South Carolina is known for its lowcountry cuisine, beautiful beaches, and passion for Nascar action. Unfortunately, not all the hot-rodding takes place on the Darlington Raceway, and South Carolina has more than its share of car accidents. If you are involved in a car accident in South Carolina, you'll need to know what reports need to be made, how to handle insurers, and what important deadlines exist. The following article covers these and other issues relating to the car accident settlement process and timeline in South Carolina.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in South Carolina?
Car accidents need to be reported under certain circumstances in South Carolina. Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 56-9-350, operators or owners of vehicles involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or damage of $400 or more that was not investigated by a police officer must provide a written report at the time of the accident or as soon after as possible. This report must be accompanied by verification of the driver's liability insurance coverage.
South Carolina Car Insurance Laws
As with many other states, South Carolina has laws relating to the financial responsibilities of drivers. These laws require, with some limited exceptions, that drivers maintain insurance policies for their vehicles. South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 56-9-353 requires that drivers hold policies that cover:
- No less than $25,000 for bodily injury or death of a single person in one accident;
- No less than $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people in one accident;
- No less than $25,000 for injury or destruction of property of others in an accident.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in South Carolina?
Car accident settlement procedure might vary considerably, depending on the situation and parties involved, but most have some common features. The process starts when you file a claim with the insurer. An insurance claims adjuster investigates the incident and reviews the evidence submitted with your claim. In many situations this is followed by the insurance company making a settlement offer.
If the offer does not cover your damages you can submit a counteroffer, along with any evidence or arguments that may help support the amount you are requesting. There may several rounds of negotiation before a mutually acceptable agreement is reached. If you accept a settlement offer you will waive your ability to sue for the accident. If no agreement can be reached you must then file a lawsuit in civil court.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in South Carolina?
It is very difficult to produce an average car accident settlement amount. Your injuries, lost wages, damage to property, pain and suffering, and other compensable injuries all affect the amount of a possible settlement. Calculating the total of your damages is a good starting point, but consulting with an attorney for an individualized assessment will provide a much more accurate figure.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in South Carolina?
States provide a time frame within which a lawsuit must be filed or a claim is forever lost. These "statutes of limitations" are important to be aware of because if they elapse before you have initiated a lawsuit it becomes nearly impossible to reach a settlement. In South Carolina a case for personal injury must be commenced within three years, pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 15-3-530 .
Get Legal Help with the Settlement Process After a Car Accident in South Carolina
Dealing with insurance companies and state agencies after a car accident can add stress to an already stressful situation. A lawyer's assistance can make this process much simpler and help ensure that you get fairly compensated for your damages. Ease some your stress -- speak to a skilled car accident attorney in South Carolina today.