Seeking Justice for Car Accident Victims in Columbia, SC
Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, is among the largest cities in the state, and is located in both Richland and Lexington Counties. The city’s popular routers, including Interstates 20, 26, and 77, as well 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, are typically congested due to heavy traffic from commuters, residents, college students, and others traversing the area. This heavy traffic volume contributes to over 20,000 accidents annually in and around Columbia.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, you deserve justice. The expert legal team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is here to help you and your family. Contact our car accident lawyers in Columbia, SC, for a free, no-obligation case review.
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What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
Car accidents are scary and disorienting, so it can be challenging to know what steps to take directly after one occurs. To alleviate the confusion and stress, here are some helpful steps to take after an accident:
- Assess yourself and other passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, stay still until help arrives.
- Contact the Columbia Police Department by dialing 911.
- Exchange contact information with other involved parties.
- Document the accident by taking lots of photos and videos of the scene.
- Notify your insurance company to initiate the claims process.
Contact our car accident lawyers in Columbia for a free case review as soon as possible.
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Why Hire a Columbia Car Accident Attorney?
If you have been injured in an accident, having a Columbia car accident attorney on your side is crucial. Some benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer include:
- Estimating the value of your damages
- Negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Acting as a middleman between you and insurance companies that may be hassling you
- Gathering and organizing a wide range of evidence in your case
- Notifying you of legal deadlines and advising you when to act
- Representing you in court if a lawsuit is necessary
Our auto accident lawyers in Columbia, SC, can help you understand your legal options and obtain the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
When Should I Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?
You should contact a car accident attorney in Columbia, SC, after a collision or accident if:
- It’s unclear who was at fault.
- Other people were involved.
- Multiple people sustained injuries.
- The accident occurred in a construction zone or school zone.
- A severe injury or fatality occurred.
- Someone incurred substantial medical expenses, medical debt, or lost wages as a result of the accident.
- Medical expenses exceed a few thousand dollars.
- The police report is unclear or confusing.
- Your case involves workers’ compensation.
- You do not believe that your health insurance, PIP insurance, auto insurance, and/or at-fault driver’s insurance will cover all of your expenses.
- You have non-financial damages, such as pain and suffering, PTSD, or wrongful death.
- There is a lack of insurance or questions about liability.
- Your insurance company is not handling things transparently.
- You are concerned that an insurance company may try to convince you to accept a lower settlement than you deserve.
- Your insurance company requests that you speak with their attorney.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Car Accident?
The statute of limitations dictates a time limit for you to file your case. South Carolina law allows a limited time frame to file a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death resulting from a traffic accident. Exceptions may apply, which may result in a shorter time frame for filing a claim.
The best way to know how long you have to file your claim is to reach out to our car accident attorneys in Columbia. We will handle all aspects of your case in a timely manner so you can meet any and all deadlines.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?
Over the years, our team of auto accident attorneys in Columbia has assisted clients who have suffered various physical and mental injuries resulting from car accidents in South Carolina. Some of the most common injuries that we have encountered include:
Who Is Liable For My Injuries In a Car Accident?
South Carolina is a tort-based car accident system, which means that the at-fault driver can be held liable for the damages they caused. In some car accidents, determining fault can be straightforward, and the accident report is a good place to start.
If the police report clearly places blame on the other driver and issues a citation, your case may be easier.
However, some accidents are more complex than they seem. Your auto accident lawyer can help you identify any potentially liable parties and determine:
Once liability is established, it’s possible to determine a fair settlement amount. An attorney can present this information and evidence to the insurance companies following a car accident. This evidence may also be required should the claim proceed to court. Our car accident lawyers in Columbia are here to build the strongest possible case. Get started with a free, no-obligation case review.
Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Columbia, SC?
If you were in a critical accident, you may be taken to or advised to visit a medical center like Lexington Medical Center or Prisma Health Richland Hospital to assess your injuries. These medical centers may charge a lot for bills, which can cause strife for you and your family.
In most cases, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying your medical expenses and property damage costs. You need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company to obtain compensation. Your insurance policy may cover medical expenses if you have personal injury protection (PIP) or personal injury coverage. Your health insurance may also cover some expenses, but it’s important to keep track of your bills if you plan on filing a claim.
Be careful when communicating with insurance companies, and avoid providing any statements before talking to a lawyer. What you say can be used against you to lower your settlement or deny your claim.
What Happens if You Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
If you get in a car accident in South Carolina and don’t have insurance, you could face financial hardship. It may mean you will be responsible for the costs of your own vehicle repairs or medical treatment, as well as the damages of the other driver. This is because driving without car insurance is a criminal offense under state law, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
If you are caught driving without insurance for the first time, you may face a fine of up to $200 and a daily charge of $5 for every day that you lacked coverage. You may also need to pay other fees to have your license reinstated.
For a second offense, the potential penalties increase, with a possible jail term of up to 30 days. If you are convicted of driving without insurance for a third or subsequent time, you could face a jail term between 45 days and six months.
What if the At-fault Party Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
When the driver responsible for the accident is uninsured or underinsured, you should still follow the same procedures as you would in any other car accident. If you opt to do so, you have the option to sue the uninsured driver for damages incurred. However, it is important to note that proving fault does not guarantee full compensation in these cases, if any at all.
In many cases, a driver may not have car insurance because they cannot afford it, not because they choose not to have it. If the at-fault driver falls into this category, the judge cannot compel them to pay you, as they may not have the financial resources to do so.
Additionally, they may not have any assets, which means the judge cannot place a lien on any property until payment is made. That’s why it’s important to have uninsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy. This is a requirement in South Carolina, and it will protect you in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.
Contact our Columbia car accident lawyers, as we can inform you of your legal options in this situation.
What Damages Can You Pursue After a Columbia Car Accident?
The damages you receive in your case can differ based on your individual circumstances, and you may not have suffered all possible losses. We will provide you with information regarding this matter. Moreover, if we can establish a clear connection between the accident and other damages, we may be able to recover additional compensation not mentioned in the list. In car accident cases, some damages that our clients commonly recover include:
What Is The Average Settlement For A Car Accident?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ascertain a dependable average settlement figure for car accidents in South Carolina. This is due to the fact that every car accident case is different, and the severity of the injuries sustained in each accident will considerably affect the settlement amount offered during negotiations.
Please understand that each case is unique. Our results for other clients do not guarantee the same compensation for you, but we will always pursue the maximum in recoverable damages. Here are just some of our case results:
How Long Does it Take To Settle A Car Accident Case?
The duration of your claim can vary widely, ranging from as little as three months to over a year, depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case. For example, in cases such as defective product claims, extensive research into the mechanics and science behind the injury may be required, requiring the hiring of experts to assist with the investigation.
Another crucial factor is the severity of your injuries. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we do not present your injury claim until we have a reasonable understanding of the full extent of your injuries, ensuring that we can maximize your compensation. This means severe injuries that require ongoing medical treatment may take longer.
Additionally, the decision to file a lawsuit can impact the timeline. If a lawsuit is filed, it can add to the duration of the case as both parties go through the discovery process, gathering information and evidence for trial preparation. In some instances, the case may even go to trial, requiring patience as it progresses up the list of cases to be tried. Rest assured that at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, if your case goes to trial, we will be ready to defend your rights to compensation.
How Do I Get A Temporary Rental Car After An Accident?
Typically, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will cover the cost of your rental car while your car is being repaired. Columbia rental car services like Hertz or Enterprise can provide you with a vehicle. However, in South Carolina, they may only provide a rental for a short period of 5 to 10 days. This time frame may not be sufficient, as it could take longer to repair the property damage or acquire a new vehicle after the accident.
If there are any delays, you have a couple of options. Firstly, you can request an extension of your rental from the defendant’s insurance company. Secondly, you can contact your own insurance carrier and inquire if your rental coverage applies to this situation. It is worth noting that there may be some rental fees, such as insurance on the rental car, but the amount you pay is significantly offset by the money saved on transportation for work or other duties.
What if I’m in an Accident in a Rental Car?
In the event of an accident involving a rental car in South Carolina, you would generally follow the same protocol as if it were your own vehicle. It’s important to note that your personal car insurance may cover rental car damages, but we recommend reviewing your policy before operating a rental vehicle.
Some credit cards provide rental car insurance when used to rent a vehicle. However, this coverage typically doesn’t include liability insurance, and not all credit card companies offer such protection.
When picking up a rental car, the rental company may offer additional forms of insurance, including liability coverage, collision damage waivers, personal effects coverage, and personal accident insurance. These may overlap with your existing policy, and you’re not legally obligated to purchase the extra insurance. However, if you believe your standard policy isn’t sufficient, you may choose to take out additional coverage. It’s important to review who the rental insurance covers, as it may only apply to the individual renting the car or their spouse. This means if someone else was driving the rental car during the accident, you may not receive compensation from the company.
What Causes Most Columbia Car Accidents?
While there may be factors outside of your control in an accident, most car accidents are caused by driver error. The top seven causes of Columbia car accidents are:
Our Columbia Car Accident Lawyers Are Ready To Serve Your Case
When you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it can turn your whole life upside down. Bills, paperwork, and other accident-related obligations are piling up. On top of it all, you’re still dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of your accident. You deserve justice.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is standing by to help you after an auto accident. Our expert team of Columbia car accident lawyers will evaluate your case without charge and can help you obtain the compensation you need. Contact us now for a free case review.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle in Columbia
Our Columbia car accident attorneys specialize in all types of car accident cases, including:
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