If you’ve been injured in an accident in Charleston caused by another driver, a Charleston personal injury lawyer can help you get money for your medical bills, lost income from being unable to work, and other damages.
Attorney Mark Bringardner represents car accident victims who have been injured by careless drivers. Having represented hundreds of victims of car accidents, he understands what a devastating car accident can do to a life, career and family. To learn about your rights following a Charleston car accident, contact Mark Bringardner today for a free consultation.
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Causes of Charleston Car Accidents
Safe driving relies heavily on visual attention and awareness of surroundings. Some causes of Charleston car accidents include:
Not paying attention is deadly. It is also a leading cause of car accidents. Cell phones are one of the biggest distractions because they take a driver’s eyes, hands, and mind away from driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018, including 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists. “Texting and driving” is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated. Other distracting activities in a car include applying makeup, eating, adjusting the radio, or dealing with children or pets.
Speeding causes greater potential to lose control of a vehicle, increased distance required to stop, and increased crash severity, leading to more serious injuries and higher likelihood of fatal injuries. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), in 2018, there were 44,810 speed-related crashes on South Carolina roads. More than 36 percent of all fatal traffic collisions in South Carolina were speed-related, much higher than the 26% national average for 2018 reported by the NHTSA. The SCDPS launched a campaign in 2019 titled “Speeding takes you nowhere fast.”
Drunk / Drugged Driving:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs decreases reaction time and slows reflexes. In 2019, South Carolina ranked third in the nation for drunk driving deaths over the Christmas and New Year Holiday. In 2018, 31% of fatal accidents in South Carolina involved a drunk driver, higher than the national average of 29%.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents:
Sometimes, several vehicles are involved in an accident. Multiple vehicle rear-end or chain-reaction crashes are common. So are highway accidents with 18-wheelers and several vehicles. More than one driver can be found at-fault. Determining liability between the different vehicles can be difficult without an attorney experienced in accident investigation and reconstruction. Even if you think you bear some responsibility for causing an accident, you may still be entitled to compensation and should consult an experienced attorney to conduct an investigation.
Complex and Shared Fault:
The traffic collision report, which may include the opinion of the responding police officer, is not admissible in South Carolina Court. It does not matter what the traffic collision report says. The reason is that the police officer did not see the accident and only has second-hand information. Unfortunately, sometimes law enforcement does not interview all of the parties and witnesses before making a decision about fault. It is important to protect your rights by hiring a personal injury lawyer even if you were found at-fault by law enforcement. Many of our past clients were initially found “at-fault” by law enforcement, but after our in-depth investigation, law enforcement and the insurance companies changed their liability decision and agreed that our client was not “at-fault” to begin with.
Dangerous Road Conditions:
Sometimes, we see car accidents involving roadway design issues, road maintenance, and intersection engineering defects. Even something small like a missing or defective guardrail, pothole, or obstructed sign can cause a catastrophic accident. These could be temporary conditions involving construction zones, or deferred maintenance on rural roads like landscaping which obstructs line of sight or signs. In most cases, the city, county, state or federal agency in charge of maintenance must be aware of dangerous conditions before they can be held liable for a car accident. These cases can be complex and challenging, but we are familiar with their unique legal issues. Because dangerous conditions are very quickly corrected, repaired, or updated, it is imperative to contact us as soon as possible anytime a dangerous road condition is suspected.
Types of Charleston Car Accidents
From intersection pile-ups to hit and run crashes, we handle all types of accidents. We understand the unique aspects of different types of accidents, and will quickly dispatch investigators and help you preserve evidence for your case as needed. Some of the types of car accidents we handle include:
Rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of crash in the United States. In a typical rear-end crash, the lead vehicle is stopped or moving slowly when it is struck from behind by another vehicle. The severity of injuries will depend on the speed and severity of the impact, but whiplash injuries as well as back injuries are common. In severe rear-end crashes, we help people with spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries that cause long-lasting pain or permanent disability.
Another common cause of crashes involves a vehicle making a left-turn in front of another vehicle. Sometimes the vehicle making the left turn fails to yield the right of way. Sometimes the vehicle going straight is speeding or runs a red light. Every accident is different. It is important to investigate and obtain evidence quickly after an accident. If you were taken to the hospital, the investigating police officer may decide that you were at-fault without even talking to you or locating the eye witnesses. It is important to investigate these cases quickly while memories are fresh and while the vehicles can be inspected.
Pull-Out and Side-impact Collisions
Side-impact, T-bone or broadside crashes can occur in different situations, but are common in intersections or when a driver runs a red light or stop sign, or makes a left turn into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The severity of the crash will be directly related to the size of the striking vehicle and its speed. Neck, spine and head injuries are common. This type of impact can also lead to drivers being trapped or pinned in their vehicle.
A head-on collision involves the front of one vehicle colliding head-on with the front of another vehicle. This type of “lane-departure” collision accounts for just about 2% of all crashes. Typically, the driver fails to stay in their lane, and drifts into oncoming traffic and into the path of another vehicle. Head-on collisions may occur as a result of a distracted driver, drunk driver, driving too fast and losing control in a curve, or a quick maneuver to avoid an animal or debris in the road.
Single Car Accidents
A single car accident or solo-vehicle collision is exactly what it sounds like: a car accident involving only one vehicle. The driver is not automatically liable for ever single car accident, but it is often the case. If the driver’s actions caused the crash, they will be liable. There are cases where a road work crew diverted traffic unsafely and another driver had to swerve and crashed. In this case, the driver may not be liable for their accident. If you were injured as a passenger in a solo-vehicle accident where the driver operated negligently (for example, was distracted, drunk, or speeding) you may have a case against the driver of the vehicle, and their insurance company. If you are unsure if you were responsible for a single car accident, we are happy to review your situation.
Vehicle Rollover Accidents
Rollovers are a serious type of crash. Vehicles like SUVs, pickup trucks and vans are more susceptible to rollover accidents. They often happen when a vehicle “trips” on something, like a soft shoulder, a pothole, or a curb, or when a vehicle rapidly loses tire pressure, causing the driver to lose control and overcorrect. According to Consumer Reports, nearly three-quarters of fatal rollover accidents happen in rural areas on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or more. Injury and fatality rates are drastically reduced when occupants are wearing safety belts.
Common Charleston Car Accident Injuries
If you are involved in a car accident and experience any type of injury, get medical attention as soon as possible. We represent victims of all types of injuries resulting from a car accident:
- Traumatic brain injuries / Concussions
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries / Herniated discs
- Broken ribs
- Collapsed lungs
- Blunt force injuries
- Whiplash / neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Amputation injuries
- Fatal injuries.
Seat belts save lives, but still aren’t utilized by about 9% of drivers (the national use rate was at 90.7% in 2019). Of the first 500 people who lost their lives in early 2019 in South Carolina Car accidents, 164 were not wearing a seat belt.
Getting Medical Attention For Your Car Accident Injuries
Immediately following an accident, seek prompt medical attention. Your adrenaline may initially mask your injuries. It is common for pain to come in the hours, days and even weeks after an accident. It is important to get checked out by a doctor who can detect and diagnose injuries before they get worse. If you delay or do not get medical attention following a crash because you hope the pain will go away on its own, the insurance company may try to make a case that you were not seriously injured simply because you delayed in getting medical treatment. Your medical records are important evidence to your car accident case that document:
- The nature of your injuries
- The duration of your hospitalization and/or treatment
- The link between your injuries and the collision
- How much your injuries cost you financially
- How your injuries will affect you in the future
- How much pain and suffering you experienced
- Whether you require a surgery
- Whether you have a permanent injury
- Whether your need to be placed on short-term or long-term disability from work
Your injuries can affect your ability to work, and so calculations for lost earnings and lost earning capacity will also be based on these records. Pain and suffering damages calculations also take into account the severity of your injuries.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations
The biggest mistake that you can make is not hiring a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Many people try to represent themselves after a wreck. However, after the insurance company delays and/or disputes your claim, you then try to hire an attorney. Unfortunately, that delay can permanently hurt your case. Most insurance companies do not take people who try to represent themselves seriously, resulting in smaller settlements and future problems that you did not anticipate.
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You generally have three years in South Carolina to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim for a car accident. However, this time limit could be much shorter in a number of situations, for example, if a governmental entity is involved, such as a crash involving a government work truck, or a dangerous road condition accident. Once the applicable statutory time limit to bring a claim expires, you will not be able to pursue a case. It is always advisable to talk to a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney in Charleston as soon as possible, so that evidence can be preserved and the accurate statute of limitations can be determined.
Call Us Today for a Free Charleston Car Accident Lawyer Consultation
We will review your case for free. Our team is available to provide immediate help after a car accident in Charleston. In your free case evaluation, we will answer your questions and evaluate whether or not you may have a case, how much it may be worth, and how long it may take to resolve. Contact us today to speak with a skilled and experienced Charleston car accident attorney. As with all of our personal injury cases, if we represent you, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you.