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When to Get An Attorney After a Car Accident in Columbia, South Carolina

Offered by Goings Law Firm, LLC

If you've been injured in a crash, you need to know your potential legal options

You've recently been injured in a car accident in Columbia, South Carolina, and even though you believe the collision wasn't your fault, you're unsure whether to seek legal counsel to understand your rights and options. You might be underestimating the severity of your car accident or worried about the potential costs of hiring a lawyer.

It's important to recognize that having an attorney by your side can significantly affect the outcome of your car accident case. Attempting to navigate the claims process alone might lead to paying medical expenses, vehicle repair costs, and other related bills out of pocket. This is why it's crucial to consult a South Carolina car accident lawyer who can provide insights into your situation and help protect your rights and interests.

Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?

Again, deciding whether to hire a lawyer after a car accident is a critical choice that can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Without legal representation, you may find yourself facing aggressive insurance companies alone.

Insurance companies are often motivated to minimize payouts, but having an attorney acts as a shield between you and these companies. A lawyer can skillfully negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement and protect your interests.

Moreover, attorneys are well-versed in handling tactics employed by insurance adjusters who may try to pressure you into accepting an inadequate settlement. Common tactics include disputing fault, downplaying the severity of injuries, and intentionally delaying the claims process.

Another compelling reason is their ability to clarify your legal rights. An experienced car accident lawyer can provide valuable insights into the legal aspects of your case, including issues of fault, liability, and potential damages you may be entitled to claim.

Determining the true cost of a car accident extends beyond immediate medical expenses or vehicle repairs; it encompasses long-term consequences such as ongoing medical treatment, lost wages, and even emotional trauma. An attorney can meticulously assess all potential damages to ensure that your compensation covers both current and future needs. Additionally, an attorney can represent you effectively in court if your case requires litigation.

What if I was partially at fault for a car accident in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, if you were partially at fault in a car accident, you should still consider hiring an attorney to handle your claim. South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence system, with a fault threshold for seeking damages set at 51%.

This means that you can still seek compensation for damages as long as your percentage of fault is below 51%. For example, let's say you were 30% at fault, and your total damages equaled $100,000. You would still be able to seek $70,000 in damages, despite being partially at fault for the crash.

A car accident attorney can help you recover compensation by assessing your degree of fault, negotiating with insurance companies, and ensuring that your liability is fairly represented. Considering the shared fault scenario, they can also help maximize the compensation you may be entitled to recover under the modified comparative negligence rule.

Should I hire an attorney for a wrongful death claim?

Few things are worse than losing a loved one in a car accident. Wrongful death cases can be difficult to navigate, especially when you're already mourning the loss of a loved one.

An experienced attorney can fight to obtain justice for you and your loved one. They can accurately value your claim, add up economic and non-economic damages, and negotiate for a fair settlement.

Given the emotional toll of a wrongful death situation, having legal support can also provide some relief by handling the legal burdens. This allows you and your family to focus on healing.

Wrongful death claims are typically filed by the decedent's surviving spouse, children, and parents. If there are no surviving spouses, children, or parents, then a legal heir of the deceased can bring the claim.

The damages you're eligible for in a wrongful death claim may include:

  • Costs incurred for the medical treatment of the deceased before their death.
  • Funeral and burial costs.
  • The loss of the deceased person's expected earnings and benefits they would have provided.
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before their death.
  • Loss of companionship, care, and guidance the deceased would have provided.
  • In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party for egregious conduct.

When is it too late to get a lawyer for a car accident?

South Carolina's statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is generally three years from the date of the crash. You must file a lawsuit within this timeframe to pursue legal action. If you miss this deadline, it's usually too late to get a lawyer and file a claim.

There are very few exceptions to this rule, and they typically involve unique circumstances, such as the injured party being a minor or having a mental incapacity at the time of the car accident.

In such cases, the timeline for filing a lawsuit may be extended. However, these exceptions are specific and don't apply to most cases. It's always best to consult with an attorney to understand any potential exceptions in your particular situation.

Otherwise, getting started on your claim as soon as possible is best. The sooner you speak to an attorney and file a claim, the easier it will be for your attorney to obtain fresh evidence and witness statements. Plus, it will be easier for your attorney to prove the link between your car accident and the injuries you sustained.

What to look for when searching for the best attorney

When hiring a car accident lawyer, it's important to consider their experience level and track record of success. If your case might go to trial, choose an attorney with a strong track record in court.

Research an attorney's professional reputation by looking at reviews, ratings, and any disciplinary history. You can also ask for references or testimonials from previous clients to gauge their satisfaction with the attorney's service.

Additionally, your attorney should be available to handle your case in a timely manner and be easily reachable for updates or questions.

In South Carolina, how much will it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?

The cost of hiring a car accident lawyer in South Carolina can vary. The good news is that it won't cost you anything upfront, as most work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only charge a fee if they win your case or obtain a financial recovery on your behalf, whether that's through a negotiated settlement or the result of going to court.

The specific percentage of the contingency fee can differ among law firms, so it's important to discuss fee structures with an attorney before deciding to hire them.

Additionally, initial consultations are free. This allows you to ask questions and determine if a lawyer is the right fit for your car accident case. Plus, you'll have the chance to tell your side of the story and provide an attorney with details to help them determine how to approach your case.

Important steps to take after a crash in South Carolina

Before hiring a car accident lawyer, be sure to follow these steps:

  • Get medical attention: Always get prompt medical attention after a car accident. Even if you don't feel injured, some symptoms may appear later. By getting medical attention, you can address an injury before it worsens. Plus, the official diagnosis creates a link between your car accident and injury.
  • Save documentation and receipts: Keep all relevant documents, such as medical records, police reports, and any receipts relating to the damages incurred. If your car accident caused you to miss work, keep all pay stubs or tax documents so your attorney knows how much money you're losing due to your crash.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company: Inform your insurance provider about the car accident as soon as possible. Only provide basic information and avoid discussing fault or admitting blame.
  • Avoid communications with the other driver's insurance company: Never discuss the car accident with the other driver's insurance company or agree to any settlements before consulting with your attorney. An insurance company may try to minimize your claim or elicit statements that could be used against you.

An attorney can fight for the maximum compensation you deserve

Don't give the insurance companies any leverage over the outcome of your car accident case. No matter how pushy the insurance companies may be, an attorney can fight tirelessly to protect your rights and recover every dollar you deserve in damages. Contact a verified South Carolina car accident lawyer and schedule your free consultation to get started. An attorney can answer your questions and help you explore your potential legal options.

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Goings Law Firm, LLC
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Goings Law Firm, LLC was founded by attorney Robert F. Goings in 2011 to fight for the rights of the injured in South Carolina. Our attorneys provide personal attention to clients...