I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Laurens
Lauren's lawyers for car accidents at the Law Office of Brian T. Smith are ready to serve you. If you want to know when to get an attorney for a car accident in Laurens, the simple answer is, as soon as possible after medical attention has been sought. If you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault, contact us today and to speak to our best attorney for your car accident today. A car accident injury attorney will be able to answer any questions about your automobile accident. The case evaluation is FREE so call us today at (864) 662-6821.
We receive new inquiries all the time. Tourists and locals alike turn to us for help with their car accident claim. Many call us looking for an auto wreck lawyer right from the scene of the accident. Others turn to us when their case reaches court, or they receive a settlement offer. We gladly help everyone, from answering questions to handling the compensation claim.
In our experience, the main obstacle car accident victims encounter is poor knowledge of South Carolina laws. To help eliminate this obstacle, we will review the most important car accident laws here. In fact, every auto wreck attorney should do this when taking over a new client. If you or someone dear was involved in a car accident, the following information should help.
The 5 Most Important Laws Every Laurens, SC, All Car Accidents Lawyers Should Explain to Their Clients
1.The Hit-and-Run Law
SC Code § 56-5-1210 makes it mandatory for drivers involved in accidents to stop at the scene. If possible, they should take their car off the roadway to avoid obstructing traffic. Finally, they should check if anyone was injured and request medical assistance.
If you were involved in a car accident and you are thinking of leaving the accident scene, do not. You will only expose yourself to additional penalties. If the other driver fled the scene, do not despair. With the help of an experienced auto wreck attorney, you can identify the driver at fault. You can recover your losses.
Even if the driver remains unidentified, you can seek compensation from your insurer or a third-party. Therefore, remain at the scene and report the accident to the authorities. Call an automobile accident lawyer and gather as much information and evidence as possible. It will come in handy later on.
2. Duty to Report Car Accidents – What Laurens Top Car Accident Lawyers Recommend
All serious accidents require reporting. “Serious” refers to accidents involving property damage of a minimum of $1,000, injuries, or death. Although the deadline for reporting such events is 15 days, it is better to do it immediately. This way, the police can come to the scene to investigate. Their report will be valuable evidence for the right auto wreck attorney. Drivers also have the obligation to report any accidents they are involved in to their insurer.
As a driver involved in an accident, you should report the event to both the police and your insurer. Hopefully, they will send their representatives to the scene to investigate. When they do, it helps to have your auto wreck lawyer present. If you do not, be careful with your statements.
It is best to answer questions briefly and to the point. Avoid expressing regrets or making assumptions. Aside from your lawyer, you can assume everyone else will protect their own interests. It is up to you to protect your own.
While at the scene, focus on gathering as much evidence and information as possible. Get contact information from everyone present and take photos of the vehicles involved. Try to document any damage. Look for surveillance cameras that may have recorded the accident. Every piece of evidence could be worth gold in the hands of the right auto wreck attorney.
3. Minimum Insurance Requirements – Consensus of Car Accident Injury Lawyers
As the Department of Insurance explains, all SC drivers need liability insurance coverage. Any car accident lawyer knows that liability insurance covers:
- Bodily injuries
- Property damage
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (optional)
The first type of coverage applies to injuries the insured causes to other people. The second type of coverage refers to property damages the insured causes. The third coverage type protects the insured against losses caused by an uninsured/underinsured third-party.
South Carolina laws impose that drivers acquire the following minimum coverage:
- $25,000 / person for bodily injury
- $50,000 / event for bodily injury
- $25,000 / event for property damage
The acquiring of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in SC. The law requires insurance companies to include it in their offer. However, drivers are free to reject it. Most of them do not. Insurance coverage is the first thing a Laurens car accident lawyer will ask their clients to check.
If you get into an accident, check if the driver responsible carries liability insurance. If they do, their insurance will cover any injuries and property damage you incurred. If they are uninsured or underinsured, check your own insurance coverage. An auto wreck lawyer can help with all this and more.
Unless you asked your insurer to eliminate it, you should have uninsured/underinsured coverage. It will cover any damage and injuries an uninsured motorist may cause. If the motorist at fault is underinsured, your insurance will cover the difference. If you are not sure where you stand, a discussion with an automobile accident lawyer will surely help.
At the Law Office of Brian T. Smith, we have handled numerous cases involving uninsured/underinsured motorists. The first thing our auto wreck lawyers do when accepting new cases is to check the available insurance coverage. This way, we determine against whom to file the compensation claim to secure a favorable outcome.
4. Accident Fault in South Carolina and Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney
In South Carolina, there is a “fault” system in place. It means that the party responsible for the accident or their insurer covers the losses they caused. In “no-fault” states, each party covers their own losses. Through insurance, the insurance companies take over the responsibilities of the insured.
Thus, as an accident victim, you turn to the insurer of the driver at fault for compensation. If the driver is uninsured, it is important to work with an automobile accident lawyer. Generally, your two options to recover your losses are to:
Seek compensation from the driver at fault through a civil lawsuit. You should consider enlisting the help of a Laurens auto wreck lawyer for that. The procedures are quite lengthy and complicated so you will need all the help you can get.
Seek compensation from your own insurer based on your uninsured motorist coverage. Again, the experience of an auto wreck attorney will come in handy. You will need to assess your available coverage and file the claim with your insurer. You will also have to prove how the accident occurred and all the losses you incurred.
If they are underinsured, it is possible to seek the available compensation from their insurer. You can try to recover the rest of your losses from them in civil court or from your insurer. Again, to identify the best option available, it helps to consult an auto wreck attorney.
If you are at fault for your accident, you may lose the right to compensation. Your fault share should not exceed that of the other driver. The party you file the compensation claim with will obviously try to prove the opposite. To protect your rights, consider asking for legal help.
5. The Statute of Limitations or How Long You Have to Consult a Lawyer for Car Accident
Just like all states, South Carolina has its own statute of limitations. These are legal rules defining the period for filing a lawsuit. The periods differ according to the type of action. You will find them explained under Title 15, Chapter 3 of the South Carolina Code. To make sure you file your claim or lawsuit in time, consult an auto wreck attorney.
Car accident victims have three years to recover losses related to both personal injury and property damage. The countdown begins on the day of the accident. In some cases, it may be possible to invoke the “discovery” rule.
It would mean showing that you discovered your injuries and property damages much later. If you succeed, the countdown will begin on the day when you discovered the injuries. However, this is very difficult to accomplish without the assistance of an automobile accident lawyer.
Another option would be to ask for an extension on the statute of limitations. The term would be “tolling”. It is possible when the accident victim is a minor or develops certain forms of disability.
For minors, the clock will start running when they turn 18. For disabled persons, it starts running when the person recovers from their disability. The auto wreck lawyer will have to show that their client was unable to take legal action sooner.
Types of Damages Laurens Car Accident Attorneys May Claim
South Carolina law only limits the value of claims on medical malpractice and against the government. For medical malpractice claims, the cap is $350,000 (SC Code § 15-32-220). For claims against the government, the cap is $300,000 (SC Code § 15-78-120).
There are no limits to compensation claims against drivers or third-parties. Of course, the claim can only cover certain types of damages. In order to obtain their compensation, the claimant or their auto wreck attorney will have to prove:
- That the respective damages are the direct result of the accident
- That the defendant to their claim was directly responsible for the accident
- That the value of the damages matches the claimed compensation
An auto accident compensation claim may cover two main types of damages: economic and non-economic. The former category refers to accident-related expenses. It covers car repairs, treatment, necessary medical equipment, lost wages and earning capacity. You should be able to prove those even without an automobile accident lawyer.
The latter category refers to losses without a clear value. Examples are pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or loss of life enjoyment. These types of damages have the potential to reach the highest value. They are also the most difficult to prove. Seeking compensation for them is a job for an experienced Laurens car accident lawyer.
When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
When Car Accident Compensation is Needed
As explained above, you can seek compensation from an insurance company or from an individual. In both situations, you could use the advice and assistance of an attorney. Reviewing the procedures involved in both situations will help you understand why.
To seek compensation from an insurance company, you have to send a notice of claim. It is a letter explaining your intentions and briefly describing how the accident occurred. After that, you will have to substantiate your claim.
This means supporting it with evidence. You will need to show how the accident occurred, what damage it caused, and the corresponding value. Examples of evidence include photos, recordings, testimonies, medical reports, bills and price estimates. The same type of evidence will be necessary for those filing a civil lawsuit.
Both processes take time and involve following strict procedures. Their result depends on the evidence available and the skills of the automobile accident lawyer. The claim defendant may offer a settlement. If that is the case, it is best to have an auto wreck lawyer negotiate it. The latter can easily determine if the settlement is worth accepting. If it is not, there are several appeal options to pursue.
I highly recommend Brian Smith Law Firm! From the day you take your case to them they immediately start helping you and they want to help you. I am so satisfied with every doctor he sent me to, the way they took care of me, and the unbelievable smile they put on my face in the end. They are great, passionate people! Please go to them because I promise you will absolutely be satisfied and happy with your outcome!
Schedule a Consultation with a Laurens Car Accident Injury Attorney from Brian T. Smith
As an car wreck victim, you deserve fair compensation. At Brian T. Smith, we have car accidents lawyers that can help you obtain it. You have nothing to lose by discussing your case with an attorney for car accidents at our Laurens firm. The preliminary consultation is free, and we accept contingency agreements. This means that if you work with us, you only pay if and when we win. Our fee will represent a percentage of the amount we obtain for you. This means your car accident personal injury attorney is motivated to work hard and not settle for less than you deserve. Call our office now at (864) 662-6821 and schedule your free case review with one of our lawyers that deal with car accidents. Call today.