Understanding South Carolina Car Accident Laws: Insights for Greenville Drivers

After a car accident, what you do and say can increase or compromise your chances of getting fair compensation for your damages. Some of the mistakes you make may represent breaches of South Carolina car accident laws. Others will be exploited by the insurance adjuster, especially if you do not hire a Greenville car crash lawyer to negotiate your claim.

Let us discuss the most important law governing car accidents in Greenville, SC and their implication for your claim.

1. The Obligation to Report the Accident

South Carolina Code 56-5-1260 states that only accidents resulting in bodily injury or death must be reported to the police. Otherwise, the drivers must fill in the Traffic Collision Report form and submit it to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle.

However, some insurance companies will not allow you even to open a claim if you did not report the crash to the police. It is always better to err on the safe side and call 9-1-1 even if you believe that nobody was injured in the crash.

2. The Fault-Based System for Determining Compensation after an Accident

South Carolina applies an at-fault principle to all personal injury cases, including car accidents. This principle states that:

  • After an accident, the percentage of fault for all drivers involved must be determined
  • Only the driver who is not more than 50% at fault has the right to seek damages
  • The value of their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault

Let us give an example. You are involved in a car crash and are found 20% at fault because you were driving slightly above the limit. Your economic and non-economic damages are evaluated at $100,000. You will actually collect $80,000, because the compensation is reduced by an amount representing your percentage of fault – $20,000.

find out why you should report any car accident to the police

3. The Statute of Limitations

In South Carolina, just like in any other U.S. state, there is a time limit for filing a lawsuit in a personal injury case. This time limit, called the statute of limitations, exists because it is increasingly difficult to prove fault as time passes and evidence is lost. Also, it is not reasonable or ethical to keep someone under constant threat of legal action for an indefinite period of time.

Our state has a statute of limitations of three years for filing a car accident lawsuit. This period of time starts running from the date of the crash.

This is just one of the reasons why you should consult with a Greenville car wreck lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. The attorney needs time to investigate the incident, file and negotiate the insurance claim and file a lawsuit on your behalf, if necessary.

Key Implications of Car Accident Laws on Your Claim

Complying with all the laws above if you want to get compensation for your damages is mandatory. Also, it is important to have legal representation on your side. No matter how carefully you read the laws, this does not replace formal education in law school and hands-on experience in car accident claims.

Insurance adjusters have both training and experience and their job is to deny your claim. They will exploit and interpret the laws in many ways, such as:

  • Tricking you into admitting fault for your accident
  • Looking for clerical errors in any documents you submit
  • Delaying the decision on your claim until the statute of limitations nearly expires

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Greenville Car Wreck Lawyer!

The best way of making sure that you have the right to file a claim is observing South Carolina car accident laws. And the best way of winning fair compensation for your damages is hiring a Greenville car wreck lawyer to negotiate your claim with the insurance company.

We offer each new client a free case evaluation, so call us as soon as possible after your accident at 864-310-7897!