewhere else in South Carolina, you face the risk of being in a car accident at some point in your life. Even when you drive carefully and follow all the traffic regulations, you still have to worry about those with whom you share the road. This guide will dig deeper into the SCDPS’s most recent collision data and provide relevant statistics about car accidents in Charleston and across the state.
SCDPS estimates 141,874 traffic accidents occurred on South Carolina roads in 2017, a number that has continued to increase each year. Although 2017 only saw 275 more collisions than 2016, the increase in numbers is much more drastic when comparing earlier years. For example, 113,260 traffic crashes occurred in 2013, more than 28,000 less than 2017, representing more than a 25 percent increase in five years. Among 2017’s crashes were 925 fatalities and 39,466 collisions that resulted in injury, a decrease from 2016’s all-time high record of 40,187 injury collisions. When examining the overall collisions, injuries, and fatalities over the 10-year period from 2008 through 2017, each reveals an overall increase from 2008. Charleston County had the most injury collisions (4,391) in the state and the second highest number of total traffic accidents (16,850).
Drivers of all ages, regardless of gender, might be involved in a car accident in Charleston or elsewhere in South Carolina, but some age groups are more prone to car accidents than others. At least one out of nine drivers under age 24 were involved in a car accident in 2017 and male drivers were involved in more than 70 percent of all fatal crashes. SCDPS provides some of the following crash statistics regarding gender and age:
You might suffer injury or lose a loved one in a car accident any day, or time, but the data show some times pose more risk with a higher frequency of injury and fatality collisions.
Traffic accidents happen in Charleston and surrounding areas every day. Every accident is unique in terms of its details. However, some types of car accidents are more common than others—and below we highlight some of the most common motor vehicle accidents we typically see in our law practice.
The National Transportation Safety Board reports that, between 2012 and 2014, nearly half of all two-vehicle accidents in the United States were rear-end collisions. So common are these accidents that researchers estimate a rear-end collision occurs in the United States approximately once every eight seconds. Here is what you need to know about them:
One particularly dangerous type of car accident is the vehicle rollover. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that, while rollover accidents account for only about two percent of all crashes involving passenger cars, SUVs, and pickups, they account for around 35 percent of all deaths from passenger vehicle crashes.
Taller and narrower vehicles, such as SUVs, pickups, and vans have a higher center of gravity and are more susceptible to rollovers. NHTSA data reveal that about 40 percent of rollover crashes involve excessive speeding. Fatal rollover accidents are far more common on roadways where the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour or more. About 87 percent of rollover crashes are due to a driver failing to pay attention and respond appropriately to the traffic ahead, a 2007 NHTSA study noted.
Many car accidents involve only one vehicle. A 2009 study by the NHTSA revealed the following facts about this type of crash:
This type of crash, which is also known as a broadside or T-bone collision, generally occurs when one vehicle runs a red light or otherwise fails to yield the right-of-way at an intersection. In a broadside accident, the front of one vehicle impacts the side of the other. Some of the factors that may cause a broadside accident to result in more severe injuries and death include the speed at which the vehicles were traveling, the relative size and weight of the vehicles, and the location of the point of impact.
Vehicle occupants on the side of the car that absorbs the impact often suffer severe and even fatal injuries, particularly with a size and weight discrepancy between the vehicles. The occupants of passenger cars are more likely to be killed in a T-bone crash than the occupants of pickup trucks, SUVs, or vans, due to size discrepancies in vehicles.
Head-on collisions make up an extremely small number of all traffic crashes. However, they account for more fatalities than many other types of accidents. Head-on collisions involve a vehicle departing from the roadway or the lane in which it was traveling and hitting the front-end of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Here are more facts about head-on crashes:
According to an April 2018 report from WIS10, South Carolina is the third deadliest state in the nation when it comes to car accidents, with an average death rate of 20.5 per 100,000 people, based on 2016 figures. But deaths aren’t the only tragic result of car accidents in the Palmetto state. Accidents in South Carolina also leave thousands of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists injured annually. Here is a look at common injuries caused by car accidents.
A traumatic brain injury includes any injury that penetrates or fractures the skull, or that causes the brain to collide with the skull. More than half of all reported traumatic brain injuries are caused by car accidents. One very serious type of traumatic brain injury is blunt trauma, which occurs when a head that is moving violently from the force of the accident collides with a stationary object, such as a windshield. Brainline offers the following information about these injuries:
Traumatic brain injury can leave its victim with severe cognitive, motor, and emotional deficits. Some victims fall into a coma or permanently lose consciousness.
Spinal cord injuries from car accidents tend to be very serious, leading to a loss of sensation and function of the body below the area where the damage occurred. Spinal cord injuries result from damage to the spinal column, spinal cord, vertebrae, ligaments, or discs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the severity of a spinal injury is defined by whether or not there is any movement, feeling, or control of the limbs.
Paralysis from a spinal cord injury is defined as:
Some of the bodily functions that may be impacted by a spinal cord injury include:
Internal injuries can be experienced in car accidents in a number of ways and in numerous parts of the body, and may include:
Also known as a slipped disc, a herniated disc occurs when the tough, outer fiber of the spinal discs becomes torn and allows the soft, jelly-like substance in the center of the disc to leak out. The symptoms of a herniated disc include:
The most common area for a herniated disc to occur is in the lower back (lumbar). However, herniated discs may also occur in the neck. Surgery is commonly required to repair the damage from a herniated disc.
As explained by the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that is caused by forceful back and forth motion of the head and neck. Whiplash often presents with symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness, and headaches that typically start at the base of the skull. Other symptoms of whiplash may include:
Most people find their whiplash symptoms go away within a few weeks. However, for some, the pain can linger for months or even years. The factors that make a person have chronic pain after a whiplash injury include having had whiplash before, older age, existing low back or neck pain, and symptoms that were intense, started rapidly, and included severe neck pain, headaches, and pain that spread to the arms. The most common cause of whiplash is rear-end accidents.
One of the most common car accident injuries that a person can suffer is broken bones due to sudden impact or twisting. The most common parts of the body to suffer fractures in car accidents include the arms and legs. Other bones may become fractured as well, including:
Not all car accident injuries are physical. The emotional and mental health of a car accident victim can also suffer, as well. According to Verywell Mind, post-traumatic stress disorder following a vehicle crash is common, with symptoms such as:
PTSD symptoms may not show up for weeks or even months following the accident.
In addition to representing you throughout your personal injury or wrongful death claim, an auto accident lawyer at the Hughey Law Firm can also work with the insurance company as your advocate throughout the property damage claims process. A Hughey Law Firm auto accident lawyer will work with your insurance provider towards attaining a fair financial payout for property damages resulting from your accident. These damages could include inconvenience, rental car and other costs associated with losing your transportation. We will never charge a fee for prosecuting automobile property claims.
Many drivers on the road today do not carry the legal amount of insurance required to cover the liability and property damage costs of an accident. If you need to file a claim against your own uninsured motorist policy (UM) or underinsured motorist policy (UIM) to recover damages, you will probably find that your insurance company is just as hostile to you as an opposing company would be. A Charleston auto accident lawyer at Hughey Law Firm will work aggressively to help you try to recover the maximum compensation from your uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policy.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) estimates that a traffic collision occurs on South Carolina roads an average of every 3.7 minutes. Someone dies in a traffic accident every 9.5 hours and an injury-causing collision occurs every 13.3 minutes. Car accidents occur for a variety of reasons, but the vast majority are preventable. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you might have mounting medical bills that insurance didn’t cover, lost wages because of missing work, and emotional stress from your physical pain and the additional financial burden. Sometimes you can overcome overwhelming feelings of helplessness by learning about what actions you can take. Whether you’ve been in a car accident in the last 24 hours or 24 weeks, these frequently asked questions about South Carolina car accidents provide some guidance:
South Carolina law requires you to report any traffic accident that results in more than $1,000 in property damage, injury, or death. If your car accident was severe, it is likely law enforcement came to the scene of the accident to investigate. In these cases, you don’t need to file a separate report. When law enforcement doesn’t come to the scene, you need to fill out a South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Collision Report (FR-309) and send it to the address on the form within 15 days of the accident.
Any motorist or occupant involved in a car accident in South Carolina has the right to obtain a copy of the official Officer’s Report. Law enforcement will provide you a report at the scene of the accident, but the Officer’s Report has more detail. For a final copy you must fill out the Request for Officer’s Report (SCDMV Form 50) and mail two copies of it to the address on the form with a $6 check or money order and include the following information on the form:
Minor collisions don’t typically require medical treatment, but when a crash causes considerable property damage, you should always get checked out by a physician. When severe accidents occur, emergency teams will come to the scene and likely take you to the nearest emergency department. If you refuse treatment at the scene and refuse to ride in the ambulance, you still head to the doctor. Common car accident injuries such as whiplash and brain injuries from head trauma don’t always show symptoms. Forgoing medical treatment might cause additional injury. Additionally, medical documentation of injuries provides leverage for settlement negotiations, evidence for insurance claims, and proof of injury for the court if you have to go to trial.
South Carolina is a tort state, meaning those who cause a car accident are liable for damages. In some cases, drivers fear reporting a claim under their own policy because they worry about a rate increase or policy cancellation. Other times, drivers assume that because they didn’t cause the accident, the should file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It’s almost always in your best interest to report an accident to your carrier regardless of fault. Many policies have clauses the require you to report all damage where your coverage might apply; failure to do so might result in cancellation. Additionally, if you want to fix your car or replace a totaled car, you will be waiting for some time for the at-fault driver’s carrier to pay out, if ever. Your carrier will typically pay out the claim so you can get repairs and seek reimbursement from the other insurance company.
South Carolina law requires motorists to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage with the same limits as the required liability coverage: $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability. Not only does UM coverage protect you if you have an accident with an uninsured motorist, but it also comes into play in hit-and-run accidents. South Carolina does not require underinsured motorist coverage, but insurance agents are required to offer it to you. If a driver doesn’t have adequate limits to cover damages, your underinsured motorist policy will kick in to cover the difference.
You can find most of the information that you need to file an insurance claim on your copy of the police report; however, you can maximize the likelihood of recovering some or all of your losses in a claim or lawsuit by collecting some additional information at the scene of the accident, if you are physically able. Some things that will help support your claim include:
The other driver’s insurance company might offer you a settlement rather quickly. This might be a tactic to avoid liability. If the carrier finds their policyholder is at fault, they want you to settle to avoid a large claim or verdict in your favor later on. Initial settlement offers are meant to lure claimants into settling, but they are often far less than full and fair compensation. It’s best to consider the first offer as a jumping off point for negotiations and don’t accept an offer without speaking to your lawyer. Let your attorney handle communication and negotiate the best outcome for your case.
South Carolina is, unfortunately, a place where many automobile and trucking accidents occur. Roads such as I-26, I-95, U.S. Highway 17, and others converge. We handle cases throughout the State of South Carolina, including Charleston County, Berkeley County, Sumter County, and Dorchester County, as well as Moncks Corner, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Florence, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Hartsville, Florence, Orangeburg, Sumter, Williamsburg, Clarendon, Manning, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Allendale, Richland, Hampton, Darlington, Colleton and all other counties. Our auto accident lawyers will work for you on a contingency (no fee unless we collect)* to recover for you or your loved one’s serious injuries or wrongful death.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We do not charge attorney fees or costs until we help you recover money for your claim. An auto accident lawyer from our team at Hughey Law Firm in Charleston SC looks forward to helping you with your accident.
*Fees calculated before expenses.
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