Nestled in the heart of South Carolina, the state's capital city provides events and entertainment for residents and visitors year-round. Unfortunately, enjoying Columbia's unique sights and sounds requires a trip in a motor vehicle, and accidents are frequent in the Columbia area.
We mainly see this on major thoroughfares, such as 1-20, I-95, and I-85, and city roadways, such as Broad River Road, Two Notch Road, Huger Street, and Killian Road. These areas are frequently congested and occupied by fast-moving vehicles and drivers who are often distracted, impaired, or aggressive.
If the careless actions of another driver left you with significant injuries, turn to South Carolina's personal injury claims process. You have the right to seek compensation for the costs and impacts you experienced due to your accident. A Columbia car accident lawyer from Morris Law, LLC can explain this process and how we can help you recover compensation.
Why Choose Morris Law With Your Car Accident Claim?
At Morris Law, we believe that our success comes from our client's success. We have built a team of legal professionals with a shared mission of providing our clients with the best possible customer service and representation. While most clients will likely receive compensation through a negotiated settlement, we are prepared to fight for the best possible outcome, even if that means going to court.
We are proud of the case results in we garnered for our clients throughout South Carolina, including:
- A $675,000 settlement for a DUI car accident in which our client sustained a broken leg.
- A $675,000 settlement for a client recommended back surgery after being injured in an automobile accident caused by a negligent driver.
- A $600,000 award for a client who sustained crashed ribs in a rear-end collision.
The legal team at Morris Law, LLC doesn't believe in offering empty promises. From your initial case evaluation to the conclusion of your case through either a negotiated settlement or a court award, keeping you in the loop and providing the information you need to make decisions about your case is a crucial part of the process. We provide the resources necessary to get you the results you need.
The experienced car accident lawyers at Morris Law understand the importance of having access to your lawyer. Having a local lawyer means having the ability to meet with them at a location that is convenient for them. We are pleased to offer our services in Columbia, providing local assistance and representation to car accident victims. Contact us today to learn more about our firm and to receive a free case evaluation with our lawyers in Columbia, SC.
- Why Choose Morris Law With Your Car Accident Claim?
- How Much Is a Columbia Car Accident Case Worth?
- How Car Accidents Occur in Columbia
- The Types of Accidents That Can Result in the Need for Compensation
- Insurance Companies Make the Car Accident Claims Process Difficult
- What You Can Do to Protect the Value of Your Columbia Car Accident Claim
- How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Car Accident in South Carolina?
- Morris Law Stands By Injured Victims in Columbia
- Our Columbia Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You
How Much Is a Columbia Car Accident Case Worth?
With more than 10,000 collisions in a year, the Columbia area has one of the highest accident rates in the state, and neighboring Lexington County also sees more than 6,700 car accidents a year, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS).
When a driver's recklessness or carelessness—commonly called negligence—causes an accident in which others sustain physical injury and/or property damage, the injured party can file a claim against the at-fault driver's auto liability insurance policy.
As noted by the state Department of Insurance (SCDOI), drivers of vehicles registered in Columbia are required to maintain an insurance policy that provides at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 per accident, as well as property damage coverage of at least $25,000 per accident.
If the at-fault party's insurance provider fails to fairly compensate the claim, we can file a lawsuit in civil court within three years of the accident. The lawsuit's purpose is to allow a judge or jury to hear the details of the claim and make binding decisions on liability and the amount of compensation owed to the claimant.
One of the most common questions from those injured in a motor vehicle accident is: "How much is my claim worth?" No standard value applies to a car accident claim or lawsuit; each case is unique.
However, several things commonly impact the value of a claim, such as:
The amount of insurance the at-fault party has.
Insurance is how most car accident injury claims are paid, and insurance policies have policy limits, which refer to the maximum compensation available for the claim. This is why attorneys investigate all sources of liability and all insurance resources available to compensate the claim, including coverages that you have with your own policies, such as an underinsured motorist policy.
The severity of the injury.
More severe car accident injuries will almost always be valued higher, as they typically result in higher medical costs, more time lost from work, and even permanent disabilities that will impair the claimant's ability to earn an income and live independently in the future. Permanent injuries will also generally result in compensation for estimated medical expenses, as these injuries often require continued treatment and a higher level of medical care throughout the remainder of the claimant's life.
The clarity of liability.
When a personal injury claim is filed against a policyholder's auto liability coverage, the insurance company hires a claims adjuster to evaluate the claim and determine if the insured is liable for the accident that caused the injury. If the insurer disputes the insured's liability, they often offer a lower settlement or refuse to settle the claim.
The claimant's patience during the process.
The personal injury claims process can take far longer than anyone wants. There are many potential delays, including the time needed for the claimant to reach maximum medical improvement, delays in filing the police report, and lengthy settlement negotiations. While you may receive a settlement offer very quickly, obtaining an offer that offers fair compensation often takes time. Additionally, should the insurance company be unwilling to offer reasonable financial compensation, your lawyer may advise you to pursue further action in the form of a car accident lawsuit; this could require more time and patience in order to achieve the positive results we desire for your case.
A Columbia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Seek Compensation
Columbia car accident claimants are permitted to seek compensation for both the costs and the psychological impacts they incur as a result of the accident, including:
- Medical expenses, including expenses for emergency treatment, ambulance transport, hospitalization, the services of physicians, surgeons, and other members of your healthcare team, prescription medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation, as well as the provision of home healthcare services, placement in a long-term nursing facility, and assistive devices such as crutches or prosthetic limbs.
- Income loss for days, weeks, or even longer when you could not work while recovering from your injury.
- Lost earning capacity occurs when the injuries sustained in the accident result in permanent disabilities that prevent the sufferer from being able to work.
- Property damage sustained in the accident, such as repairing or replacing the vehicle you were driving, and personal belongings, such as a cell phone damaged in the accident.
- Physical and emotional suffering, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other quality-of-life impacts.
How Car Accidents Occur in Columbia
Most motor vehicle accidents in Columbia and elsewhere result from human error.
According to SCDPS, some of the most common primary reasons for car accidents in South Carolina include:
- Driving too fast for the traffic and weather conditions of the roadway account for around 34,000 accidents a year.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way resulted in around 24,000 accidents on South Carolina roadways each year.
- Improper lane change causes more than 10,000 accidents in the state every year.
- Following another vehicle too closely (tailgating) accounts for more than 8,000 accidents a year.
- Distracted driving is a primary factor in more than 7,400 South Carolina traffic collisions a year.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is a primary factor in around 5,200 accidents a year. Columbia has at least 11 colleges that serve the area. According to American Addiction Centers, around 80 percent of college students consume alcohol, and about half of all college students binge drink. Drunk driving accidents can happen when this populace of less-experienced drivers gets behind the wheel while impaired.
The Types of Accidents That Can Result in the Need for Compensation
There are many reasons why car accidents occur on Columbia roadways; there are also many types of accidents. While some of these accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries, any collision between two or more motor vehicles places the occupants in danger.
The injuries sustained in car accidents include:
- Catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. Catastrophic injuries are injuries that present a high likelihood of permanent disability that will prevent the sufferer from being able to earn an income or live independently. The brain and the spinal cord have a limited ability to heal from damage, meaning that the impacts of the injury can be life-long and require additional compensation to account for permanent income loss and other impacts.
- Broken bones will often heal within weeks or months, but can result in chronic pain, loss of mobility, and other long-term issues.
- Internal injuries, which can lead to dangerous bleeding.
- Burns are caused by contact with the caustic chemicals used in motor vehicles or from contact with heat or flames resulting from the accident.
- Traumatic limb damage, including amputations or permanent loss of use.
- Soft tissue damage, including damage to ligaments, muscles, and joints. One common type of soft tissue damage to be sustained in many types of accidents is whiplash, which is a neck injury that results from the head snapping back and forth due to the force of the crash.
Here is a look at the accidents that most commonly require an injured party to seek compensation through the personal injury claims process.
Rear-end accidents occur when the front of one vehicle impacts the rear of another. Despite their reputation as minor fender-benders, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that around 3,000 people in the U.S. die yearly due to rear-end crashes, accounting for 17 percent of all fatal accidents involving two or more vehicles. In addition, rear-end accidents result in around 1.36 million injuries.
Rear-end accidents are commonly the result of tailgating, which involves one vehicle following another vehicle so closely that they do not have time to come to a safe stop if the lead vehicle suddenly stops or slows. Another common cause of rear-end crashes is a distracted driver in the following vehicle who fails to notice that traffic has stopped in front of them.
While rear-ends are usually the fault of the driver in the following vehicle, the lead vehicle's driver can be liable for the accident in certain circumstances, such as if the lead vehicle traveled in reverse when the accident occurred, or their vehicle's brake lights were out.
Head-on collisions involve the front of two vehicles traveling from opposing directions crashing into each other. This is a particularly deadly type of accident due to the increased collision force created by the forward motion of both vehicles when they collide. While head-on crashes are far less common than most other accident types, they account for around 5,000 deaths a year and 228,000 injuries, the NSC reports.
Broadside (T-bone) Accidents
According to the NSC, broadside accidents, also known as T-bone accidents or angle collisions, are the most common cause of motor vehicle accident injuries, resulting in around 1.695 million medically consulted injuries and 8,000 deaths. These accidents, where the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another, usually result from a driver's failure to yield the right-of-way at an intersection, causing one vehicle to enter another vehicle's path.
The increased hazard of this type of car crash involves the lack of protective features in the doors of vehicles that can cause more severe injuries to the occupants sitting on the side of the struck vehicle. Additionally, a large discrepancy between vehicle sizes means a greater chance of injury or death for the smaller vehicle's occupants.
Sideswipes involve the sides of two vehicles colliding. The vehicles can travel in the same direction or the opposite direction. These accidents are usually the result of one driver failing to maintain a single lane of travel. This can result from several driver behaviors, including aggressive driving, distracted driving, impairment by alcohol, or driver fatigue.
These accidents grow more serious at highway speeds, where one or both vehicles can lose control, striking objects along the roadside and other vehicles.
Chain Reaction Crashes
A chain reaction crash is a series of accidents involving three or more vehicles, typically starting when two vehicles collide. The force of that collision can cause one of the vehicles to collide with other vehicles in the area. Additionally, vehicles coming up on the initial crash scene can collide with disabled cars in the roadway, adding to the wreckage and the potential for injury and death.
You will need a car accident lawyer to sort out liability in chain reaction accidents, as the crash involved the actions of many drivers. While the driver who caused the initial accident is generally at fault, you can also hold other drivers at fault.
An experienced Columbia auto accident attorney from Morris Law will take a deep look at the accident to determine all sources of liability and the insurance policies they have that can be accessed to compensate your claim.
The force of a crash may cause the vehicle to roll over once or even multiple times, commonly causing severe injuries or death. While this type of accident is often the result of a single vehicle running off the road, it can also be part of an accident involving multiple vehicles.
Some of the common causes of rollovers include:
- The tires of the vehicle tripping over an object such as a curb.
- A vehicle traveling too fast for the road conditions, causing the tires to lose their grip on the road and a rollover to occur. This is more likely in vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs or pickup trucks.
- The force of an accident is great enough to cause the car to tip over.
- Wet roads make it easier to roll over at high speeds or during risky maneuvers.
Insurance Companies Make the Car Accident Claims Process Difficult
Many people believe that the accident that caused their injury was so clearly the other driver's fault that it is an open-and-shut case for which they can quickly receive compensation.
Unfortunately, because insurance companies are involved, personal injury cases are typically far more complex than that. Insurance companies are in the business of making money by selling premiums. They attempt to hang on to as much of that money as possible by hiring claims adjusters to evaluate claims and pay as little as possible to resolve these claims.
When a claimant attempts to navigate the claims process without the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney, the insurance company will commonly use tactics to devalue the claim or even eliminate the claimant's right to compensation.
Some of those tactics include:
- Offering a ridiculously low settlement with a short deadline and warning the claimant that they must accept the offer by that deadline or their claim won't be compensated.
- Getting the claimant to agree to a recorded statement and then asking leading questions to get the claimant to admit fault or give information that contradicts the information they gave to the police at the scene.
- Convincing the claimant that they need to release their entire medical history for the adjuster to evaluate the claim when the adjuster is just looking for pre-existing conditions they can use to reduce the claim's value.
What You Can Do to Protect the Value of Your Columbia Car Accident Claim
Hire an experienced Columbia car accident attorney to manage communication with your and the other driver's insurance company and handle the process. That will protect your claim's value.
Additionally, you can:
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Follow your doctor's treatment plan.
- Retain all injury-related receipts and medical bills.
- Promptly respond to your attorney's requests for information.
- Journal about your pain level daily, the types of treatments you receive, and the impacts of your injury on your life.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Car Accident in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including car accidents, is generally three years. This means you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the party at fault. If you fail to do so within this time, you may lose your right to legal recourse.
The clock on the statute of limitations begins ticking on the date of the accident or, in some cases, from the date you discovered the injury. For instance, if you were in a car accident but didn't realize you had suffered an injury until weeks or even months later, you would generally have three years from the date of discovery to file a claim. This is known as the "discovery rule."
There are certain exceptions to these rules, though. For example, if the victim is a minor or if the defendant leaves the state for a period of time, the statute of limitations may be extended. It can also vary depending on the type of claim being made, such as property damage or wrongful death. For these reasons, you must consult a Columbia car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your car accident. Our auto accident attorneys will ensure that your case is handled expediently and begin preparing you for what's in store from the moment you turn to us for a free consultation.
Morris Law Stands By Injured Victims in Columbia
At Morris Law, we take immense pride in our deep-rooted connections to Columbia, South Carolina. Our team is composed of seasoned attorneys who not only work in this city but also live here and are a part of the community. This extensive local knowledge gives us a unique advantage in serving our clients' needs, specifically in the area of auto accidents and personal injury law.
Our local knowledge allows us to understand the specifics of Columbia's roads, traffic patterns, and common accident hotspots. Familiarity with local law enforcement agencies and court systems also helps us navigate the complex web of legal proceedings more efficiently, which can significantly impact the outcomes of our clients' cases.
Our lawyers are not just your legal representatives; we are your neighbors, friends, and advocates who deeply care about the welfare of our community. We are committed to using our wealth of experience and passion for justice to help you navigate through difficult times and to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our Columbia Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You
The experienced legal team at Morris Law, LLC is committed to providing compassionate and aggressive legal counsel for car accident victims. We will fight the insurance company for the compensation you need.