Despite being a relatively small state, South Carolina has the distinction of having the fourth-largest state-maintained highway system in the country, which boasts an impressive 41,444 miles of state highway. That's a lot of highway—and with South Carolinians driving an average of 15,000 miles per year, auto accidents are bound to happen. In fact, more than 250,000 motor vehicle accidents are reported to law enforcement in South Carolina each year.
After being involved in a serious auto accident that wasn't their fault, victims may face significant physical and financial challenges, including severe injuries that require time away from work, and a tsunami of unexpected medical bills and expenses. Fortunately, South Carolina civil law allows the victims of negligence-related auto accidents to seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. Are you considering taking legal action after an auto accident? Here's what you should know before making your decision.
Common Types of Auto Accidents in South Carolina
At the Law Offices of Shane Smith, our knowledgeable South Carolina attorneys handle a wide variety of auto accident case types, including:
- DUI accidents
- Drugged driving wrecks
- Drowsy driving accidents
- Distracted driving crashes
- Single-vehicle wrecks
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact or T-bone crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Rollover accidents
Auto Accidents Can Lead to Devastating Injuries
While not all of the more than 250,000 auto accidents reported to South Carolina law enforcement annually result in injuries, appropriately 130,000 do. The injuries sustained in these accidents can vary by severity and type of crash, but may include:
- Lacerations, contusions, and abrasion injuries
- Broken or crushed bones
- Strains, sprains, and other soft-tissue injuries
- Organ damage and internal bleeding
- Head and brain injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck, shoulder, and back injuries
- Spinal cord damage, which may result in varying degrees of paralysis
- Lost or amputated limbs
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Facial or dental trauma
Types of Compensation Available in Car Crash Cases
In South Carolina, auto accident victims can pursue two main types of compensation: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate victims for quantifiable losses they suffered as a result of the accident, such as:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of income
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are much more subjective and difficult to quantify. Examples of commonly sought non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
- Lack of enjoyment of life
In cases where a judge or jury determines that a defendant's actions are particularly heinous, the plaintiff may also be awarded punitive damages. Instead of attempting to compensate the plaintiff for a specific loss, punitive damages serve as a punishment—and deterrent—for the defendant.
Auto Accident Victims in South Carolina Are Under a Strict Deadline
If you were injured in a South Carolina auto accident, there isn't a moment to lose. Though the state's statute of limitations laws gives victims three years to file a lawsuit following an accident, that time can pass quickly and, in it, valuable evidence can be lost or compromised. As a result, it's best to speak with a personal injury attorney as possible as possible.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Not all car accident cases require a lawyer, but when fault is in question or catastrophic injuries are involved, it can be beneficial for victims to have an experienced legal professional looking out for their interests. Attorneys can guide clients through the personal injury legal process, make sure necessary paperwork is completed and filed on time, and negotiate a larger settlement than you could likely do on your own.
At the Law Offices of Shane Smith, we have extensive experience handling auto accident cases. If you were injured in a car crash that wasn't your fault, we'd love to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.