Charleston Car Accident Lawyer
Guiding Victims through the Legal Process in Charleston, Summerville and the Surrounding Areas
If you’ve been injured in a car crash in Charleston, Summerville, or the surrounding areas in South Carolina, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in collisions with cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, and other motor vehicles.
At Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., our Charleston car accident lawyers have the knowledge and skills to successfully represent victims of motor vehicle collisions.
We know how to develop and pursue strong cases by:
Investigating the facts of the accident
Determining the full extent of damages
Negotiating with insurance companies
Making sure medical bills are paid
Our Charleton car accident attorneys will guide you through the legal system to seek to recover the maximum compensation allowable by law for your injuries.
What is the Cause of Most Car Accidents?
Various factors contribute to these types of automobile accidents, including:
Failing to obey traffic laws
Failing to follow commercial vehicle regulations
How Do I Pursue Compensation After a Car Accident in South Carolina?
Two avenues are available to seek financial recovery for damages you sustained because of an accident caused by someone else.
First, you can attempt to resolve the matter with the at-fault party’s insurance company. To do this, you must file a claim with the insurer, stating that their customer caused your accident and you are owed compensation for expenses and losses.
If we are unable to settle the case with the insurance company, our Charleston personal injury lawyers can then pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This legal vehicle allows you to take the responsible party to court. There, a judge or jury will decide whether you’re owed financial recovery and how much you should be awarded.
Our car accident attorneys in Charleston can help you through all stages of the legal process. We have handled various cases involving motor vehicle collisions and know how to seek just compensation. At every step, we will be by your side, answering your questions and addressing your concerns.
What are Common Types of Damages in a Car Accident Claim?
When someone causes a car accident, that driver may be found negligent, and you may be entitled to compensation (compensatory damages) for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages in a car accident are damages that have a monetary cost. Medical expenses are usually the most significant economic losses in an accident, including accident-related future medical expenses. Another example is compensation for lost income, including compensation for future lost wages. A number of factors are taken into account, including salary, career trajectory prior to the injury, age, education, and career skills.
Additional specific examples of economic damages are:
- Medication costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ambulance fees
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t settle a case until your attorney can accurately, or as accurately as possible, calculate all of your damages. Therefore, do not accept a settlement offer until you know all of your expenses and other potential damages due to the accident.
While you may be able to immediately assess the cost of your economic losses, you may also suffer from non-economic damages as a result of the accident. Non-economic damages can be more difficult to prove in your claim, and include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of quality of life, disfigurement, and/or disability. These are damages that don’t have a precise monetary value, but are of importance and value to you. Your attorney will gather evidence of your damages to prove this portion of your case.
- Unlike other types of damages, punitive damages are not intended as compensation for specific losses, but are instead targeted at punishing the defendant for wrongful acts and deterring future wrongful acts of the defendant and others in the community.
- There are limits, and punitive damages are not appropriate in every case. Section 15-32-510 of the South Carolina Code of Laws states that plaintiffs may seek punitive damages in personal injury complaints, but should not demand an exact amount.
The judge or jury will consider many factors in determining an appropriate
amount of punitive damages, including:
- Severity of the harm caused.
- Defendant’s degree of culpability.
- Duration of the defendant’s conduct.
- Whether the defendant concealed the wrongful acts or attempted to.
- Extent to which the plaintiff’s own actions contributed to the accident and injuries.
- How aware the defendant was of the risk he/she created.
- Whether the defendant profited from the conduct.
- The ability of the defendant to pay punitive damages.
- How likely it is that the punitive damages will deter the defendant or others from acting in a similar way.
- Whether any criminal penalties were imposed on the defendant.
- Whether the defendant faced any civil fines because of the actions.
Subject to certain fact-specific and important exceptions, South Carolina law stipulates that punitive damages may not exceed $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages that a plaintiff receives, whichever is higher. Again though, certain exceptions exist in regards to this “cap” on punitive damages awards, and every case should be analyzed very carefully to determine whether an exception might apply.
How Much Money Can I Get for a Car Accident Settlement?
Because medical bills, lost wages, and other damages arising from an accident can put a strain on personal finances, one of the victim’s main concerns is the amount of compensation they can expect to receive. Unfortunately, a straightforward answer doesn’t exist.
Determining how much an accident case is worth and what amount will be recovered is complicated, as they depend on many factors.
Some of the things influencing automobile accident settlements include, but are not limited to:
Severity of injuries
Amount of time out of work
Type of medical treatment needed
Evidence of other driver’s responsibility
Availability of sufficient coverage
Additionally, the victim’s percentage of fault will also be factored into the settlement amount. South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state. Under this system, a judge or jury determines whether the victim is entitled to compensation and if they share any responsibility for the accident.
If they conclude that the victim contributed to the crash, the settlement is reduced by their percentage of negligence. However, if the victim's own negligence during is determined to be more than 50% then they receive nothing.
Although this mainly applies to cases during the lawsuit stage, the insurance company may raise this at negotiations during the claims phase.
In short, without a complete understanding of your specific situation, it would be unwise to ballpark a settlement figure. Discuss your case in greater depth with our Charleston car accident lawyers, and we can help you understand what just compensation would look like.
How Long Does an Car Accident Case Take to Settle?
Traffic collision cases are all different. Thus, the way one progresses and resolves will be different from how another does.
A few factors that can affect the duration of a case include, but are not limited to:
Recovery time: Before sending a demand to the insurance company, it’s important to ensure all current and future medical expenses are accounted for. Often, this means waiting until reaching maximum medical improvement.
Investigation: Automobile accidents must be thoroughly investigated to establish fault. Gathering and preserving evidence can take some time, especially if an accident reconstruction expert is needed to understand the situation fully.
Negotiations: Talks with the at-fault party’s insurance company can be lengthy. The company will be trying to protect their financial interests while the victim’s lawyer will be working to get the best possible outcome for their client. These conflicting goals can slow negotiations down.
Trial: If negotiations fail, the matter will be taken to court. This can increase the duration of the case, as a court date must be set and a judge or jury must hear the facts and make a decision.
When you hire Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., we will discuss your legal options and explain how certain avenues and circumstances may affect the length of your auto accident claim.
Cases Involving Tractor-Trailers
Our Charleston car accident attorneys on our team have extensive experience representing injured people and the families of those killed in collisions with trucks, tractor-trailers, and other commercial vehicles.
Crashes involving tractor-trailers and trucks often cause significant damages, and may involve pursuing claims for personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage against the transportation company, insurance companies, drivers, and other responsible parties.
Our auto accident lawyers in Charleston, SC, have the resources and ability to successfully pursue these complex cases. We have specific knowledge of all trucking laws and regulations, such as the requirements for logging driver hours, rest periods, maintenance requirements, training, and other regulations.
We maintain a network of experts on trucking and transportation law and regulations, including all rules and regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These experts are prepared to assist in establishing and providing testimony on the standard of care required by commercial drivers and motor carriers.
Local Car Accident Resources in Charleston County, SC
If you are looking for local car accident resources in Charleston County, SC, here are some organizations and services that can assist you:
Charleston County Sheriff's Office: The sheriff's office handles law enforcement services in Charleston County. They can provide assistance at the scene of an accident, file accident reports, and provide information on the legal process.
South Carolina Highway Patrol: The South Carolina Highway Patrol is responsible for enforcing traffic laws and investigating accidents on highways and roads. They can provide accident reports and assistance in understanding the legal aspects of a car accident.
Charleston County Emergency Medical Services (EMS): In case of injuries resulting from a car accident, Charleston County EMS provides emergency medical services. They can dispatch ambulances and provide immediate medical assistance.
Charleston County Police Departments: Charleston County has multiple police departments serving different areas within the county. Contact the appropriate local police department based on the accident location to report the incident and seek assistance.
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): The DMV can provide information on reporting accidents, obtaining accident reports, and handling insurance-related matters.
Local towing and recovery services: In the event your vehicle needs towing or recovery services, there are several local companies in Charleston County that offer these services. Search for towing companies in your area or contact the local law enforcement for recommendations.
It's important to note that the contact information for these resources may change over time.
Contact Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A. Today
If you would like to discuss the value of your case with our car accident attorneys in Charleston, schedule a free consultation with us. We do not collect a fee in personal injury cases unless we can recover compensation for your claim*.
* The attorney fee will be a percentage of the total recovery, and it will be computed before any expenses are deducted from the recovery. Unless otherwise noted in the fee agreement, the client will not be responsible for costs if no recovery is made.