Car accidents are terrifying. In those first moments you are hurt, confused, scared and unsure of what to do next. There are a lot of dangers inherent in making the wrong choices. What are the laws? What should you do? What should you not do? Saying the wrong thing and keeping the wrong records can cost you dearly. It’s vital to keep calm and make sure you cover all your bases. As devastating as it is, Columbia car accidents happen, but here you can learn about South Carolina laws and what to do if you are involved in an accident.
Columbia Car Accidents and South Carolina Laws
South Carolina car accident laws differ from those in some other states in that South Carolina is a “fault” state, as opposed to a “no fault” state. This means that in our state, any person who is deemed as legally at fault for a car accident is required by law to cover damages and injuries stemming from that accident. In most cases the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover these damages.
Methods of Compensation
There are three remedies available to victims of Columbia car accidents. These include:
- Filing claim with your insurance company, who will then deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover damages
- Filing directly with the other driver’s insurance company
- Filing personal injury claims in civil court
The major difference between fault states like South Carolina and no-fault states is that, in a no-fault state, the first remedy must be that taken before other remedies are available.
South Carolina requires a minimum level of liability insurance be carried by every driver. These minimums are coverage of up to $25,000 for single-person injury or death, $50,000 for a single accident (total) and $25,000 for property or vehicle damage. Unfortunately, these minimums sometimes won’t cover the full damages you suffer. This is why the state also requires that uninsured motorist insurance is carried by all drivers at the same minimum levels, doubling what you can recover if the other driver is underinsured.
What to Do?
Just because the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the accident or injuries doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to full compensation for your damages. This is where a personal injury claim comes into play. Very often, insurance companies will seek to minimize the amount of money they pay out. Part of the tactics they use is getting you through pressure or coercion to sign an agreement accepting partial blame or lesser compensation.
Talking to a qualified personal injury attorney can make all the difference between getting the compensation you deserve and having to cover your own medical bills. Attorneys know all the details of the state’s auto accident and injury laws, and know exactly how to deal with insurance companies who don’t want to pay out. You also have very little to lose by talking to an attorney—most times, the consultation is free, and there are no obligation and fees unless the case is won.