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Who Pays for Car Accidents in Greenville, South Carolina?

What you need to know about fighting for financial compensation through the legal system

A car accident in Greenville can impact your life in many ways. You can be left with serious injuries and need treatment at Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Downtown, Regency Hospital, or another local medical facility. It can take months or longer to fully recover.

There can also be a financial impact. The costs of treating your injuries can be quite high. In addition, you may not be able to work for some time, resulting in a loss of income. The bills can add up quickly.

But who will pay those bills? What factors come into play when determining who is responsible for payment? South Carolina has specific laws regarding financial compensation after a car accident. If your accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, it’s important to understand how an attorney can help you fight for fair compensation.

Wherever you were hurt in Greenville – on a highway such as I-385 or I-185, or a city street such as Parkins Mill Road or Stone Avenue – a car accident attorney can help.

South Carolina is a “fault” state.

That means that the driver who is found to be responsible (or “at fault”) for causing the accident is responsible for paying damages. Usually that means the driver’s insurance company will pay. It sounds fairly straightforward, but the process of recovering financial compensation after a crash can actually get quite complicated.

A negligent driver may have caused your crash by speeding, recklessly changing lanes, texting behind the wheel, or even falling asleep while driving. But drivers often deny doing anything wrong after an accident. This puts you in the position of having to prove negligence.

Car insurance is required in South Carolina.

To legally register their vehicles, South Carolina drivers must carry a policy with liability limits of at least:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 for all injury or death in a single accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

Unfortunately, the damages suffered in a car accident can easily exceed these amounts. That’s why it’s a good idea to buy additional coverage with higher limits. In addition, drivers in South Carolina are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage equal to the minimum amounts of liability coverage. This can help pay for damages in an accident caused by a driver who has no insurance.

There is also additional coverage you can buy for more protection:

  • Underinsured motorist coverage – This helps pay for damages caused by a driver who has insurance, but not enough to cover all of the damages you suffered.
  • Collision – This helps pay for damage to your vehicle in a crash.
  • MedPay – Also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), this can help cover medical expenses for treating your injuries, no matter who was at fault.

Who pays for my car accident?

You were in a car crash. There are medical expenses and you can’t work right now. The damages you suffered are significant. Who will pay for these damages?

There are three options for seeking financial compensation:

File a claim with your own insurance company

Whether you have this option depends on the type of coverage on your own policy. The only time you would file a first-party claim is if the driver who caused the accident didn’t have any auto insurance. If this happens, you would file what’s called an uninsured motorist, or first-party, claim.

File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company

This is called a third-party claim. When another driver caused the collision that left you injured, that driver’s insurance company is usually responsible for paying for damages you suffered.

File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver

This may become necessary if the driver’s insurance company disputes your claim and does not agree to pay compensation that is fair.

How much might I recover after my accident?

There is no simple answer to that question. It depends on many different factors. This includes the type and severity of your injuries, the impact they have had on your life, and insurance policy limits.

But in general, you can seek financial compensation for all of the damages you suffered. This includes all current and possibly future medical expenses related to your injuries. Medical expenses can include the cost of lab tests, imaging tests, surgery, hospitalization, medication, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments with doctors. You can also seek compensation for lost wages if you couldn’t work and other damages with no specific dollar value, such as pain and suffering.

Determining fault is an important factor

The other driver’s insurance company may try to argue that you were partially at fault for what happened. There’s a reason for that. South Carolina uses a comparative negligence system for awarding possible financial compensation after a car accident. You can only recover damages if you are found to be less than 50% responsible for the crash.

If you are less than 50% at fault, then you can still recover, but any compensation you receive may be reduced by your amount of fault. For example, suppose you are awarded $100,000 after your accident, but are found to be 20% responsible for causing it. The amount you can actually receive will be reduced by 20%, leaving $80,000.

That’s why insurance companies look into accidents carefully. They will look for any evidence that can be used against you to argue you were at least partly to blame for the accident.

How can a South Carolina car accident lawyer help me?

There are other tactics some insurance companies may use to try to limit your compensation. For example, they may question the seriousness of your injuries. They may seek access to your medical history to look for evidence that your injuries were pre-existing.

One common tactic is contacting you shortly after the accident with a settlement offer. As your expenses start to add up, it can be tempting to accept the settlement offer. And you may be promised quick payment. But remember, once you take the insurance company’s money, that’s it. Your case is settled and you can’t go back for more. That’s why you want an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer to advocate for you and try to ensure that you get full compensation.

An experienced attorney can guide you through the claims process every step of the way. Your lawyer can:

  • Investigate your accident to get the facts
  • Gather evidence, including any video from traffic or security cameras
  • Interview witnesses
  • Consult accident reconstruction experts as needed
  • Build your case for compensation
  • Handle all communication with the insurance company
  • Try to negotiate a settlement that meets your needs
  • File a lawsuit against the insurance company, if necessary

It’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible if you’ve been in a car accident. In South Carolina, you generally have three years from the date of your crash to seek compensation. But over time, valuable evidence can be lost and witnesses can forget helpful details.

Don’t wait. Get a free case review from an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer.

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