Car Accident Lawyer Columbia, SC
There is a lot to consider when you find yourself in need of a car accident attorney in Columbia, SC. The aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be a confusing time filled with uncertainty, especially when injuries are involved.
Medical care and treatment comes to the forefront while you attempt to coordinate your new normal. You may be unable to work or have to take time off from work to recover or attend other appointments you never had to before your accident.
We know if you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, you have a seemingly never-ending list of questions – and we want to give you answers. Our car accident attorneys are here to help. Here is useful information if you or someone you care about has recently been involved in an accident on a Columbia, SC roadways.
Table of Contents
- Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
- South Carolina Auto Accident Statistics
- Injuries Our Columbia SC Car Accident Lawyers
- Most Common Car Accident Injuries in South Carolina
- What to Do After a Car Accident?
- Choosing The Right Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Near You To Win Your Case
- Car Accident Attorneys Columbia, SC
- What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Car Accident?
- Columbia Car Accident Lawyers Explain “Fault” in South Carolina
- The Car Accident Claims Process in Columbia, SC
- Reporting to the Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles
- Is There a Time Limit to File a Car Insurance Claim in South Carolina?
- How Do I Settle A Car Accident Claim in Columbia, SC?
- What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident Claim in South Carolina?
- Choosing the Right Columbia Car Accident Attorney to Settle Your Case
Finding a car accident lawyer to stand by your side and fight for your best interests can be an important step to achieving a favorable outcome in the form of maximum compensation for things like your injuries, medical bills, and pain & emotional suffering.
The team at The Jeffcoat Firm has an experienced auto accident attorney near you in South Carolina. We’re ready to review your case and provide a free consultation.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
Many people wonder if it is really necessary to have the help of an auto accident attorney following a car wreck. Because of the increase in distracted driving cases, it is becoming ever more important to have legal representation in auto accident claims.
Without legal representation, it can be very difficult to determine who was at fault, how serious your injuries are, and what you should receive for your pain and suffering.
If you or someone you care about has been in a motor vehicle accident in Columbia, SC, contact our experienced auto accident lawyers near you right away. Let us work towards providing the best possible outcome for your car accident case and fair compensation for your damages.
While you are recovering from your injuries,, lost income, and possibly surgery or rehabilitation, you may find that the auto insurance companies try to avoid compensating you fully and fairly for your damages.
The insurance companies have lawyers fighting to prevent you from receiving fair & just compensation. It’s important to have a Columbia car accident lawyer on your side during this difficult time that is working for you! We are always here for you fighting the insurance companies with all we have.
Injuries Our Columbia SC Car Accident Lawyers
It’s important to remember that many injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents can take time to show up. Adrenline is often very high after an accident and can mask how serious your injuries may be. Seeking immediate medical attention, even if your injuries don’t seem serious at first, is an important thing to do following a car accident.
There are a number of injuries that are commonly caused by car accidents, and these are some of the most common ones our Columbia car accident lawyers see accident victims suffering from:
- Wrongful Death
- Brain Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries (Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia and Paraplegia)
- Neck & Back Injuries
- Chest Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Internal Injuries
- Fractured Bones
- Broken Bones
- Facial Injuries
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Fatal car accidents are far to common. When a loved one loses their life in an automobile accident, you are may be going through one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. In addition to grieving your loss, you may now be faced with handling all of the logistics and legal matters that come as a direct result of the fatal car crash.
Loved ones of wrongful death victims often find themselves fielding incessant calls from insurance companies for both parties looking to settle matters with you – out of court. All of this can be very overwhelming. Having a wrongful death attorney by your side can help guide you through this process.
Brain injuries often result from the sudden stop of the car, causing your brain to continue forward and crash into the skull. Injuries range from mild to severe and can include brain death. Seeking out medical attention soon after the accident may help you recover and heal properly.
According to the National Library of Medicine, around 1.7 million people a year suffer a traumatic brain injury, with adolescents between ages 15 and 19 and adults age 65 and older among the most likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries (Quadriplegia/Tetraplegia and Paraplegia)
Serious spinal cord injuries that occur in auto accidents can be life-altering in more ways than most people comprehend unless you’ve been affected by this type of injury previously. Having a good lawyer on your side in a car accident case involving a spinal injury may be able to help maximize the legal compensation owed to individual who is injured.
Neck & Back Injuries
Neck and back injuries are commonly caused when the head snaps forward and back, causing strain and nerve damage (whiplash) and where the spine twists or absorbs too much shock and pressure.
Both of these injuries can seem mild, initially, and later turn out to be very serious. Seeking out medical care right away may help you get better as quickly as possible.
Car accidents involve massive forces inflicted upon the body, and often times injuries to the upper body and chest, in particular, are quite common in South Carolina car accidents.
Following a car crash, bruises, contusions, and internal bleeding are all common chest injuries. Common chest injuries include the following:
- Bruised or Fractured Ribs
- Punctured Lungs
- Muscle Strain
- Bruised Sternum
- Internal Organ Damage
Chest injuries can range from mild to severe, and car accident victims might not feel pain immediately from a chest injury. Additionally, people suffering from asthma can experience even more difficulty recovering from a chest injury.
Car accident victims who incur burn injuries have a deep understanding of pain that hopefully most of us never experience. Although varying in degrees of severity, burn injuries are relatively common in South Carolina car accidents.
According to the CDC, 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention each year. Of those:
- 50,000 people require hospitalization;
- 20,000 people have major burns that cover at least 25% of their body; and
- 4,500 people die due to burn injuries.
All of these burn injuries do not result from auto accidents on South Carolina roadways, but many do. Burn injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe, and, just like other major injuries, can leave victims suffering life-long damage.
Burn injuries can be catastrophic and may require extensive reconstructive surgical treatment. If you have suffered from a burn injury in a car accident in South Carolina, talk with one of our skilled car accident lawyers near you in Columbia, SC to learn more and see if you may qualify for compensation.
When an automobile crash occurs, massive opposing forces can have serious impacts on the body. Whether it’s from forcefully coming into contact with an object – like a steering wheel – or the body is hit by debris flying around, damage to internal organs can occur.
This type of injury often results in internal bleeding, requiring emergency medical treatment and significant rehabilitation time to recover.
Fractures & Broken Bones
Fractured and broken bones are some of the most common injuries in motor vehicle accidents, with broken legs, ribs, arms, ankles, and wrists being some of the most common. Many serious car accident victims suffer a broken pelvis.
A broken or fractured bone is never good. Severity of broken bones can range from simple fractures requiring a cast to more serious displaced breaks or compound fractures that may sometimes require multiple surgeries to repair.
Facial injuries are also very common in car accidents. With all the broken glass and sharp pieces of metal involved, it makes sense. Most of the time, when we’re driving a vehicle, there is nothing in front of us to protect our faces from debris and broken glass flying through the air.
Cuts, bruises, fractures, disfigurements, tooth injuries and scarring are all facial injuries that can result from someone’s carelessness from car accidents in Columbia, South Carolina.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Not all car accident injuries are physical, or as we talked about with chest injury or TBIs, immediately noticeable.
But did you know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common injury for people in car accidents?
The mental and emotional injuries suffered because of a car accident are real. With post-traumatic stress disorder, the everyday things that used to be routine often times become worrisome and sometimes even impossible. People in car accidents who experience emotional suffering and PTSD may be able to recover by using mental health counseling and treatment following a car accident.
Most Common Car Accident Injuries in South Carolina
There were more than 121,235 car accidents in Columbia, SC, in 2020, according to the most recent year of crash statistics from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety
Among them there were:
- 964 fatal crashes
- 1,066 fatalities (deaths)
- 2,196 crashes with suspected serious injuries
- 2,607 suspected serious injuries
- 30,673 non-incapacitating injuries
- 45,378 accidents with injuries possible
What to do After a Car Accident?
You may be uncertain about what you need to do after a South Carolina auto accident. Following are the steps for handling the claims process after the event.
It is important to understand what is expected of you in the claims process following an accident. You’ll need to file a report, seek medical care, establish fault, gather evidence, file a demand letter, and attempt to settle the case. An experienced Columbia, SC car accident attorney can help with these steps.
- Seek medical attention. Take care of yourself and get the proper help you need, and listen to your medical professionals.
- Filing a police report is a good idea. You may do this with the city of Columbia police department. State the facts of the auto accident. If you wish to obtain a copy of your accident report, you can submit a request to the City of Columbia police department records unit.
- Establishing fault will involve demonstrating who was negligent or reckless in the auto accident, and this is the next step.
- Gathering evidence is the step where the fault is shown, and you can start to establish your damages. You’ll be able to use witnesses, experts, pictures, statements, medical documents and bills, estimates, etc.
- Filing a demand letter is when a demand letter is the next steps. This is a document that lists your injuries and losses and how much you think you are owed to compensate for them. The defendant can respond with a denial or counteroffer.
- Attempting to settle the case will involve negotiations between your attorney and the defense. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, the next step is generally to take the case to court
Choosing The Right Car Accident Lawyer To Settle The Case
Having a good lawyer on your side can be a big help during the life of your case. Negotiating to settle your case for the full amount owed to you can be very tricky. Hiring a good auto accident attorney can help. It can be easy to make mistakes during this process, and you may walk away with less than you deserve. Working with a lawyer who knows how to fight for your rights and maximize your claim’s value can be an important step in getting compensated the amount the law says you should.
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS
The Jeffcoat Firm assists clients throughout South Carolina, including Columbia and Lexington, and surrounding communities in Richland County, Orangeburg County, and Lexington County. Our team has seen the tragic results of car accidents caused by another person’s negligence. We know the tremendous physical, financial and emotional burdens that people have suffered due to no fault of their own after an auto accident. Our auto accident lawyers’ are here to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their carelessness by demanding full and fair compensation for your losses.
Our approach to every case is client-centered. We will work together to develop a thorough legal strategy that aligns with your personal goals. You can rely on us to respond to your calls, texts, and emails promptly and keep you updated throughout your case.
It’s free to have a consultation. Our car accident lawyers are here to help. To learn how we can help you, contact The Jeffcoat Firm Injury & Accident Lawyers today.
Many people wonder if it is really necessary to hire a car accident lawyer in Columbia. Because of the increase in distracted driving cases, it is becoming ever more important to have legal representation in auto accident claims. Without a lawyer, it can be very difficult to determine who was at fault, how serious your injuries are, and what you should receive for your pain and suffering. If you or someone you care about has been in a hit-and-run accident in Columbia, SC, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer right away to ensure the best possible outcome of your case and fair compensation for your damages.
While you are recovering from your injuries, lost income, and possibly surgery or rehabilitation, you may find that the auto insurance companies are trying to avoid compensating you fully and fairly for your damages. This is why it’s so important to have a Columbia car accident lawyer at this difficult time.
SOUTH CAROLINA AUTO ACCIDENT STATISTICS
According to research conducted by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, there is 1 car accident in the state every 4.3 minutes. Accidents that result in injuries occur every 16 minutes. Fatal accidents happen every 9.1 hours, with more than 900 occurring in a single year and many occurring in intersections and involving drunk driving.
In 2020 the number of car accidents in a single year in South Carolina was 121,235, with over 45,000 reported injuries. Most of the injuries are avoidable but happen because of other people’s carelessness, and many of them create long-term disabilities. From a single accident, a person’s enjoyment of life, ability to earn income, and the ability to take care of themselves can all be destroyed.
COMMON INJURIES IN COLUMBIA CAR ACCIDENTS
Many injuries are caused by car accidents, and some are more common, including brain injuries, neck and back injuries, facial injuries, and chest injuries.
Brain injuries often result from the sudden stop of the car, causing your brain to continue forward and crash into the skull. Injuries range from mild to severe and can include brain death. Many brain injuries are noticed right away, so you should seek out medical attention soon after the accident, to be safe.
Neck and back injuries are most commonly seen when the head snaps forward and back, causing strain and nerve damage (whiplash) and where the spine twists or absorbs too much shock and pressure. Both of these injuries can seem mild, initially, and later turn out to be very serious. Again, seek out medical care right away to be safe.
Facial injuries are also common in auto accidents because there is nothing to protect the face from objects and broken glass. Cuts, bruises, fractures, disfigurement, and scarring are all very common injuries.
Chest injuries range from mild to severe and can include bruised or broken ribs, punctured lungs, and other forms of internal injuries.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
The moments after a wreck are disorienting. Gathering information about the crash is an important step.
- Look for injuries. Check yourself and others for any obvious signs of trauma. Keep in mind that you may have internal injuries or ones that will show symptoms over time. For example, let medical personnel know if you hit your head. Symptoms of a concussion may not emerge until days or weeks later.
- Call 911. Having law enforcement on the scene can help in having a complete accident report. Paramedics can also be on-site to treat minor injuries and transport seriously injured people to the hospital. Visit the emergency room if they offer to take you there, and getting a thorough medical exam as soon as possible may help aid in your recovery.
- Move to safety. Move your vehicle off the road if it can be driven. Do not attempt to move the car if it looks too damaged or it would put you in harm’s way to try. If possible, take photos of the accident scene before moving the car.
- Collect contact information. Obtain contact information from others involved in the wreck. Get their names, addresses, license plate numbers, insurance information, and a vehicle description. If possible, gather contact info from any witnesses.
- Document the scene. Cell phones have made it much easier to document accident sites in the moments immediately following the collision. Take photos of the cars from all angles. Take pictures of any skid marks, property damage, and injuries you may have sustained. It’s also useful to jot down or record any of your immediate memories of the accident because your recollections can change over time.
- Seek medical attention if you haven’t already. You should always follow up with a doctor following a car accident. A little bit of soreness could turn out to be a soft tissue injury that needs extra treatment, for example. Failure to seek medical care can also count against you if an insurance company disputes your claim for compensation.
- Contact our attorneys. The Jeffcoat Firm can handle the negotiations with insurance companies from the start. Talk with your car accident lawyer before making recorded statements. Research shows that injured people, on average, get up to 3.5x more compensation when they have a lawyer vs. someone who does it without a lawyer.
UNDERSTANDING FAULT IN SOUTH CAROLINA CAR ACCIDENTS
Establishing fault is a key component of any car accident claim. Insurance companies want to know who is responsible for the wreck before they will make a settlement offer. Sometimes assigning fault can be very complex.
Every state has its own system for assigning fault. Some are no-fault states, which means that your insurance company is responsible for paying all of your injuries and property damage no matter who caused the accident. That’s not the case in South Carolina. Instead, the fault is determined using a modified comparative negligence rule.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
Based on the evidence, each person involved in the accident will be assigned a percentage of fault. If you are found to be more than 50 percent liable for the crash, then you may be barred from recovering any compensation. If you were found to be 50 percent or less liable, you are generally eligible to recover damages. However, the award may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
TAKE THIS EXAMPLE:
You are rear-ended by a speeding driver when you switched lanes, but you didn’t use your turn signal. Both of you are partly responsible for the crash. You were assigned 30 percent fault for the wreck, making the other driver 70 percent responsible. If the total damages were $100,000, you may be able to collect $70,000 because your percentage of fault is subtracted from the total award.
It’s important to speak with a lawyer when there are questions of fault surrounding a car accident. Insurance companies are profit machines. They may try to minimize a settlement payment to you by assigning you an unfair percentage of fault. A good attorney will fight to make sure that you aren’t being bullied and work to get you the full compensation you deserve.
THE COLUMBIA CAR ACCIDENT CLAIMS PROCESS
You may be uncertain about what you need to do after a South Carolina auto accident. The following are steps for handling the claims process after the event.
It is important to understand what happens in the claims process following a car or moped accident. There is filing a report, medical care, establishing fault, gathering evidence, filing a demand letter, and attempting to settle the case. Here are the general steps in a car accident claim process.
- File a police report.
- Seek medical attention.
- Establishing fault. This can involve demonstrating who was negligent in the auto accident, and this is the next thing you’ll need to do.
- Gathering evidence. This is where fault is shown and damages are established. Witnesses, experts, pictures, statements, medical documents and bills, and other estimates can all be useful in this step.
- Filing a demand letter. This is when a demand is sent to the insurance company. It normally will list your injuries and losses that you want to be compensated for. The defendant can respond with a denial or counter-offer.
- Attempting to settle the case normally involves negotiations between your Columbia car accident attorney and the defense.
REPORTING TO THE COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
In certain circumstances, you must report your car accident to the DMV. If the crash caused more than $1,000 in property damage or killed or injured another person, you must report it within 15 days of the incident. If the crash was investigated by law enforcement, you will receive an FR-10 form at the scene. That form will be used to verify car insurance information. Crashes that were not investigated by an officer still need to complete a similar form called the FR-309.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT TO FILE A CAR INSURANCE CLAIM?
South Carolina does have a deadline to file a car accident claim. Generally, you have three years from the date of the crash to file a claim for your injuries. In some cases, this time period may be much shorter. Don’t wait!
HOW DO I SETTLE A COLUMBIA CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Every car accident is unique. The Jeffcoat Firm only accepts cases that we believe have merit. We will give you an honest opinion about your best legal options for recovering the compensation you deserve. That can all be done in our free consultation, so there’s really nothing to lose by meeting with one of our car accident attorneys.
Moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit is a step-by-step process. Consulting with a lawyer can give you a good description of what to expect, but it will likely go like this:
- Filing a report is the first step. You’ll do this with local law enforcement, providing a statement to the police. State the facts of the auto accident, and avoid admitting to or implying any fault. Even apologizing is a bad idea because an apology can be used against you.
- Seeking medical attention is the next step, assuming that you are physically able to file a report, first. If an ambulance ride is offered, accept it. If not, and even if you don’t feel injured, seek medical care from the nearest emergency room, as soon as you can.
- Establishing fault will involve demonstrating who was negligent in the auto accident, and this is the next thing you’ll need to do.
- Gathering evidence is the step where you will prove fault and establish your damages. You’ll be able to use witnesses, experts, pictures, statements, medical documents and bills, estimates, etc.
- Filing a demand letter is where you will demand that your injuries and losses be compensated by a particular amount that will cover your damages. The defendant can respond with a denial or counter-offer.
- Attempting to settle the case will involve negotiations between your Columbia car accident attorney and the defense in an effort to resolve the case outside of court. Both sides will want to avoid the time and expense of court, so you should be able to negotiate a fair settlement in most situations.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE SETTLEMENT FOR AN SC CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Every case is unique. After working with you on your case, a lawyer can help you determine the potential value of your case based on the facts and create a demand letter based on what they believe you are legally owed.. The individual circumstances of a car accident make a big difference in the amount of the offer. The Jeffcoat Firm never makes any promises of a certain dollar. No lawyer can ethically guarantee you any dollar amount. We can tell you some factors that will impact the size of the settlement:
- The extent of the injuries
- If the other driver was intoxicated while driving
- The long-term impact on health, quality of life, and ability to earn an income
- The medical expenses
- The projected wage losses
- If surgery was required
- If there were medical complications
- The limits on the opposing party’s insurance policies
- Any limits on your own insurance policies or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Very often the insurance company’s first settlement offer is lower than what you deserve for your injuries. In cases of catastrophic injury, you must remember that there are no medical guarantees for a full recovery. Instead, your doctor will make a determination for when you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you settle your case before you know the long-term effects of your injury, you may not be collecting what you will need for the future.
Hiring the right auto accident attorney can help you avoid mistakes. They can also negotiate on your behalf to work towards getting you the maximum compensation you deserve. It can be easy to make mistakes during this process. Working with a Columbia car accident lawyer who knows how to fight for your rights and maximize your claim’s value can help give you the best chance at getting what you deserve.
The Jeffcoat Firm is available to help car accident victims 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or contact us today doe your consultation.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLUMBIA
CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER TO SETTLE THE CASE
Hiring the right auto accident attorney can have a big positive impact on your results. A good attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and can work to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact The Jeffcoat Firm today. Our team of car accident lawyers are here to help.
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