Have you been in an auto accident in the Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, Florence, Myrtle Beach, or any surrounding South Carolina areas? You are not alone. With over three million vehicles on South Carolina roads every year, odds are we will all find ourselves in an auto accident at some point.
When you’re in an auto accident, it can turn your entire world upside down. You’re facing medical bills that are a threat to your ability to make ends meet. You can’t work, and you’re wondering how you’re going to pay for the basics like utilities and groceries. You know you deserve compensation from the person who caused your injury, but you’re facing bullying insurance companies and road blocks every step of the way.
That’s where Harris and Graves Personal Injury Attorneys come in. We’re here to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After An Accident
After an accident, the first thing you need to do is see a doctor. Not only are you taking care of your health and well-being, you are also establishing a record of your injuries.
Your injuries could be serious and require immediate attention. Failure to take action could lead to even bigger problems. For instance, your injuries being misconstrued as less serious by those you may file a claim against.
After seeking medical treatment for your injuries, it is also important to talk with an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible, since they will need to gather evidence for your car accident injury claim. A good auto accident lawyer will acquire police reports, copies of any photographic evidence related to the accident, and get statements from both the responding and investigating officers, as well as any eye witnesses. These things are best done quickly when the accident is fresh in the minds of those giving statements and any relevant documentation is easily obtained.
There are a number of other steps you should always take when you’re involved in an auto accident, if you’re able:
- Take photos of the accident scene. The more you can take, and from as many angles as possible, the better off you are.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Call the police and file a police report.
- Contact your insurance company and report the accident within 24 hours. Be straightforward and honest. Stick to the facts and don’t editorialize. Above all, always be consistent. You’ll need to tell your story multiple times, and you want to keep it simple so you don’t mix things up.
What Not to Do after an Accident
Just as there are things you should do following an accident, there are things you shouldn’t do as well. These represent common but possibly critical mistakes.
- Never apologize for anything. Any apology you make (even one that seems unrelated to the accident itself) could be used against you in negotiations to prove that you share responsibility for the accident.
- Don’t feel pressured to talk to an insurance agent for the other driver, whether at the scene, at the hospital, or any time after, without legal representation. You always have the right to direct insurance agents to speak with your attorney.
- Don’t ever sign anything without having an attorney look it over. If you sign the wrong papers, you could be giving away your right to compensation.
- Never embellish or editorialize your story. Always stick to the most basic facts, and if the representative with whom you’re speaking presses for more, make sure you don’t get talked into admitting something you don’t mean to admit.
Types of Auto Accident Injuries
There are many types of personal injuries that can result from a car accident:
Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 5 – 34.
Passengers may not be behind the wheel, but they can still get seriously injured in a car accident. Whiplash is the most common type of injury for passengers. Other common passenger injuries include: damage to the back, neck and shoulder pain, head or brain injury, broken bones, internal injuries, and cuts and bruises.
Each type of injury has specific considerations that an accident lawyer must deal with in order to file a claim for you.
Auto Accident Settlements
If you have sustain any of these injuries in a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for:
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical Bills
- Lost or Diminished Wages
- Permanent Disability
- Property Damage
- Repair Bills
What if I was in the vehicle at fault in the accident?
If you were a passenger in the vehicle that was at fault, you still have the right to file a claim. You can recover medical expenses and lost or diminished wages, as well as file for damages. Just because you are close friends or related to the driver, does not mean you should put your health and financial concerns aside. Keep in mind that their insurance covers these claims in most cases.
If a loved one has died in a car accident, you may be able pursue a civil action, such as a Wrongful Death claim.
Drunk Driving Victims
Injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving accidents are some of the most senseless and upsetting events in our lives. When someone gets behind the wheel intoxicated, they do so with total disregard for the safety and well-being of everyone around them.
Consider these facts:
One in three of us will be involved in an alcohol-related accident in our lifetime.
South Carolina ranks 49th in the country in DUI fatalities, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
In the U.S., someone is killed by a drunk driver every 40 minutes on average.
Close to half of all fatal car accidents in South Carolina were alcohol-related.
Over the past 10 years the number of deaths attributed to drunk driving accidents in South Carolina has steadily increased. This is a dangerous trend.
When you allow a personal injury lawyer to handle your case, they will fight for you to ensure a drunk driver is held fully responsible for their careless actions.
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
At some point in time during your case, you’ll need to deal with an insurance adjuster. These are claims representatives who are paid by the insurer to settle your case. They’ll start off by being very friendly and coming off as your only friend. They will, however, do everything they can to try and get you to sign off on a very low offer.
If you refuse this offer, their demeanor will change. They will convince, cajole and even try to bully you into accepting whatever lowball settlement they’re offering. They might blame you for the accident. They might claim you’re not actually hurt. They might threaten that if you go to court or refuse to sign, you’ll get no settlement at all.
None of this is true. They’re paid and evaluated in their job by how many cases they can close, how fast and how cheap. They probably don’t even know much about your case save for a quick glance at a file on their desk. They might, however, seem like they hold all the cards. That’s why you need someone in your corner who can help you fight back, who can protect your rights and put a stop to their bullying.
Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Every state has specific laws regarding personal injury litigation. South Carolina is no different. South Carolina is among many states that have adopted an “at-fault” liability system. This means parties involved in an accident are liable based on the degree at which they are at fault. You need a car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer who has knowledge and experience in South Carolina Injury Law to pursue your claim.
Aside from standard car accidents, between two or more private owners, there are other types of vehicle accidents that each have their own laws and limitations:
Harris and Graves is one of the premier personal injury law firms in South Carolina with offices in Greenville, Columbia, Spartanburg, Rock Hill and Florence. Our law firm has been serving South Carolina since 1977 and specializes in practice areas such as auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and workers compensation. To schedule a consultation with one of our practicing attorneys, please give us a call at 877-958-8038 or complete our inquiry contact form.