South Carolina operates on a tort-based car accident system, meaning you have the right to hold an at-fault driver responsible for the damages they caused you to suffer. If you believe a careless or reckless driver caused you to sustain injuries in a crash, a car accident lawyer in Columbia, SC may be able to help you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to collect compensation for your accident-related losses.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our car accident team can help you understand your rights and options after a Columbia car crash. If we believe you have a viable case, we can go to work for you and we have the experience to help you get the money you deserve — faster.
Call us today at 803-999-2993 to schedule your free case review with a member of our team.
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving Columbia, call 803-999-2993
Damages Available in a Columbia Car Accident Case
There is no way to know exactly how much your case might be worth until we conduct a full investigation and have a good idea about the value of your losses and expenses. Even if you experience a minor injury and receive minimal medical care, you can still receive compensation for chest pain, ankle and foot pain, and even generalized pain after a car accident. We cannot calculate an appropriate settlement sum until we analyze your medical records and get a deeper understanding of your case. We can, however, help you understand the types of damages we can often recover for our clients after a Columbia, SC car accident.
The types of damages you recover in your case may vary somewhat, because every situation is different, and you may or may not have endured the full range of losses. We’ll let you know about that. Alternatively, we may be able to recover additional damages not included on this list if we can definitively link them to the accident.
Some common damages our clients recover in car accident cases include:
- Pain and suffering damages
- Medical bills and treatment-related costs
- Ongoing care costs, as estimated by medical professionals
- Lost wages during recovery
- Diminished earning capacity, if you cannot return to your old job
- Out-of-pocket costs related to the crash
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
Columbia Car Accidents Lawyer Near Me803-999-2993
Identifying the At-Fault Party and Holding It Liable in a South Carolina Car Accident Case
Columbia Car Accident Lawyer FAQs
We understand your hesitancy about hiring a car accident lawyer in Columbia. You might feel your accident doesn’t warrant one, or you may not think your injuries are severe enough. If you’re unsure and have questions, let us provide some answers to help you decide.
Is It Worth Getting a Columbia Car Accident Lawyer?
One of the most compelling reasons car accident victims don’t think it’s worth hiring a lawyer is because of the cost. However, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing upfront for their services.
If you don’t win a settlement or court award, you pay your lawyer nothing. This fee agreement alone makes it worth it to hire a car accident lawyer in Columbia, SC.
You are not required to hire a lawyer for a car accident settlement claim. But there are numerous reasons why having one on your side is worth it. A car accident lawyer can:
- Estimate the value of your damages
- Negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Gather and organize the evidence in your case
- Notify you of legal deadlines and advise you when to act
- Represent you in court if a lawsuit is necessary
Ultimately, you must decide for yourself if it’s worth hiring a lawyer. Getting a free consultation will help you understand your chances of obtaining higher compensation and whether your case warrants legal representation.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident?
Depending on the specifics of your case, it could take weeks, months, or even years to settle a car accident claim. Several factors may affect when you ultimately receive a settlement. They include:
- Internal insurance procedures. Different insurers have different internal policies about how quickly they can issue claims. For example, some may wish to resolve claims within 30 days, others within 45 days. Many will conduct their own investigations as well, which can take time.
- The extent of your injuries. You always want to wait until you’re at maximum health before accepting a settlement. Some injuries heal within a couple of months. Others are so severe that they might require more long-term care. Calculating all injury-related costs is more practical when you know you’ll no longer have medical expenses.
- Determining liability. Some claims are relatively straightforward. Others can be complicated. For example, the other driver who caused the accident may have had a defect in their vehicle that prevented them from operating it safely. Gathering evidence to prove liability can also take time, as it can include eyewitness interviews, requesting any surveillance footage, reviewing the police report, and reconstructing the accident scene.
- The value of your claim. Not all insurance investigations are thorough. The more thorough they review your damages, the more likely they might be to find more damages. Insurance companies will often do whatever they can to minimize the value of your claim.
- Whether your case goes to trial. Ideally, all parties will want to reach a settlement. However, it’s sometimes necessary to take cases to court when insurance companies are unwilling to negotiate for the full and fair value a victim deserves. If your case goes to trial, reaching a resolution can take much longer.
In some car accidents, determining fault is more straightforward than in others. Looking at the accident report is a good place to start. Your case is easier if the police report clearly places blame on the other driver, especially if law enforcement issued a citation. We can help you identify any and all potentially liable parties and collect evidence of their negligence during our investigation.
By enlisting the help of accident reconstruction specialists and other professionals, as well as using our experience to your advantage, we can show:
- What happened during your accident
- Who caused your crash
- What the at-fault party did to cause it
- Why it happened
- What role you and others played in the accident
By building a strong case to show the other driver acted carelessly or recklessly, we can establish they caused your accident and injuries and link your damages back to the crash.
Liability and South Carolina Auto Insurance Laws
South Carolina law requires all motorists who register a vehicle in the state to carry a minimum amount of auto liability coverage. This includes:
- $25,000 for injury or death of a single victim
- $50,000 for all injuries or deaths in a single accident
- $25,000 for vehicle and other property damage
Liability insurance is designed to cover the injuries and damages sustained by the victims of an accident caused by the at-fault party. Assuming the at-fault motorist who caused your crash carried the required insurance policy, we can file a claim with their insurer and attempt to recover compensation on your behalf up to the limits of the policy and in some cases, more.
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Navigating the Claims Process After a Columbia, SC Car Accident
Once we have a strong case to prove negligence, liability, and the value of your damages, we have two options to try to recover the compensation you need. They are:
- Filing a claim based on the at-fault driver’s coverage; or
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver in a South Carolina civil court
Filing an Insurance Claim
Typically, we will begin by filing an insurance claim based on the other driver’s liability coverage. This process often involves:
- Calculating a fair settlement offer based on your damages
- Building a strong case against the at-fault driver
- Sending a demand letter outlining our case and your damages
- Rejecting the insurer’s low-ball counter-offer
- Engaging in aggressive settlement negotiations
- Agreeing to a settlement or preparing to take further legal action against the driver
Often, we are successful in negotiating a fair settlement at this point in the process. This can help us get your money to you faster, and without the added stress of navigating the court system.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the insurance company denies our claim or refuses to pay out a fair settlement, we are not afraid to litigate your case. South Carolina Code § 15-3-530 gives us three years to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver and try to collect compensation. In some cases, your time may be shorter
If a lawsuit becomes necessary, we will walk you through the process step-by-step. We will prepare you for court appearances, and make sure you feel comfortable. In court, we will represent you to the judge and jury, and ask them award you the compensation you deserve.
If you have questions about the status of your case or you have concerns about the process, you never have to look too hard for answers. When we accept your case, we will assign two full-time staff members to help you. They will be available to you and can help you understand what to expect throughout this entire process.
Auto Accidents Are Common in Columbia, SC and the Surrounding Counties
Car accidents in and around Columbia, SC occur all too often. Parts of the city of Columbia lie in both Lexington and Richland Counties. According to statistics compiled by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), nearly 21,500 accidents occurred in Lexington and Richland Counties in 2017.
- Lexington County saw 8,297 accidents, which involved 3,324 injuries and 47 fatalities in 2017. Lexington County was rated sixth in the state for total collisions.
- Richland County saw 13,191 collisions, which involved 5,669 injuries and more than 50 fatalities in 2017. Richland County is rated third in the state for total collisions.
Of these accidents, the Columbia Police Department responded to 5,548 accidents across both counties that included 2,583 injuries and 13 fatalities.
Columbia’s streets and highways are almost always busy. Interstates 20, 26, and 77 meet in Columbia, and the city is also home to other busy roads such as I-126, U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 21, U.S. Route 76, U.S. Route 176, U.S. Route 321, and U.S. Route 378.
With commuters, residents, college students, and others traveling through the city and surrounding areas, it is easy to see why there are more than 20,000 accidents in and around Columbia every year.
Columbia’s Central Location in SC Means Many People Are Travelling Through Regularly
The City of Columbia is one of the largest cities in SC and serves as the State’s capital. As of the 2010 census, the city was home to 129,272 people. The city itself is currently not growing very quickly, adding only an estimated 2% to its population between 2010 and 2018, however, Columbia newspaper, The State estimates that the combined population of Lexington and Richland counties could hit 1 million people by the year 2035.
Located at the center of the Midlands and near the geographic center of South Carolina, Columbia is bustling year-round with students attending the University of South Carolina. The campus is home to almost 35,000 students and has more than 50 nationally ranked academic programs. This includes a top-ranked undergraduate international business program and a Master of International Business Administration. With so many students heading to and from class, it is no surprise that accidents are common.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Columbia, SC, About Your Case Today
You need results¹, and we have the resources to help you get them. The Columbia car accident team from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers will review your case for free and can explain your options for trying to recover compensation. Call us today at 803-999-2993 for your complimentary initial consultation. We can meet you at the hospital, in your home, or at our Columbia office.