About Car Accidents
Several important laws guide your actions after a car accident through the process of filing your claim. Being familiar with these provisions can help you understand who will be held responsible and how.
You Have a Duty to Report It
According to South Carolina law, any accident not investigated by a law enforcement officer resulting in property damage of $1,000 or more or bodily injury or death must be reported via a Traffic Collision Report form to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. The form must be sent within fifteen days of the date of the accident. Verification of liability insurance coverage must also be included; failure to do so serves as evidence that the vehicle was uninsured. The easiest method of avoiding having to send in this form is to have any automobile accident investigated on-scene by law enforcement, who will also produce a police report to be used with any claims and by insurance companies.
South Carolina has a statute of limitations on car accident claims. A statute of limitations is simply a deadline before which you must bring your claim to court. The law gives a time limit of three years to bring any kind of case that results from a car accident, including wrongful death, actions for vehicle damage, claims for lost wages, etc. This means that you must bring your claim before this time period expires in order to have a chance to prevail. Waiting more than those three years means that the opposition will be able to have your case dismissed. The statute of limitations does not apply to a car insurance claim, which is entirely different. However, you may have an obligation to report any automobile accidents to your insurer as soon as they happen.
There are several sets of rules that could apply to car accidents in any given state. In “no-fault” states, a car insurer will pay all or some of the expenses without regard to who was at fault for the accident. On the contrary, South Carolina is a “fault” state. This means that the person who is responsible for the accident is the person who will be required to pay for it, whether through his or her insurance company or not. In South Carolina, you can be entirely at fault, entirely not at fault, or partially at fault.
Explaining Comparative Negligence
Not being at fault isn’t the end of the inquiry. South Carolina uses a system called modified comparative negligence to reduce the amount of an award in accordance with whether the individual is partially at fault. To imagine this principle, consider being awarded $100,000. If a judge or jury also finds that you are 10% at fault, your award will be reduced by 10%. If you are more than 50% at fault, you will not be entitled to a payout. An attorney can help you navigate claims that you were negligent or at fault in your automobile accident.
Finding the Right Attorney
If these concepts are making your head spin, worry not; an attorney experienced with automobile accidents and their claims can assist you in your personal injury suit. Contact one at The Stanley Law Group. Call 803-799-4700 and set up a consultation today.