- James C. Johnson, Esq.
Car Wreck in South Carolina
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
In 2018 in South Carolina, there was one car wreck every 3.7 minutes. Wrecks are an epidemic that cause many more issues than just pain and medical bills. We understand that from the moment another person breaks the law and causes you harm, your life is either put on hold or substantially changed. Fortunately, some auto claims don’t require that you hire an attorney. Attorney James C. Johnson is happy to speak with you about your case and help answer your questions to determine if hiring an attorney is the right step. If so, we are here for you.
MAIN CAUSES OF CAR WRECKS
Distracted driving – people sometimes put their phone call or text message in front of the safety of others. When this happens, or the driver otherwise is distracted, innocent people get hurt.
Driving drunk – there is zero excuse for drinking and driving. Unfortunately, though, irresponsible people continue to do so. This is one of the most reckless acts a driver can commit. If a drunk driver cause you damage, contact us to get things moving quickly on your case.
Speeding – driving fast is pointless. Someone’s tardiness should never be an excuse for putting the public at risk. Having the need for speed is no reason to endanger other drivers. Regardless, people speed. Their reaction time is slowed, and the damage they case others is multiplied due to the force of the collision.
COMMON CAR WRECK INJURIES AND DAMAGES
Most car wrecks involve some type of injury, whether the wreck involves an 18-wheeler on I-26 in Greenville, a motorcycle on I-95 near Allendale, or a family minivan traveling the backroads of Myrtle Beach. The most common injuries we see are:
cervical strains (“whiplash”)
cervical, lumbar, thoracic, and sacral injuries (e.g., bulging disc, herniated disc, pars defects)
brain injuries (hematoma, concussion, loss of consciousness)
other soft-tissue injuries
In the legal world of South Carolina, these injuries are part of your actual damages. They are also two-fold: (1) The costs of your treatment, as well as any wages you lose, are economic damages. (2) The pain and issues that come from your injuries are non-economic damages.
We tell clients to write down these pains and issues in a journal. Write down anything from how it hurts getting out of bed in the morning, to limitations you have when trying to enjoy your favorite hobby. You didn’t ask for your life to be negatively affected, and you should be compensated for the effects. It's not easy to remember all the bad ways your life has been affected by a wreck, but this journal helps memorialize the problems.
Punitive damages are the third type of damage and are meant to punish the wrongdoer. If someone drives drunk or acts in an otherwise reckless manner (e.g., running a red light or speeding in a school zone), this adds value to your case. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault driver and to deter others from acting the way he/she acted. If you are not sure whether any punitive value exists in your case, email or call us.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE IN A CAR WRECK
First thing’s first: if you are hurt, get proper medical treatment. There are three things we tell clients: (1) we are not medical doctors and cannot treat you; (2) when you see a doctor, be honest and specific about your problems; and (3) do what the doctors tell you to do.
If you are able to speak with officers after a wreck, be honest about what happened, and don’t guess (e.g., if you don’t know how fast you or the other car was going). Submit the preliminary accident report (FR-10) to your insurer. When you speak with your insurance company, you guessed it, be honest. When you speak with the other driver’s insurance company, in South Carolina, you are not required to give a recorded statement. Sometimes, and adjuster will nitpick your prior statement. It rarely helps.
When treating with doctors, be sure to have your medical provider submit your bills to your health insurance company. Most of the time, your health insurance company will pay for and adjust the treatment costs, and, when your case concludes, they will simply demand repayment for the amount they paid.
Know your next steps: not all car wreck cases require an attorney. Sometimes, car-wreck victims just need a little guidance. James is happy to offer this guidance. If your claim is one that is more involved (e.g., if the other driver was per se reckless, if the insurance company is sitting on its hands, if your injuries are severe, or if your treatment is costly), you may want to involve an attorney. That is why we are here. Call us for guidance or representation.
This article is from Littlejohn Law LLC's legal blog. It is copied with permission from its author, Columbia, South Carolina personal injury attorney Andrew Littlejohn Johnson, Esq.