Charleston Car Accident Lawyer
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, over 16,000 traffic collisions occurred in 2018 in Charleston County alone. Nearly 6,000 people were injured in those crashes, and 65 people lost their lives. These figures make Charleston County the county with the second-highest number of collisions and the highest number of injuries statewide.
Car accidents happen by the thousands in Charleston, but they don’t have to. The DPS report lists the major causes of these crashes as failure to yield the right-of-way, distracted driving, following too close, driving too fast for current conditions, and improper lane changes. Most, if not all of these wrecks could have been avoided, had the one at fault been driving with greater care and attention.
As a car accident injury victim, you have the right to recover compensation from the negligent driver who hit you. Justice demands it, and the losses you have suffered require it. The law may be on your side, but a hard road lies ahead of you to get the compensation you need and deserve. The other driver’s insurance company might stall, deny liability, dispute your injury, or offer you a lowball settlement that doesn’t come close to matching the value of your claim. Ultimately, the burden is on you to prove your case, which means proving the other driver was negligent, they were at fault in causing the wreck, and you suffered injuries as a result.
A Charleston car accident lawyer can take on the role of getting that compensation for you while you focus on recovering physically and putting your life back together after the disruption of a serious car accident. At the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm, our strong background in litigation helps us to put together a strong case and argue for a full and fair settlement outside of court or a successful jury verdict at trial. We do what it takes to recover the significant compensation you need after a Charleston car accident has laid you low.
What Can I Recover After a Charleston Car Accident?
South Carolina requires drivers to carry liability insurance to cover at least $25,000 in personal injury damages per person up to $50,000 per accident, plus $25,000 in property damage. In a severe or catastrophic accident that involves hospitalization, surgery, long-term care or permanent disability, these minimum amounts might not be enough to fully compensate the injury victim. Many drivers carry higher policy limits than the state minimum to protect their personal assets in case they get sued after causing a wreck.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Charleston, you could recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are costs such as medical bills (doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, physical therapy), lost wages if you missed work because of the accident, and property damage to your vehicle and its contents. You can recover the costs you already experienced plus others you are likely to incur in the future. For instance, you could recover for the cost of future medical expenses and diminished earning capacity or disability that keeps you from working.
Non-economic damages include compensation for harm such as mental distress, loss of enjoyment in life, and the pain and suffering you experienced in the accident or continue to experience.
If the driver’s behavior was willful, wanton, or reckless, then punitive damages might be appropriate as well. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter future conduct rather than compensate the plaintiff, and these awards can be very high depending on the severity of the conduct and other factors. Punitive damages are harder to prove and obtain, but we’ll pursue them in appropriate cases, such as if you are hit by a drunk driver.
What if the Driver Who Hit Me Was Uninsured?
It is legal to drive without liability insurance in South Carolina by registering as an uninsured motorist and paying an amount (currently $600) annually to the state’s uninsured motorist fund. Presently, nearly one in ten drivers in South Carolina are uninsured. If you get hit by one of these drivers but you are insured, then you can file an Uninsured Motorist (UM) claim with your insurance company. Your liability policy comes with UM coverage in the minimum 25/50/25 amounts, although you can pay for higher limits. UM covers your injuries and damages when you are hit by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver who can’t be located and identified.
Making a UM claim is not as simple as merely filling out a form; recovering from your insurance company can be just as difficult as recovering from an insured at-fault driver. You may still have to prove the other driver’s negligence and fault and the extent of your injuries. Your insurance carrier might dispute issues such as liability and damages, just like the other driver’s insurer would. The Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm can represent you in your UM claim with your insurance company and fight to see that you are adequately compensated for your injuries.
What if I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt?
Under South Carolina’s comparative fault law, any percentage of blame for the accident or injuries reduces a plaintiff’s award proportionately, and an injury victim who is more than 50% at fault cannot recover any compensation from the other driver. You might think that failure to wear a seat belt is evidence of negligence, but this is not the case. South Carolina requires every vehicle occupant to wear a seat belt, but the law is clear that the lack of a seat belt is not negligence or contributory negligence and is not admissible as evidence in a civil action. Seat belts save lives, and we recommend you always wear them, but don’t let the fact that you weren’t wearing a seat belt keep you from pursuing damages from the negligent driver who caused the crash.
Call Attorney Gus Anastopoulo for Immediate Help After a Charleston Car Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident on US-17, US-52, I-26 or anywhere in Charleston or North Charleston, call on the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm for immediate assistance. We’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, meaning we won’t charge any fee unless and until we are successful on your behalf, and the size of our fee is limited in proportion to the amount of compensation we recover for you. Call 843-310-5555 for a free consultation to find out how we can help you. Car accident claims can be just as difficult and stressful as dealing with the injury itself, so call the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm to represent you. We’ve got your back.