Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
What You Need to Know About Handling a Motor Vehicle Collision
Suffering an auto accident can leave you confused and unsure of your next steps. Not only are you facing the challenges of recovering from injuries, but you must also deal with the subsequent property damage. After a car accident, finding the answers you need may be challenging, but we are ready to help.
At Winter & Rhoden LLC, we help the injured get the compensation they need after a car accident. Our practice focuses on the needs of our clients and giving them caring and honest legal guidance. If you have been in a car accident, here are a few of the common questions you may be asking yourself.
- What should I do after a car accident?
- Why do I need a lawyer after a car accident?
- What damages can I seek after a car accident?
- What evidence do I need for my car accident claim?
- What if I am injured by a drunk driver?
- What could hurt my car accident claim?
- What if I am involved in an Uber or Lyft accident?
What should I do after a car accident?
After an automotive collision, you may experience disorientation or pain. Having a list of steps to take after such an incident can help you act quickly. This could save your life or the lives of others. In the event of a car crash, you should:
- Call 911.
- Check on the other driver.
- Get out of harm’s way.
- Seek medical attention.
Once you are safe, then you can address issues that will help your car accident claim.
- Check the crash damage.
- Gather evidence such as videos or photos.
- Get contact information from any witnesses.
- Cooperate with authorities and get a copy of the police report.
- Contact an attorney.
Our South Carolina car accident lawyers have written a blog that further explores what you should do after a car crash. Follow this link to learn more.
Why do I need a lawyer after a car accident?
There are many reasons why hiring an attorney is a good idea after a car accident. An attorney can help you preserve evidence that another party may intentionally or unintentionally destroy or alter. If you must negotiate with your insurance company, a lawyer is familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use. This experience may help you get a better settlement. If you must go to court to solve your claim, an attorney can also help you build a strong case and meet court deadlines. These are tasks that may be difficult for you to handle if you are recovering from an injury.
What damages can I seek after a car accident?
If you suffer an injury in an auto accident, you may be able to seek damages for your associated losses. These damages include, but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and future income
- Vehicle repairs/replacement
- Mental and physical pain and suffering
If the other party acted deliberately or with reckless disregard, the injured party may also be able to pursue punitive damages.
South Caroline has a modified comparative negligence law. This is also referred to as the “51 percent” rule. If the injured party in a car accident holds some fault in the incident, the percentage of his or her fault will lower what the other party pays. If the injured person’s negligence breaks the threshold of 50 percent, he or she cannot recover compensation from the other party.
What evidence do I need for my car accident claim?
In order to build a strong lawsuit or claim, you will need to gather effective evidence. This may be difficult if you are in the hospital or otherwise recovering from your injuries. An attorney can help in this situation.
Your lawsuit or claim will need evidence such as:
- Police reports
- Witness testimony
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
- Diagrams of the scene
- And More
You will also need to exchange basic information from the other driver:
- Driver’s license number
- Registration numbers
- Insurance information
What if I am injured by a drunk driver?
The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in South Carolina is 0.08 percent. If a driver causes a crash or accident while having a BAC of 0.08 or higher, they may be responsible for the resulting damages. However, the drunk driver may not be the only party responsible for damages after a drunk driving accident in South Carolina.
In some situations, drinking establishments may also be responsible due to South Carolina’s dram shop laws. These laws hold bars, restaurants and individuals liable for the irresponsible service/sales of alcohol. If a person or establishment served alcohol to a minor or someone who was already intoxicated, that person or establishment may be partly responsible for the damages resulting from that customer’s subsequent crash. If you have more questions about this area of the law, reach out to one of our personal injury attorneys.
What could hurt my car accident claim?
Failing to carry out certain actions could result in the reduction or loss of compensation for your damages. These actions can include:
- Failing to exchange insurance information
- Failing to call the police/failing to get a police report
- Failing to preserve evidence
- Failing to report an accident to your insurance company
Certain actions on your part can also hurt your future claim or lawsuit. For instance, the court could interpret an apology as an admission of guilt. You should avoid making such statements in the heat of the moment. Insurance companies (even the ones who represent you) may also try to use something you said to dismiss your claim. Always consult a lawyer before speaking to insurance companies.
What if I am involved in an Uber or Lyft accident?
Due to the nature of ridesharing companies, determining who is responsible for an Uber or Lyft accident is often difficult. What stage of a ride the driver is in could determine who pays for damages. If the driver is not logged into the Uber or Lyft app, his or her personal insurance will cover damages. However, logging into the app does not mean that the driver is fully covered by Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy. Different levels of coverage apply depending on whether the driver has accepted a fare, is on the way to pick up a fare, is transporting that fare or dropping his or her fare off. In some circumstances, the Uber/Lyft driver’s private insurance may not cover any part of a collision.
If you wish to learn more, we wrote a blog about what to do after a Lyft or Uber accident.
Still Have Questions? Contact Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Today
Circumstances and the law can make any situation complex and frustrating. Add the burden of recovering from an injury, and it may be impossible for you to recover damages all on your own. But you do not have to face these challenges alone. The caring South Carolina car accident lawyers at Winter & Rhoden LLC are ready to help. We will tell you the truth about your situation and we will never compromise on your case. Call (864) 489-8128 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.