Bluffton Car Accident Attorneys
Dedicated Car Accident Representation in Hilton Head & Surrounding Areas
Car accidents can be extremely terrifying, especially if there is a serious wreck with catastrophic injuries. Highway 278 and Highway 170 are notorious for dangerous driving conditions, but the reality is that a car accident can happen anywhere so long as there are negligent drivers are on the road. A distressing number of motorists are either too old to safely drive or are driving under the influence, leading to preventable accidents with devastating consequences.
If you have been injured in a crash as a result of someone else’s negligence, our Bluffton car accident lawyers at Horton & Goodman, LLC can help. Our team has handled hundreds of cases and has over 25 years of legal experience. We can assist you in pursuing your personal injury claim against a negligent driver and will do everything possible to secure the compensation that you need and deserve.
What To Do After a Car Accident in South Carolina
It can be easy to get swept up and disoriented in the chaos and confusion of a car accident. To protect yourself and a future personal injury claim, you will need to be diligent about
Immediately following a South Carolina car accident, you should:
- Call 911 if anyone needs emergency medical attention. Your first priority should be to ensure the safety of everyone involved. After moving all vehicles to a safe place, make sure everyone is okay.
- Report the accident to law enforcement. If any property damage or injuries occurred, you are required to report the incident to law enforcement. Request an officer be dispatched to the scene so they can write up an official report. This report will likely be a key piece of evidence in a future personal injury claim.
- Exchange contact and insurance information. If an accident injures someone or causes property damage, all drivers involved must provide proof of insurance. You should also collect the contact information of other drivers, including their names and addresses.
- Take pictures of the accident site. You will need to do your best to document what happened. This will typically involve taking pictures of the damage rendered to yourself, your property, and your vehicle. If possible, try and get pictures before vehicles are moved.
- Try to speak to any witnesses. If anyone not directly involved in the accident witnessed the incident, do everything possible to collect their contact information, including their names and addresses. You may need to call upon them to testify in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Record everything that you can remember about the accident.It can be extremely helpful to make your own written account of what happened while the details are fresh in your mind. This information can be extremely useful when making your case in a personal injury claim.
- Contact our firm. If you have been injured and are considering filing a personal injury claim, do not hesitate to call our team. If possible, we will come directly to the accident site, help document the incident, and assist in the collection of critical evidence.
You will also need to complete several important tasks after you have left the accident site. Our Bluffton car accident attorneys can provide you immediate support and guide you through each step you will need to take in preparing to file a personal injury claim.
In the days after a South Carolina car accident, you should:
- Submit proof of insurance to the South Carolina DMV. All drivers involved in a car accident are required to submit proof of insurance within 15 days of the incident. Failure to do so can lead to a suspension of your license and vehicle’s registration.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you do not believe that you have been seriously injured, it is important that you have a qualified medical professional examine you and anyone else that was in your vehicle at the time of the accident. Not all injuries are immediately obvious, and records of any injuries sustained in the accident will be an essential component of your personal injury claim.
- Notify your insurance company. Most driver’s insurance policies include a clause that requires that you provide immediate notice to your insurance company when an accident occurs. Our legal team can represent you in communications with your insurance company and help ensure that your interests are protected.
Proving Fault in a South Carolina Car Accident
Since your compensation for damages is based on percentage of blame, it's important to understand how to prove fault. To establish that the other driver was negligent, you must show that:
- The driver owed you a duty and he breached it. All drivers on the road have a duty to exercise reasonable care. If that duty was broken due to speeding, running a red light, or operating while intoxicated, then you must prove this in court.
- You were injured due to the breach of the other driver.
Even if you weren't injured by a car, you can still prove this breach from pedestrians, bicyclists, property owners, and manufacturers. An example of a manufacturer breach of duty would be if the accident was due to a defective product (ex: faulty car component).
How Car Accident Personal Injury Claims Work in South Carolina
You have 3 years from the date of a car accident to file a personal injury claim for sustained injuries or property damage. If an accident resulted in wrongful death, you have 3 years from the date of the victim’s passing. Personal injury claims filed after this deadline will most likely be rejected.
In a car accident personal injury lawsuit, the court will evaluate each involved driver’s comparative negligence. This means that the jury will review the available evidence and decide who was at fault. It is possible that they assign some level of fault to both drivers. In these situations, a jury will assign a percentage of blame to each driver.
So long as you are assigned less than 51% of the blame, you can still recover compensation in a car accident personal injury claim. However, any award will be reduced by the percentage that you were found to be at fault. For example, if your lawsuit sought $50,000 in damages, but you were found to be 10% at fault, your total award would be reduced by 10%, leaving you with a $45,000 award. If you are found to be at fault for 51% or more, you cannot be awarded any damages.
Our Bluffton car accident lawyers can help you recover damages for:
- Medical bills, including any hospital stays and rehabilitation costs
- Property damage, including any damage to your vehicle and its contents
- Lost income if your injuries prevented you from returning to work
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Punitive damages if the accident was caused by especially egregious misconduct, such as driving while under the influence
Our team at Horton & Goodman, LLC has substantial experience handling car accident claims and understands how these cases are adjudicated in South Carolina. We know what is at stake when you have been seriously injured in an accident and will stop at nothing to get you the compensation that you need to recover.