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South Carolina Car Accident Settlement Guide

South Carolina Auto Accident Claims

South Carolina has over 3 million drivers who travel an average of 10,000 miles annually. If you’re planning to drive in the Palmetto State, it’s crucial to know the car accident laws and insurance liability basics. While nobody plans to get in a car wreck, it can happen unexpectedly. Knowing what to do and how to recover maximum compensation in a South Carolina car accident settlement can make all the difference.

Car Accident Settlement

Whether you are driving in Charleston, Myrtle Beach or Spartanburg, there are thousands of miles of scenic roads in South Carolina. Road in this growing state are used by at least three million drivers every day, who each average 10,000 miles per year. If you are planning to live, work or visit the Palmetto State, it is important to know the car accident laws, rules and insurance liability basics in case you are ever in an accident.

How Much Can I Expect To Receive in a Car Accident Settlement in South Carolina?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the average car accident settlement amount in South Carolina can vary depending on several factors, which will be discussed below. However, according to a study by the South Carolina Department of Insurance, the average car accident settlement in South Carolina is around $25,000.

It’s important to note that this is just an average, and some settlements can be much higher or lower. For example, a settlement for a serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury suffered in a motorcycle accident, could be millions of dollars. On the other hand, a settlement for a minor injury, such as a whiplash injury from a low speed rear end collision, could be only a few thousand dollars.

Here are some examples of South Carolina car accident settlement awards:

  • A woman was rear-ended by a distracted driver and suffered whiplash and a grade 2 concussion. She received a settlement of $25,000, which included compensation for her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • A man was injured in a head-on collision and suffered a broken leg in the car accident, as well as a spinal cord injury. He received a settlement of $500,000, which included compensation for his medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical care.
  • A family was involved in a car accident that killed their child. They received a wrongful death car accident settlement of $1 million, which included compensation for their child’s funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings.
  • A man was riding his bicycle when he was hit by a car. He suffered a broken pelvis, a brain injury, and permanent paralysis. He received a settlement of $1.5 million, which included compensation for his medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical care.

The facts of your case will affect the exact amount you will receive for your case.

What Factors Affect the Value of My Car Accident Settlement?

South Carolina is a fault-based state for determining liability in car accidents. This means that the party that caused the accident is responsible for all damages that result from it, including medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and lost wages. As such, the amount of a car accident settlement in South Carolina will depend on various factors, including:

  1. The seriousness of the injury. The more serious the injury, the higher the settlement amount to compensate for extensive medical care and future treatment needs.
  2. The liability of the parties involved in the accident. If one party is found to be fully or partially at fault, they may be required to pay damages as part of a settlement agreement.
  3. Types of damages claimed by the plaintiff. Some common damages include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain & suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (in cases where spouses are affected).
  4. Availability and amounts of insurance coverage held by each driver involved in the accident. South Carolina requires drivers to carry minimum liability coverage, which may not be enough to cover the costs associated with a serious accident.
  5. Ability to prove one’s case. For example, if a plaintiff can provide clear evidence that a defendant was at fault for the car accident, this could increase the settlement amount, whereas if they cannot provide strong evidence, then it might be difficult to obtain a higher settlement.

What Are the Steps Involved in Settling a Car Accident Claim in South Carolina?

The first step is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will then send an adjuster to investigate your claim. The adjuster will review your medical records, lost wages, and other documentation to determine the value of your claim.

The insurance adjuster will typically make an initial offer to settle your claim. This offer may be lower than you believe you are entitled to. If you are unsatisfied with the offer, you can negotiate with the adjuster for a higher amount. You can also hire an attorney to help you negotiate your claim.

Once you have reached a South Carolina car accident settlement agreement, the adjuster will submit all paperwork to finalize the settlement. Your claim should be processed within two to three weeks.

If you cannot reach an agreement with the adjuster, you may file a lawsuit. However, this is a more complex and time-consuming process. Speaking with an attorney before filing a lawsuit to discuss your legal options is important.

What Damages Can You Claim in a South Carolina Car Accident Settlement?

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified, such as:

  • Medical expenses: This includes the cost of your medical care, such as doctor’s visits, hospital bills, and prescription medication.
  • Lost wages: If you have missed work due to your injuries, you may be able to claim compensation for your lost wages.
  • Property damage: If your car was damaged in the accident, you may be able to claim compensation for the cost of repairs or the diminished value of your car.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are those that are more difficult to quantify, such as:

  • Pain and suffering: This includes the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your injuries.
  • Emotional distress: This includes the mental anguish and anxiety you have experienced as a result of the accident.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: This includes losing the ability to do things you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, activities, and spending time with loved ones.

South Carolina Car Accident Settlement Calculator:

Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in South Carolina? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in minutes with our free car accident settlement calculator

South Carolina Accident Settlement Taxes

According to federal and South Carolina state laws, some portions of a personal injury settlement may be taxable and others not.

  • Medical expenses are not taxable, as they are considered reimbursements for expenses you have already incurred.
  • Bodily injury compensation is also not taxable, as it is compensation for losses you have suffered.
  • Lost income is likely taxable, as it is considered a form of income you would have earned if you had not been injured.
  • Punitive damages are taxable, as they are not considered compensation for losses you have suffered but a punishment for the defendant’s actions.

South Carolina Negligence Laws

South Carolina is a “comparative fault” state when determining liability, meaning that more than one person can be found at fault for an accident and responsible for damages. The percentage each party holds in responsibility affects how much they will owe in terms of damages and, thus, how much they will pay out in a settlement. You are eligible to receive compensation as long as your percentage of fault is less than 50%South Carolina Car Accident Settlements

Statistics & Notable Car Accident Settlements

  • In 2019, there were 141,096 car accidents in South Carolina.
  • Of those accidents, 1,006 people were killed and 58,410 injured.
  • The most common causes of car accidents in South Carolina are distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, reckless driving, failure to yield the right of way, improper lane changes, and fatigue.
  • The most common times for car accidents in South Carolina are during the afternoon rush hour (3 pm-7 pm) and on weekends.
  • The most common places for car accidents in South Carolina are on highways and intersections.

South Carolina has many careless and reckless drivers. Below are the most common reasons for car accidents in the state in 2022:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Improper lane changes
  • Fatigue

Here are some tips to help you avoid car accidents in South Carolina:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the road.
  • Don’t drive distracted.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Be predictable and signal your intentions.
  • Be patient, and don’t tailgate.
  • Take breaks if you’re feeling tired.

The 2012 US Census found there were 4.7 million people in the state with an increasing population from the last census. But there was a slight decline in fatal accidents from 2018 to 2019: 841 to 817. Of the fatalities caused in those years, most of them were caused by pickup trucks. There were 31,053 total car accidents in 2018 and 31,086 in 2019.  In 2012, there were 863 fatalities in South Carolina car accidents, which was an increase of 35 over the year before. Of these crashes, 533 of them were single vehicle, 316 involved speeding and 477 involved a roadway departure. The same year, there were 358

Below are specific accidents types with fatalities for 2018 and 2019:

  • Tractor trailers: 55 and 71 deaths for 2018 and 2019, respectively.
  • Motorcycles: 112 and 95
  • Pedal cycles: 15 and 13
  • Pedestrians: 101 and 90
  • Trains: 4 and 5
  • Motorized bikes: 13 and 18
  • School bus: 3 and 4
  • SUVs: 197 and 214
  • Vans: 71 and 59
  • Pickup trucks: 215 and 244

Like many growing states, South Carolina has many careless and reckless drivers. Below are the most common reasons for car accidents in the state in 2019:

  • Disregarded turn signals: 35 deaths
  • Distraction: 21 deaths
  • Driving too fast: 143 deaths
  • Failure to yield right of way: 77 deaths
  • Ran off road: 48 deaths
  • Fatigue: 11 deaths
  • DUI: 282 deaths
  • Wrong way driving: 45 deaths

One of the more unfortunate car accidents that has occurred recently was one that killed two young high school graduates in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The South Carolina Highway Patrol reported that an SUV with three people inside ran off the road, killing an 18 year old and 21 year old man. One of young men died at the scene and the other passed away during surgery. Troopers said the 18-year-old was thrown from the SUV. Both dead graduated in the last three years from nearby Landrum High School.

Another serious accident occurred recently in Spartanburg County near Inman that also killed a teacher. The teacher was killed when he was cycling. The woman who hit him has been charged with reckless homicide. He was a 53-year-old teacher and father of two who taught at the local junior high school.

The woman allegedly fled the scene of the crash in July 2017 and was arrested six months later. She allegedly ran into the rear of the man’s bike at high speed. Witnesses allege the woman was using a phone and speeding 17 MPH above the 45 MPH speed limit when she hit him. The accused stopped approximately 300 feet from the accident but then left the scene.

South Carolina Car Accident Statute of Limitations

You have three years from the date of the car accident to file a car accident settlement or lawsuit to recover damages. If a person is killed in the accident, you have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Auto Insurance Requirements in South Carolina

You are required to carry a minimum of auto insurance in South Carolina. The current minimums under state law are:

  • $25,000 and $50,000 for bodily injury
  • $25,000 for property damage liability
  • $25,000 and $50,000 for uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • $25,000 with a $200 deductible for uninsured motorist property damage

Other South Carolina Driving Laws

As of late 2014, there is a state texting and driving law. It applies to all drivers but it only has a $25 fine for first time violations. There is a bill under consideration as of 2018 in the state legislature that would increase fines for texting and driving to between $100 and $300.  Police are authorized to stop motorists they see texting and driving but cannot seize the wireless device.

The state has a yearly driver suspension eligibility week every March that lets drivers who lost their driver’s license to reduce the time left on their suspension.

South Carolina Car Accident Resources

If you are unfortunate enough to get in a South Carolina car accident, this is a stressful time. Below are some resources that you may find helpful so that you can move forward after the accident. Most importantly, make sure you receive immediate medical attention. If you have any injuries, it is critical to have these documented as soon as possible by a medical professional.

  • You are required to report some car accidents to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. In accidents where there was death or injury, or property damage of $1000 or more, you must submit a Traffic Collision Report within 15 days of the crash. If the police respond to the accident, they will draft an accident report.
  • Visit South Carolina DMV if you need to get a copy of your accident report for lawsuit or claims purposes.

Car Accident Settlement

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