Helping Charleston SC Car Accident Victims
Car accidents are all too common of an occurrence, especially on busy Charleston, South Carolina streets. While some people walk away from car accidents, others become seriously injured. It is frustrating when a driver’s carelessness on the road causes an injury that can seriously reduce your or your loved one’s quality of life.
Fortunately, there are ways to receive compensation and be made whole after a car accident. It’s advisable to start by teaming up with a good lawyer. A lawyer will see to it that your rights are protected, and they will make sure that you get every penny you deserve.
If you are looking for a car accident lawyer in the Charleston area, the Hopkins Law Firm is recommended. Read on to find out how we can help you become fairly compensated.
Injuries in a Car Accident
Car accidents can occur in a matter of seconds…and just like that you or your loved ones can be left with a serious injury. Cars are heavy and they travel at high speeds so injuries can sometimes be quite severe. You may lose a limb or become paralyzed or disabled. Death is also a possibility.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of car accident injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”)
When one car hits another, drivers are likely to collide with the windshield, the rearview mirror, or the roof of the car. Brain injuries often occur. TBI’s can result in blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. They can also lead to permanent brain damage.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A car accident can cause a blow to the spinal cord and surrounding ligaments. This can lead to temporary and permanent injuries including herniated discs and even paralysis.
The impact of a car accident often causes the head to snap back and forward. This results in a painful neck condition called whiplash. Whiplash usually goes away in a few weeks, but for some people it can last much longer.
Bone fractures are common occurrences in car accidents. While most bone fractures are not serious, some require surgery and can cause limited function in affected parts of the body.
Organ damage is quite serious in nature. If your organs become damaged in a car accident, you may require surgery or even a transplant. Organ damage can sometimes also lead to death.
In some instances, a car can catch fire when an accident occurs. This can cause burns which may lead to disfigurement and/or require surgery.
Internal bleeding is another type of injury that commonly occurs in car crashes. You may not realize that you are bleeding internally right away, however, this type of injury is quite serious in nature. It is for this reason that it’s advisable to seek medical help sooner rather than later.
Shared Fault in Charleston
When a car accident occurs, one of a lawyer’s key duties is to determine who is at fault. This will help them figure out who is responsible for damages.
South Carolina is a ‘fault’ state. This means that if the other driver is found to be responsible for the accident, it is up to them to compensate you for damages.
This may seem cut and dry, but it is not always so simple. You can count on the other party or their insurance company to do everything they can to get the blame taken off their shoulders. They may even try to say you are at fault.
That’s why it’s so important to have a good lawyer on your side.
Accidents with Commercial Drivers
Now let’s say the person you got into the accident with was a commercial driver. This means they were driving for work duties. Uber drivers, delivery drivers, truck drivers and the like all fall under this category.
This adds another layer of confusion. Instead of suing the driver, you may have to go after the company they work for to be made whole for your injuries and damages.
Suing a Government Agency for an Accident
In some instances, you may even have to sue a government agency for your accident. This can be the case if you collide with a government worker’s car when they are on duty. You may also have to sue the government if the accident was caused by road work commissioned by the city.
Suing a government agency can also be tricky. Many states have laws to protect government agencies from lawsuits.
For example, while South Carolina provides a statute of limitations of three (3) years for most motorists involved in accidents, there is typically a shorter time period to bring your claim – two (2) years – if the government may be the at fault party.
If you’re going head-to-head with the government, you will definitely want a lawyer on your side.
Dealing with Insurance
If you are involved in a smaller accident, you may be able to resolve your claim through the insurance companies. But if the damage incurred in the accident is more severe, it’s best to talk to a lawyer before speaking to any agents.
When an insurance company gets your claim, their go-to is to try and pay out as little money as possible. They may offer you what seems like a lot of money, but once you spread it out to cover repairs, bills, and your injuries, you may find that it’s not nearly enough to provide adequate compensation for you or your loved one’s injuries.
Insurance companies will also try and twist your words. They will call you for an account of the accident and take what you are saying out of context to make it seem like the accident was your fault, even if it wasn’t.
A lawyer will protect you from insurance companies’ sketchy tactics. They will speak to agents on your behalf using language that can’t be twisted or taken out of context. They will know exactly how much should be paid out for damages and they will fight relentlessly to make sure you are properly compensated.
Compensation for a Car Accident
After you are involved in a car accident, you will want to know how much you should claim to make you whole for your damages. This will vary from case to case, but here are some factors to be taken into consideration.
If you suffered extensive injuries that kept you out of work, the at-fault party will be responsible for paying your lost wages. They may also need to compensate you if you are unable to go back to work on a permanent basis or if you are forced to take a lower paying job because the accident caused physical limitations that make you unable to continue working in your current position.
Medical expenses include any expenses incurred directly from the accident as well as ongoing expenses. So, if you were taken to the hospital after the accident, the at fault party will have to cover that visit and your treatment. He or she will also have to take care of costs for future procedures and surgiers, rehabilitation, at home nurses, physical therapy, and other extensive care.
After an accident, many people experience emotional trauma. This can come in the form of PTSD, anxiety, fear of driving, depression, and so on. Your damages and claim should cover any psychological medical care needed and make up for the mental effects of a traumatic experience.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering refers to the physical pain you feel during the accident and afterwards as you are healing.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement can reduce quality of life and change the way you see yourself and the way others see you. This is a type of physical and emotional trauma that goes beyond the norm.
Death and Funeral Expenses
If a person dies in an accident, the at fault party may be responsible for covering the victim’s death and funeral expenses. This includes funeral and burial fees. It may also include medical bills and the financial loss the family must deal with from no longer having that person as a source of income.
Punitive damages are awarded if it is found that the responsible party exhibited careless, reckless, or outrageous conduct that may have contributed to the accident. This may come into play if the defendant was drunk driving or was going out of his or her way to be violent on the road. These additional damages are charged to reform the defendant and keep them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
If property damage occurs during the accident, the at fault party will be responsible. This includes any damage done to the other vehicle as well as damage done to public property, nearby residential properties and so on. If damage occurs on a property that does not belong to the main car accident victim, such as nearby residential home, the owner of the home may go after the defendant for damages in a separate case.
Note: Some of these damages may be easier to determine than others. For example, it may be simple to figure out medical expenses, property damage and lost wages. Emotional trauma and pain and suffering are harder to put a monetary value on.
An experienced lawyer will be familiar with cases where emotional suffering comes into play. He or she will use their expertise to come up with an amount that’s fair.
What Should I Do if I Get into a Car Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, there are steps you can take immediately after the accident occurs that will help you build a strong case. Here are some that are recommended.
Call the Police
If you are involved in a minor accident, you may not think it’s necessary to get the police involved. But when the police arrive, they will create a report that documents what happened and can serve as a solid piece of evidence in court. Once the report is created, ask the officers for a copy so you can provide your lawyer with the documentation they need.
Seek Medical Attention
It is always wise to seek medical help after an accident occurs. You may think you are not seriously injured and decide forgo care. However, it is not uncommon for car accident injuries to get worse over time.
If you do not get care right away and end up going to the doctor days or weeks later for an injury that has gotten worse, it will be difficult to trace it to the accident. The team you are fighting in court will try to say that the injury was caused by something other than the accident and it will be difficult for you to prove that this was not the case. That is why it is always best to get medical help ASAP.
A picture tells a thousand words. It will also serve as hard evidence of exactly what happened at the scene. Fortunately, most people carry their cell phones with them now, which makes it easy to take pictures of the scene after the accident. When shooting, be sure to take shots from all angles. Include images of any damage and injuries that occurred. However, always make sure you and your loved ones are fine before taking pictures. It is always important to call 911 and seek medical care first after an accident.
Get the Name of Witnesses
It is likely that there are witnesses who may have seen the accident or have information about the way the defendant driver was acting before the collision. There also may be bystanders around at the scene of the accident. Your or someone helping you should try to get their contact information because they may be helpful in establishing who was at-fault and they may be able to testify in court to give your case more credibility.
Why Hopkins Law Firm is the Best Choice for Charleston, South Carolina Car Accident Representation
If you are injured in a Charleston, South Carolina car accident, you want to get the compensation you deserve. The team at Hopkins Law Firm will make sure you get the coverage you need.
The Hopkins Law Firm is a family-owned business with over 50 years of experience dealing with car accident and personal injury cases. They are dedicated to pursuing full and fair compensation. They treat their clients with care and respect and will fight tirelessly to get a positive outcome.
If you were involved in a car accident, don’t take it laying down. The Hopkins Law Firm will see to it that at-fault parties pay for the damage they have caused. Call us to find out how we can help you get the closure you need to move on in your life.Schedule Your Free Consultation
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Don’t discuss your injury case with the other party or with the insurance company until you have a powerful legal advocate on your side. Call us at 843-894-2377 or reach us by email. Our team offers a free consultation and won’t charge attorneys’ fees unless we help you recover money in a settlement or trial.
We Are Here to Help
Contact Hopkins Law Firm, LLC, at 843-894-2377. If you would like more information about your specific case, you can meet with an attorney from our Charleston team. We will listen to your story, let you know what we can do, and how we can help. You may also email us with a detailed description of your case and we will reach back out to you. We are your local attorneys and we are here to help.