Motor vehicle accidents occur all the time in Greenville, SC. Unfortunately, few drivers are prepared for them. Many of them have no idea what duties and rights they have. Their knowledge of South Carolina car accident laws is limited. As a result, they make mistakes that are difficult to fix even for a reputable car accident lawyer in Greenville.
Here is a list of the five main laws governing traffic accidents in South Carolina. All drivers should be familiar with them. They should keep them in mind at least until they consult a car wreck attorney.
1. Hit-and-Run Law or Why Greenville Car Accident Attorneys Advise Against Leaving the Accident Scene
SC Code Sections 56-5-1210 – 1250 foresee a series of duties for drivers involved in accidents. These have to:
- Stop at the accident scene or as close as the conditions allow it
- Provide their information (name, address, vehicle registration, and driver’s license) to anyone involved
- Ensure that anyone injured receives adequate medical assistance
- Return to the accident scene if they need to carry someone to the hospital or report the accident
- Take measures to avoid obstructing traffic if the accident resulted in property-damage-only
- Locate the driver of any unattended vehicle they damaged or leave them a note with contact and crash data
2. Reporting Duties or Securing Evidence for a Car Accident Lawyer in Greenville
Section 56-5-1270 requests drivers to report the accident to the authorities. In the absence of the law enforcements, they should file a Traffic Collision Report with the DMV. The report is mandatory for accidents exceeding 1,000 in damages. It is also a must in cases involving injuries or death. The report usually represents the primary evidence for many compensation claims.
3. Statute of Limitations
SC Code Section 15-3-530 establishes the deadline for accident victims to claim losses. It allows three years for property damage, accident injuries, and/or wrongful death. The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident.
Three years may seem like a lot of time. However, waiting too long to seek legal advice is a bad idea. Evidence is only available for a limited time after a car wreck. Investigations should begin early, right from the accident scene. Even the best law firm will need time to gather evidence and prepare the case.
In rare cases, an experienced car accident lawyer in Greenville may be able to obtain an extension. The deadline refers to court actions only. Drivers should also check their obligations towards their insurer. These usually advise immediate notifications or use general terms like “within reasonable time”.
4. South Carolina Car Insurance Requirements
All drivers have to carry liability insurance for personal injury of minimum $25,000/person and $50,000/event. For property damage, the minimum coverage is of $25,000/event. Under South Carolina laws, the party at fault or their insurer is responsible for all the damages.
When the party at fault is insured, most car wreck lawyers will advise seeking compensation from their insurer. If the party at fault is uninsured, the victim may sue them or claim damages from their own insurer. These decisions are best made with the help of a car accident lawyer in Greenville.
5. Comparative Negligence in South Carolina Car Accident Cases
South Carolina car accident cases follow the “modified comparative negligence” rule. It stipulates that everyone involved in the accident may share fault for it. However, only those whose fault share is lower than that of the other parties may claim compensation.
The amount the claimant receives is reduced according to their fault percentage. Someone who incurred damages of $100,000 but was 25% at fault can only recover $75,000. They will also be responsible for 25% of the damages incurred by the other parties. Someone whose fault exceeds 50% cannot recover any damages.
These principles bind not only court cases but also insurance claims. That is why in most cases the parties fight to attribute fault to one another. The claimant will recover more with every fault percentage they attribute to the defendant. The defendant will pay less with every fault percentage they attribute to the claimant.
If you are involved in a car accident in Greenville, SC, knowing these laws can make a huge difference in your case. You can avoid mistakes like leaving the accident scene or admitting fault for the accident. You also know what to do until you get a chance to consult an auto accident attorney.
Get in Touch with a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer in Greenville, SC Now
If the worst has already happened, we can help. At Brumback & Langley, our auto accident attorneys will review your case for free. They will explain how various laws apply to your case and answer any questions you may have. Call 864-310-7897 or fill in the contact form and get help from a reliable car accident lawyer in Greenville!