If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a car crash in South Carolina, you may pursue compensation for your damages through a car accident or wrongful death lawsuit.
The South Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm are standing by to help you. We can help you recover the damages you need to move forward after a catastrophic car accident. Together, we can help you seek justice.
Why Contact Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers?
Attorney Nathan Hughey founded the Hughey Law Firm in 2007 with the belief that if someone was injured in any South Carolina car accident and they didn’t cause the crash, they shouldn’t have to pay for the treatments and therapy needed to recover.
Since then, he and his injury law firm have recovered almost $190 million for their clients, including settlements and judgments of:
We cannot promise that your results will mirror those we listed above because the outcome of your case will depend on the facts involved. Every case must be evaluated on its own merits. Still, we think they demonstrate the kind of personal injury firm we are—absolutely committed to recovering everything our clients need to pay their bills and put their lives back together.
Types of Car Accidents in South Carolina
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, a traffic accident takes place in the state every 3.7 minutes, an accident involving injuries every 13.3 minutes, and a fatal traffic accident every 9.5 hours. Around 1,000 people die each year in South Carolina due to traffic accidents and more than 60,000 are injured.
Common types of car crashes include:
- Head-on collisions: While they make up a small percentage of the total number of car crashes each year, head-on collisions are disproportionately responsible for the fatalities suffered in traffic collisions. Head-ons occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the front of another. This type of accident is often caused by wrong-way driving or a prior collision that forces one of the vehicles into an oncoming traffic lane. Fatigue or drunk driving can also cause a driver to drift into oncoming traffic. One of the reasons head-on collisions are so deadly is that the forward motion of both vehicles at the time of the crash increases the force of the collision, and therefore the severity.
- T-bone accidents: T-bone car accidents occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another. Also known as broadside accidents or side-impact collisions, T-bone collisions generally occur in an intersection when one driver has failed to yield the right-of-way to another driver. These types of crashes in South Carolina can result in severe injury, with the highest risk of injury posed to individuals sitting on the side of the vehicle that is struck. T-bone crashes are particularly dangerous when there is a large size discrepancy between the vehicles involved in the collision. For example, the severity of a broadside crash is likely to be much greater if the crash involves a small passenger car being struck broadside by a commercial truck rather than two similarly-sized vehicles colliding.
- Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of one vehicle makes contact with the side of another vehicle. This type of accident often occurs while one vehicle is attempting to pass another vehicle. Upon overtaking the other vehicle, the driver of the passing vehicle then attempts to re-enter the travel lane and fails to ensure that they have enough space to re-enter the lane without colliding with the vehicle they overtook. Sideswipe accidents can also occur when one vehicle drifts into an adjacent travel lane or during a lane change when the driver has failed to ensure that the lane is clear.
- Rear-end collisions: Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of two-car accidents and involve the front of one vehicle making contact with the rear of another. Following too closely—also known as tailgating—is the most common reason for this type of accident. Vehicles require a certain distance to come to a safe stop. If a driver is following another vehicle too closely, they may not have enough time to notice the lead vehicle suddenly braking or enough distance to bring the car to a safe stop before a collision occurs.
- Rollover accidents: Rollovers can be tripped or untripped. In tripped rollovers, the tire area of the vehicle struck something such as another vehicle, a median, or a guardrail, which resulted in the car rolling over. In untripped rollovers, the vehicle rolled as the result of other factors, often a high center of gravity combined with too much speed and a sharp corner. Either type of rollover is more likely for vehicles with high centers of gravity, such as SUVs, vans, pickups, or commercial trucks.
- Single-car accidents: When only one vehicle is involved in an accident, it is referred to as a single-car accident. This term can be misleading, as accidents involving a vehicle striking a pedestrian or bicyclist are referred to as single-car accidents. Accidents can occur when a vehicle strikes an object—such as a person, bicycle, parked car, or tree—or can involve the vehicle leaving the roadway due to driver impairment, fatigue, or an attempt to avoid a collision with another vehicle.
- Chain reaction/pileup accidents: If three or more vehicles are involved in an accident, it is often referred to as a chain-reaction crash. Accidents involving several vehicles are considered pileups. Inclement weather is often a factor in this type of accident. Generally, chain-reaction accidents occur when two vehicles are involved in a collision and either the force of the collision pushes the front car into other vehicles, or a collision creates a blockage in the roadway that other vehicles can’t avoid.
What Causes Car Accidents in South Carolina?
Just as there are a lot of different types of auto accidents, there are a lot of reasons why they occur, as well. Most of these reasons are the result of human error, which causes the vast majority of car accidents.
Some common causes of a car crash in South Carolina includes:
- Impaired driving: Drunk driving crashes result in the deaths of more than 10,000 people each year in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol impairment doesn’t begin when the person reaches the legal limit of 0.08 blood alcohol concentration. Instead, it begins with the first drink, and the impacts on a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle become more pronounced as impairment increases.
- Driver fatigue: Drowsy driving causes the deaths of around 800 people each year and thousands of injuries. The most common cause of driver fatigue is insufficient rest, and those at the highest risk of causing an accident due to fatigue are night shift workers and long-haul truck drivers who are often working during their body’s natural sleep cycle. Sleep apnea, a breathing condition in which breathing temporarily pauses several times during sleep, is also a frequent cause of fatigued driving.
- Distracted driving: Driving distractions are anything that pulls the driver’s attention away from the safe operation of their motor vehicle. There are three categories of distraction: manual, which is anything that causes the driver to take their hands from the wheel; visual, which is anything that draws the driver’s eyes from the task of scanning the roadway; and cognitive, which is anything that takes the driver’s mind and focus away from driving.
- Speeding: Driving too fast for the conditions is also a common cause of car accidents. Speeding not only reduces the amount of time a driver has to perceive and respond to a roadway hazard but also requires additional distance for the vehicle to stop after the driver has engaged the brakes. Speeding also increases the force and severity of the collision and causes the vehicle’s protective features, including airbags and seat belts, to work less effectively.
- Unfamiliarity with the roadway: Unfamiliarity with South Carolina traffic laws and the roadway can result in a driver making careless errors such as darting across several travel lanes to make a rapidly approaching exit or performing a U-turn in an unauthorized location. It can also lead to wrong-way crashes if a driver fails to see one-way road signs.
- Road rage/ aggressive driving: Often used interchangeably, the terms road rage and aggressive driving actually refer to two different, and dangerous, driving practices. Aggressive driving often occurs in heavy traffic congestion and can include driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, improper lane changes, and red light running. Road rage involves attempting to punish another driver by yelling, honking, deliberately tailgating, or refusing to let a driver pass.
- Failure to yield: Failure to yield the right-of-way is often a driver error that takes place at an intersection by running a red light or stop sign, and is another major cause of car accidents in South Carolina and the rest of the nation. Other failure-to-yield accidents occur when an individual pulls out of a private driveway or parking lot without ensuring that there is a sufficient gap in traffic in which to do so.
Car Accident Claims in South Carolina
Those who are injured by someone else’s careless or reckless actions can recover compensation after a car accident through a car accident claim. This is a type of lawsuit filed in civil court in which you and your car accident lawyer must prove the at-fault party’s liability. An experienced car accident attorney at our law firm knows how to help your injury claim succeed and we work quickly to establish liability. We do this by showing that the at-fault party owed a duty of care—such as driving safely and legally—to the injured person, the at-fault party breached that duty of care, and the breach caused the accident and resulted in expenses.
In South Carolina, car accident victims generally have three years after the injury occurs to file a car accident lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you may not recover the money you deserve. To avoid missing any critical deadlines, it is important to contact an experienced car accident attorney at our law firm immediately. Even if you believe you’ve missed the deadline, there are exceptions you may not know about. Let us work on your injury case and help you explore all your legal options.
The damages victims may be eligible to seek in a car accident case in South Carolina include:
- Medical expenses.
- Loss of wages due to being too injured to work or forced to miss work to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- Loss of future earning capacity, if the injury results in a permanent disability that renders the injured person can’t do the same work as they could before the accident.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing the injured person’s vehicle.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Mental or emotional distress.
- Loss of companionship or consortium, which is collected on behalf of the injured person’s spouse due to loss of physical intimacy or companionship caused by the severity of the victim’s injuries.
- In some cases in which the defendant’s carelessness or recklessness was particularly egregious, your car accident lawyer may also seek to recover punitive damages that are not related to the injuries they suffered but are instead designed to punish the at-fault driver for their behavior.
Wrongful Death Claims After a Car Accident in South Carolina
Losing a loved one—particularly one who has provided care and support for other members of the family—is an emotionally and financially devastating event. The family members of an individual who has been killed in a car accident as the result of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
In South Carolina, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by an administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate on behalf of the family members. As with car accident lawsuits, wrongful death claims hinge on the ability to prove liability and you must pay close attention to the statute of limitations for wrongful death in South Carolina. Generally, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within three years after the date of the accident that resulted in death.
Some of the damages that can be recovered through this type of claim or lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses incurred during treatment of the deceased’s final injuries.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of income.
- Loss of care and affection.
- Emotional distress experienced by the family members due to the deceased’s unexpected death.
A car accident lawyer at the Hughey Law Firm can help you and your loved ones through this difficult time. We will work with you to explore your legal options, offering compassionate guidance throughout the legal process.
South Carolina Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Upon first experiencing a car accident, it is not unusual to have many questions in your head such as: “Is anyone hurt?” or “How bad is the damage to my car?” After a while, however, the reality of the situation sinks in and the questions become even more serious: “How am I going to pay my medical bills?” “Am I ever going to go back to work again?”
There is a legal process designed to compensate accident victims for their injuries, expenses, and life impacts after a car accident while holding the at-fault party financially responsible for causing the accident. Here are some of the questions we are most commonly asked regarding car crashes and car accident cases. As always, consult an experienced attorney for answers to questions about your specific case.
How do I prove that someone else was liable for my car accident injuries?
To prove another party’s liability in an auto accident, you must prove that:
- The other party owed you a duty of care. This duty of care depends on the other party’s role in your accident. For example, drivers owe each other a duty of care to operate a motor vehicle in a safe and legal manner.
- The other party breached this duty of care. For example, another driver was speeding, which is not only against the law but also dangerous to other people traveling on the roadway.
- This breach caused the accident and your resulting injuries and expenses.
Can there be more than one source of liability in my motor vehicle accident?
Yes. Car accidents in South Carolina are often not simple events caused solely by a single person’s actions. Instead, they can involve:
- The drivers of other vehicles who may not have been involved in the accident, but whose actions may have contributed to the car crash.
- The company that the liable driver worked for if they were a delivery person and the accident occurred while they were out on delivery.
- A business establishment that furnished alcohol to a minor or to someone for whom it was reasonably foreseeable that they would be involved in an accident because of the alcohol. While South Carolina does not have a specific dram shop law, injured people have made successful claims against liquor establishments for the injuries they suffered when a drunk driver caused an accident.
- The manufacturer or distributor of defective auto parts can sometimes be liable if a parts failure causes an accident. Product liability laws require that manufacturers and distributors ensure that their products are safe for consumers when used properly.
- Governmental entities tasked with maintaining roadways can sometimes be held liable if an unmarked roadway defect resulted in an accident.
I was partially responsible for my car crash. Does this prevent me from filing a claim?
No. In South Carolina, even if you were partially responsible for the accident, you can still file a claim. However, your settlement or award will be reduced in accordance with your percentage of responsibility. South Carolina liability laws are complex. It is in your best interest to contact a car accident lawyer to help you explore your options and find the best solution for you and your family. At the Hughey Law Firm, our car accident lawyers are here to help you through the aftermath of a serious auto accident.
My spouse/parent/child was killed in a car crash. Is there compensation available for me?
There may be. In South Carolina, the family members of individuals killed in car accidents someone else caused can pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Like other car accident claims, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within three years after the accident occurred. This type of claim can be filed by the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate on behalf of family members. An experienced car accident lawyer can guide you through this process and help you put your lives back together after the loss of a loved one.
Do I need an attorney to seek compensation in my case?
Absolutely! If you are injured in a car accident, a South Carolina car accident attorney can provide important services for you, including:
- Establishing a value to your case.
- Determining all sources of liability and insurance resources.
- Collecting evidence and deposing witnesses.
- Negotiating with the liable party’s insurance company to obtain a fair settlement for you.
- Timely filing of necessary paperwork in the proper jurisdiction.
- Assisting you in understanding the pros and cons of accepting any settlement offer you receive.
- Attending all pre-trial conferences or hearings.
- Presenting your case in court.
- Assisting you in collecting your settlement or award.
- Continuing to represent you if the defendant in your case files an appeal.
If I hire an attorney, does that mean my case is going to court?
No. In fact, the vast majority of personal injury cases settle before a judge or jury reaches a verdict. Many of these cases are settled before the trial even begins. However, some settlements are not offered until after the trial is in progress. While this is true for most cases, approximately 5% of personal injury cases will, in fact, get to trial. Your attorney should be experienced and comfortable with both settlement negotiations and litigation.
What is the average car accident settlement?
There is no average settlement. Each settlement is based on the unique facts of the case involved. The factors that may change the amount the insurance company offers you include:
- The liable party’s insurance coverage. Insurance is how most accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. While it is possible to file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver, collecting a settlement or award from that person may be very difficult.
- Your age and health before the accident.
- The severity of your injuries and the extent of required medical treatment. Injury severity not only tends to increase medical expenses but also increases related non-economic expenses, which are compensation for the impacts that the injury has on your life.
- How much work you are required to miss due to your injuries. An accident involving permanent disability and the injured person’s inability to return to work will almost always result in a higher settlement than an accident in which the individual misses very little time from work.
How long does it take to settle a motor vehicle accident case in South Carolina?
Just like there is no average settlement amount, there is no average amount of time it takes to settle a car accident case in South Carolina. Often, settlement negotiations require patience. Insurance companies are reluctant to settle and frequently will only do so when it becomes apparent that the case is going to go to court and there is a chance that the company will lose the case. It is not uncommon for a settlement to be reached while the trial is taking place.
The liable party in my automobile accident was arrested for drunk driving. Can I still sue?
Yes, you can still file a car accident claim. An arrest for drunk driving is a criminal proceeding. The criminal case is investigated by the police and prosecuted by the local, state, or federal government. The conviction results in financial penalties for the offense, costs for court proceedings, and other penalties including incarceration, probation, license suspension, and more.
A car accident claim is a civil lawsuit. Instead of seeking a conviction for a crime, the plaintiff in the case seeks to prove that the other party is liable for the accident and seeks compensation for the damages the liable party caused. It is not uncommon for a drunk driver to face a criminal conviction and civil liability for the same accident in separate court proceedings.
The liable party in my case offered to pay me not to file a claim with their insurance. Should I accept?
No. You should never accept cash in lieu of filing an insurance claim. You are at risk of not receiving the cash as promised and can run into difficulty if the amount you are given is not enough to cover your expenses. Instead, you should obtain the other driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number, the name of their insurance carrier, their insurance policy number, and the vehicle’s registration information. Then, you should file your claim legally.
I was offered a quick settlement. Would it be easier to just accept that amount?
It likely would be easier in the short term, but it isn’t advisable. Insurance companies are in business to make money. Reducing the amount that they pay out on claims is one of the ways they do this.
A quick settlement seldom takes into consideration the full picture of the accident, the injuries you suffered, and the impacts that those injuries will have on your life. If you accept this early settlement offer without knowing the value of your case, you can find yourself without enough money to cover all of your expenses. Settlements are a one-shot deal—once you accept the offer, you can’t go back and ask for more money if it is not enough.
If you were injured in a car accident, let us provide answers to your legal questions. For a free case evaluation, contact us now.
Let the Hughey Law Firm’s South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Help
Auto accidents resulting in death or injury cause an incredible amount of fear and stress. Let the experienced car accident attorneys at Hughey Law Firm help alleviate some of these feelings by helping you to understand the legal options that are available to you.
For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (843) 881-8644.
“Thank you Hughey Law Firm! It was a pleasure to work with you on my case! From the beginning, every contact I had with your firm was professional, kind, helpful, and painless! I always felt kept in the loop, and important to you as a client. If you are looking for a personal injury attorney with integrity, I would highly recommend Hughey Law Firm!”
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