South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Experienced South Carolina car accident attorney dedicated to protecting victims' rights.
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If someone else’s negligence has injured you in a car accident, you likely face physical, financial, and emotional challenges ahead that can leave you at a loss. Recovering your physical strength and health may be all that you can focus on right now, but fortunately, you don’t have to tackle everything alone. An experienced South Carolina car accident attorney will skillfully advocate for your rights and for the compensation you’re entitled to while you tend to the critical work of recovering your health and well-being.
Your Car Accident Claim
Another driver’s negligence has injured you, and to recover as fully as possible, you need to be compensated for the damages (or losses) you’ve suffered. Your car accident claim will proceed through the at-fault driver’s car insurance provider. With the focused guidance of a car crash attorney, a legal team will negotiate with the insurance company for compensation. Car accident claims are often quite complicated, and recovering compensation for your accident-related losses can be a lengthy process. Your dedicated attorney will ensure that your damages are all well represented in your claim and will attentively defend your rights to pursue your rightful recovery. The vast majority of car accident claims are settled out of court. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate fairly, you will move forward with filing a lawsuit against them.
Common Car Accidents
Every car accident is unique to the moment and the circumstances involved, but there are some common varieties of car accidents.
Rear-end accidents are all too common, and while they’re often thought of as mere fender benders, this is far from the truth. Rear-end accidents are hazardous – especially when considerable speed is involved. Rear-end accidents are often caused by distracted drivers who fail to recognize that forward traffic is slowing down or stopping and speeding drivers who do not allow themselves enough time or enough room on the road to react safely to changing traffic patterns. Finally, motorists who tailgate make rear-end accidents that much more likely.
T-bone accidents refer to accidents in which one driver crashes headlong into the side of another vehicle. The sides of our cars are less protected than the fronts (with their hoods) and the backs (with their trunks), which makes these accidents especially dangerous. T-bone accidents are most likely to happen in intersections where traffic converges – and where a lot is going on in general. These accidents are often the result of motorists who barrel forward with too little attention to what is happening around them. Excess speed can also play a pivotal role.
As the name implies, a sideswipe accident happens when a vehicle swipes into the side of another car. Not only is the impact hazardous on its own, but it can also send the car that’s been sideswiped into oncoming traffic or into another lane that sets off a chain of dangerous reactions. Sideswipe accidents are often the result of distraction or overall reckless driving.
Seeing another vehicle coming right at you in your lane is a terrifying experience, and head-on collisions are just as dangerous as you might imagine. Head-on accidents are often caused by inattentive drivers who lose their way and dangerously impaired drivers.
Car accidents are so dangerously unpredictable that they can lead to virtually any severe injury, but some specific injuries are more common than others.
The immense impact of a car accident can quickly leave you with a broken bone, which is an incredibly painful injury that requires a considerable amount of time to heal fully. When the break is complicated, it can lead to serious health concerns and require ongoing medical attention. When a broken bone doesn’t heal correctly, it may cause chronic pain and can seriously diminish the victim’s range of motion.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A severe blow generally causes a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to the head, neck, or shoulders, and these injuries are common in car accidents. Because they affect your brain, even a relatively minor TBI can have dramatic consequences. Victims of serious TBIs share that the emotional and psychological effects are often debilitating.
Spinal Cord Injuries
An injury to your spinal cord can lead to life-altering consequences. Spinal cord injuries are closely associated with immense pain and considerable losses in the range of motion. These injuries are often caused by impact to the back or shoulders, and a car accident provides ample opportunity for these severe injuries to arise. If the accident’s impact leaves the spinal cord severed, it means permanent paralysis and a lifetime of healthcare needs.
A burn is one of the most painful injuries you can endure, and if it is serious, it leaves your body vulnerable to severe infections. Burns is also unique in that they can become more dangerous as they heal. When the affected skin begins to heal, it tightens and thickens, cutting off circulation in the affected area. Further, if a severe burn is on or near the face, it can permanently disfigure the victim, which is exceptionally difficult to recover emotionally.
Some injuries are so severe that they are classified as catastrophic (for their catastrophic effects on their victims’ lives and livelihoods). Common examples include:
- Limb loss or injuries that lead to amputation
- Loss of vision
- Loss of hearing
Catastrophic injuries generally mean a lifetime of healthcare concerns and related expenses.
Car accidents are often the result of other motorists’ negligence.
Driver distraction has become a significant problem on our roadways. When a driver does not focus on what is going on around them, it can lead to life-threatening accidents. While there are plenty of distractions out there, texting and other smartphone activities are the deadliest of all. When a driver’s thoughts, hands, and eyes are trained on their phone, that driver allows safety to fly out the window in the five or so seconds on average that it takes to read or send a text, a motorist traveling at highway speeds ends up driving blind for about the length of a football field, which is a level of danger that is difficult to beat.
Impaired drivers experience cognitive, motor, and sensory deficits that ensure they are some of the most dangerous drivers out there. Drunk drivers are overrepresented in fatal car accident statistics, and they make safely traveling our roads far more difficult than it needs to be. Because lack of impulse control is a function of impairment, these drivers often engage in other dangerous practices behind the wheel, including driving too fast or otherwise driving aggressively.
The role that speed plays in accident statistics is sobering. Excess speed makes accidents more likely to happen in the first place, making them more likely to be fatal. Driving at a safe speed is relative, and while speed limits are set for ideal conditions, every driver must adjust their speed according to the actual condition of the road, including the effects of the following:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Traffic patterns
- Bad weather
- Low visibility
- Road construction
Aggression behind the wheel is especially dangerous because it signifies purpose – aggressive drivers choose to drive dangerously. Aggression typically plays out in a combination of dangerous driving practices that can include any number of the following:
- Excess speed (the hallmark of aggressive driving)
- Passing illegally, including passing on the right or even on the shoulder
- Attempting to engage other drivers with obscene hand gestures, verbal assaults, and constant honking
- Zipping in and out of lanes
- Slowing down in the middle of traffic (for no reason)
Aggressive drivers are easy to spot, and if you do notice one on the road, it’s time to pull off and alert the authorities.
Drowsy drivers make our roadways more dangerous, and they often fail to recognize the danger they present. Without a good night’s sleep, motorists suffer some of the same types of impairment that drunk drivers do, which gives you a good idea about exactly how dangerous they are.
The losses (called damages in legal terms) that you suffer from being injured by someone else’s negligence can be immense.
A severe injury is likely to require extensive medical attention upfront – and the costs that go along with that – but they can also lead to the need for ongoing care and expenses. Further, some injuries are particularly susceptible to secondary health concerns, such as life-threatening infections. This is to say that you may not have a final tally on your medical costs until well into the future, making it paramount to ensure that all these expenses are accounted for.
Common medical expenses include:
- Emergency care at the scene of the accident and emergency transportation from the location of the accident
- Surgical care
- Hospital stays
- Pain management
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Treatment and care from doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals
- Adaptive physical devices
- Follow-up care
- Prescription medications
- Home health care
- Adaptations to home, office, and vehicle
Your Lost Earnings
While you work on recovering your health and well-being, you can expect to be away from work and experience lost wages in the process. If your injuries are severe and interfere with your ability to do your job, a loss in earning potential is a real possibility. Your chosen career path can also be irrevocably altered. It’s important to note that because our careers are so intertwined with how we view ourselves about the larger world, career losses can have a strong emotional component.
Your Pain and Suffering
Being injured by someone else’s negligence in a car accident can upend the life you’ve built for yourself, which translates to serious emotional pain and suffering – in addition to the physical pain you’ve endured. The trauma and violence of a car accident can lead to haunting consequences, such as:
- Sleep disturbances, including nightmares
- Increased anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Depressive episodes
- Emotional lability, including crying jags
- Increased distraction
- Severe mood swings
- Changes in personality
While your pain and suffering are the most challenging loss category to quantify, you must do so accurately. One of the most difficult aspects of these psychological symptoms is that they can push the support of your family members, friends, and loved ones away just when that support could be most helpful.
Protecting Your Car Crash Claim
You have been injured, which may mean that you have found yourself in such a physical and emotional state that you cannot effectively protect your car accident claim. Preserving your health and well-being should be your primary concern at this vulnerable juncture in your life; however, if you can do any of the following, it can go a long way toward bolstering your car accident claim and protecting your overall health and well-being:
- Pull your vehicle as far off the road or as far out of the line of traffic as you can
- Call 911
- Accept medical care at the scene if it is offered, or seek it immediately after
- Gather photographic evidence at the scene (capturing anything that may be relevant, including any extenuating circumstances – such as poor road maintenance or bad weather)
- Take statements from eyewitnesses and request contact information
- Other than providing police with your general information, you should wait to speak with an experienced car accident attorney before discussing the event with law enforcement
- Consult and work closely with an experienced car accident lawyer
- Follow your medical team’s healthcare instructions carefully
The goal is to take care of your health and protect your claim to the best of your ability. Even if you don’t believe you’ve been badly hurt, the truth is that severe injuries can hide in plain sight while they become more serious still and more challenging to treat.
The Insurance Company
The insurance company handling your claim is paid to cover your losses, but it is also a for-profit enterprise that puts its profits above your recovery. This is the harsh reality of the situation. It means that you need to be aware of the insurance company’s tactics and be well prepared to respond – under the professional legal guidance of your accomplished car crash attorney.
Early Settlement Offer
You have been injured and, not only are your medical bills mounting, but you’re also experiencing a decrease in earnings. The insurance company understands your dilemma only too well. As such, if they happen to make an early settlement offer, it is very likely a lowball offer, and they are very likely playing on your vulnerabilities. Many accident victims, out of sheer desperation, accept settlement offers that are far too low. Once received, however, you have no recourse to obtain the compensation you were entitled to in the first place. You should not accept a settlement offer until you’ve gone over it carefully with your car accident attorney, and they advise you to do so.
Prolonging the Claims Process
As mentioned, the claims process associated with car accidents is often complicated and often lengthy. Insurance companies are only too aware of this fact and sometimes take advantage by drawing out the process to the point that claimants simply give up in frustration. There are laws in place to help keep insurance companies on the up and up, and your car crash attorney will help ensure that your claims process progresses as smoothly as possible.
Casting Doubt on the Severity of Your Damages
The insurance company will do what it can to settle for less, including denying that your damages are as extensive as you claim they are. The insurance company is watching, and if you miss a doctor’s appointment or fail to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, it will use such information to show that your injuries can’t possibly be as serious as you say. Further, the insurance company will be trolling your social media accounts for pictures and posts that they can misconstrue to back up their contention. Now is the time to carefully tend to your healthcare needs and to lay low on social media.
Attempting to Shift Blame
Car accident claims are based on fault, and if the insurance company can shift the blame in your claim away from its client and toward you, it can save itself a considerable amount of expense. Don’t be discouraged by this tactic – instead, rely upon your car accident attorney to compile your most substantial claim and to fight the insurance company’s erroneous attempts. In their vulnerability, many accident victims will simply give up in reaction to an attempted shift in blame, and the insurance company counts on this.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions can help you move forward with greater purpose and increased confidence.
It is very unlikely that your case will go to trial. The vast majority of car crash claims are settled out of court. However, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate fair terms, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit against them. However, filing a suit can often motivate the insurance company to dig deeper and negotiate more fairly.
Your car accident claim is not exactly like anyone else’s, which makes it impossible to predict the amount of compensation you will receive. Your claim, however, will reflect your complete range of damages (in their entirety), and your accident lawyer will skillfully negotiate for a settlement that adequately covers these losses.
You are not required to hire a car accident attorney, and you are free to move forward with your claim on your own. However, car accident claims are complicated, and the insurance company is not on your side. Without a dedicated car crash lawyer in your corner, you are far less likely to obtain the compensation you need to fully recover from your physical, financial, and emotional losses.
Reach Out to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina Today
The trusted car crash attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices in South Carolina are on your side and well prepared to help. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 843-733-7662 to schedule a free case evaluation today.