South Carolina Cell Phone Law

Auto Accidents

South Carolina laws prohibit using a cell phone to craft, read, or send text messages while driving. Per the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS):

“It is unlawful for a person to use a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State.”

For a civil case, texting while driving is a clear form of negligence. If a driver was texting and driving when they caused a collision with you, then they may be responsible for all of your accident-related damages.

Recent Legislation Has Cracked Down on Cell Phone Use While Driving in South Carolina

Local Lawyer for a car accident caused by driver who was texting while drivingTexting while driving is not the only offense that can get drivers in South Carolina in hot water. The South Carolina Senate passed a hands-free cell phone bill that goes further than previous legislation banning texting while driving.

If passed, this bill will:

  • Make it illegal to hold a cell phone in one’s hand while driving.
  • Permit drivers to put their cell phone in an on-dash cradle device, ending calls or quickly interacting with navigation apps, but not holding their cell phone in their hands.
  • Make it clear that any motorist who holds a cell phone while driving is in the wrong.

The legislation will cast a wide net, prohibiting many cell phone-related activities drivers in South Carolina engage in while behind the wheel.

Such activities include:

  • Recording or watching video
  • Accessing social media accounts
  • Talking on the cell phone while using any of your hands to hold the phone
  • Playing games on one’s phone
  • Changing songs, podcasts, or audiobooks

With few exceptions, handling one’s phone while driving is a reckless act and may soon be formally prohibited by South Carolina law.

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The Data is Clear: Motorists Who Use Their Cell Phones While Driving Endanger Others

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people die daily in America because of distracted drivers. When motorists admit to driving while distracted and causing a collision, they should be held responsible for their negligence.

Motorists who use their cell phones while driving may:

  • Take their eyes off of the road for a substantial time
  • Taking longer to brake when traffic stops ahead of them
  • May veer out of their lane, perhaps into oncoming traffic
  • Run red lights, stop signs, and other traffic signals
  • Cause accidents resulting in severe or even fatal injuries

Even without the data, we know based on common sense that using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of an accident. If you or a loved one were in an accident with a driver who you know or suspect was using their cell phone, an attorney will seek compensation for your losses.

How Can I Prove That a Motorist Was Using a Cell Phone When They Caused My Accident in South Carolina?

It may be challenging to prove that a motorist was using their cell phone at the time of your accident. It may be challenging to obtain a motorist’s cell phone records as part of a civil case, though others have done it before. You can speak with your lawyer about the possibility of getting the liable motorist’s cell phone records.

In many cases, obtaining cell phone records is unnecessary.

Your attorney can prove that the motorist was using their phone during (or just before) the accident through:

  • The motorist’s own words: Motorists don’t always deny that they were using a cell phone when they caused an accident. The responsible motorist may have admitted to you, witnesses, law enforcement personnel, or medics that they were on the phone when the accident happened. Your attorney will use any such admissions in your favor.
  • Witness accounts: One or more witnesses may have seen the at-fault motorist on their phone just before your accident happened. The witnesses may record their accounts through a police report and possibly for your attorney as well.
  • Dash camera footage: Some motorists have dash cameras that capture their actions as they drive. If the at-fault driver had an active dash cam and your lawyer can get the footage, it may be helpful in your case.
  • Social media posts: Believe it or not, some motorists live-stream their accidents. If the at-fault motorist recorded a video that showed your accident, you can present that video as evidence in your lawsuit.

Even if you can’t prove that the at-fault motorist was on their cell phone at the time of your accident, you can prove that they were at fault for your accident. Being on the cell phone while driving may cause egregious errors, such as rear-ending another driver at a high rate of speed and running red lights and stop signs.

Witness accounts, physical evidence, and video footage may show that the other motorist caused your accident. This may make your case and secure compensation.

What Should I Do After an Accident in South Carolina?

You must consider two primary factors after an accident in South Carolina:

  1. Your health
  2. Your wallet

How to Protect Your Health After an Accident

Your health is paramount. If you have not already received thorough medical attention, see a doctor as soon as possible. You want to get a clear diagnosis and treatment plan for any injuries you suffered in the accident. You also want to rule out any additional injuries that a medical professional has yet to diagnose.

It’s also important to document your medical care. Records of injuries and healthcare services may be crucial to your case.

How to Protect Your Wallet After an Accident (Hint: Hire a Lawyer)

When we say protect your wallet, we mean:

  • Ensuring that you don’t have to pay out of your pocket for harm that someone else has caused
  • Ensuring that liable parties don’t blame you for the collision and end up securing compensation from you

Hiring an attorney is one of the surest ways to protect yourself from these outcomes.

From the moment that you hire them, an attorney will look out for your financial interests by:

  • Protecting you from the insurance companies: Auto insurance companies tend to be most concerned with their bottom lines. They may prefer that you accept a quick but insufficient settlement. Your lawyer will protect you from pressure to accept a settlement, as well as any unjust denial of your claim.
  • Helping you with any statements you must make: Whether you need to talk with law enforcement, insurance companies, or other parties involved in your claim, you must be careful what you say. Your lawyer will help you determine what you should and should not say to protect a possible financial recovery.

A personal injury lawyer will undoubtedly be in your corner after a car accident. Every step they take will be with your financial recovery in mind.

What Else Will a Personal Injury Attorney Do for Me?

A personal injury lawyer will handle your pursuit of compensation. This can mean filing an insurance claim or pursuing compensation through the civil system perhaps filing a lawsuit on your behalf.

In either case, a personal injury lawyer will generally:

Investigate Your Accident

Investigating an accident means more than finding out if a liable motorist was on their phone.

Your lawyer may also:

  • Visit the scene of your collision
  • Record witness accounts
  • Speak with law enforcement and obtain the police report from your collision
  • Collect any evidence that can be useful to your case

In many cases, a lawsuit is only as strong as the initial investigation.

Identify and Value Your Damages

Your attorney will determine your recoverable losses, which will be the foundation of any judgment or settlement you receive. Your lawyer and their team will also obtain documentation of your losses, such as medical bills, doctors’ reports of your injuries, proof of lost income, and invoices for vehicle repairs.

Lead the Day-to-Day Operations for Your Case

Much goes into a lawsuit, and your attorney will handle the daily responsibilities of your case.

This generally includes:

  • Making phone calls
  • Sending emails
  • Drafting and filing case-related paperwork
  • Dealing with attorneys for liable parties
  • Communicating with insurance companies
  • Monitoring the progress of your case

These duties are time-consuming and require near-constant attention. With an attorney on your side, you don’t have to worry about them.

Pursue a Settlement

Most civil cases end settle, as the American Bar Association notes. Your lawyer will seek a settlement for you.

This process generally requires your lawyer to:

    • Engage any attorneys that the at-fault motorist hires
    • Explain the damages you’ve suffered
    • Explain their calculation of damages
    • Present evidence of liability
    • Negotiate a settlement
    • Take your case to trial if necessary

Yes, a trial is always a possibility in a civil case. Trials are rare, though, and maybe a final resort for your attorney.

Can’t I Represent Myself After a Car Accident?

You are allowed to represent yourself, whether you’re pursuing an insurance claim or lawsuit. Going without a lawyer comes with several risks, though.

Without an attorney handling your case, you may:

  • Be financially exposed: One benefit of a personal injury law firm is they handle all case-related costs expert fees, filing costs, and other expenses. If you handle your case without an attorney, you lose this benefit. You’ll likely have to pay out of your own pocket for all case-related costs.
  • Neglect the recovery process: If you suffered injuries in the accident, you might need ample time to rest and recover. If you spend significant time trying to make a strong case, then your recovery and general health may suffer.
  • Need to brush up on the law: Are you a lawyer? When was the last time you handled a lawsuit or insurance claim? What do you really know about these processes? You might want to answer these questions honestly before deciding to represent yourself.
  • Lose your case: There is never a guarantee that you or your attorney will win your case. However, you must realize that you can invest your own time, effort, and money into your lawsuit or claim and ultimately lose.

When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they generally accept much of the risk. The firm pays the costs of your case, invests their own time and resources into completing the case, and only receives a fee if they get a settlement or judgment for you.

If the attorney doesn’t win your case, you pay them absolutely nothing. This is the reason alone why many accident victims rely on attorneys to handle their cases.

Recoverable Damages for a Motor Vehicle Accident in South Carolina

Recoverable damages are why accident victims hire attorneys. They hope that the lawyer will secure fair compensation for their losses, which may include:

Healthcare Costs

Accident victims often suffer injuries. When they do, medical providers typically diagnose and treat the injuries. This costs money. If you suffered injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, then liable parties should cover the costs.

Professional Damages

When accident victims suffer injuries, they generally experience a professional impact.

Especially in the case of severe or disabling injuries, you may:

  • Be unable to earn your usual income
  • Lose the ability to earn promotions and performance bonuses
  • Lose the fulfillment that your career provides
  • Be unable to return to work or may return in a limited capacity

Professional damages have financial costs. Your attorney will seek fair compensation for those costs.

Pain and Suffering

Some forms of pain and suffering for which your attorney may seek compensation are:

  • Pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Conditions like anxiety and depression
  • Lost quality of life

You may also get compensation for any necessary treatment, like medication, counseling, and therapy.

Property Costs

If your accident caused damage to your vehicle or other personal property, you might get coverage for all necessary repairs. If the accident destroys any property, liable parties may have to compensate for those damages.

Call an Attorney Today to Start Your Case

Act now if you’re considering pursuing compensation for an accident in South Carolina. Deadlines may govern your case, and you may have a short time to file. By hiring an attorney, you will allow them to go to work for you.

Complete a free consultation today with a personal injury attorney serving South Carolina.