Car accidents are one of the scariest things you can experience, and it is an event filled with so many unknowns. What do I do now? What comes next? How will I survive mentally, physically, and financially in the coming days and weeks?
After an accident, motor vehicle insurance can help you pay for costs related to your accident and injuries. Who will pay and what they cover will depend on the laws of your state and your coverage. Resources may be available if you or someone you love has been in an accident. To learn more about how to get started, contact an experienced car accident attorney.
What is no-fault insurance?
In states requiring no-fault insurance, all parties must file a claim against their insurance for any damages they sustain during an accident, regardless of who was at fault. True no-fault states require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to cover medical bills, lost wages, and funeral and burial costs.
Typically, no-fault laws preclude drivers from suing the at-fault driver for damages unless their injuries meet certain guidelines. Currently, 12 states and Puerto Rico require drivers to maintain no-fault insurance.
The remaining states are either “add-on” states, a variation of no-fault insurance, or at-fault states. At-fault states require drivers to file a tort claim against the at-fault party if they wish to recover damages and often require drivers to carry liability insurance to cover potential claims.
Is South Carolina a no-fault state?
Year after year, South Carolina ranks as one of the most dangerous states for drivers. A recent report from Insurify found that 12 percent of all drivers in the state have an at-fault accident on their record (that’s 37 percent higher than the national average).
With that said, you need a lawyer who understands your rights and responsibilities after an accident. South Carolina is a tort law or at-fault state. This means the person responsible for the accident is the person who holds financial responsibility.
To help protect drivers, South Carolina has set minimum insurance requirements for all drivers, including:
- Liability insurance: All drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 per person/ $50,000 per accident in bodily injury damage. Additionally, all drivers must maintain at least $25,000 of coverage for physical damage.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: South Carolina requires insurance providers to offer UI/UIM insurance. However, the law does not require drivers to accept this coverage.
If you are in a motor vehicle accident, speaking to an experienced car accident attorney who can help guide you through the next steps is imperative.
Your legal rights after a South Carolina car accident
A car accident can change your life in a second. Knowing your rights can help ensure you get the help you need and have access to the resources that will help you through your recovery.
Following an accident, money can be a very real concern. It’s only natural to wonder how you will pay for mounting medical bills and be able to afford to take time off of work.
Under the law, you may pursue reasonable damages from the at-fault driver.
Damages may include:
- Medical bills: Many accident victims put off necessary medical care because they worry about treatment costs. However, medical costs are one of the most commonly included costs in a car accident case. Specific costs can vary from case to case and by the car insurance company but often include office visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, medical devices, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages: You should never feel like you have to return to work too soon because you are worried about money. A personal injury suit can help you recover lost wages beginning the day of the accident and ending when you can return to work. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot return to work or can not complete the same functions, you may qualify for future lost wages or worker retraining.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering is a variable cost that covers an accident’s physical, mental, and emotional toll. In addition to immediate and long-term pain, it is not uncommon for accident victims to suffer from depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Be sure to talk to your care providers and attorney about any symptoms you experience, as they can make a big difference in your case.
Do I need an attorney to recover damages after an accident?
Because South Carolina is not a no-fault state, your insurance will not help cover the cost of your injuries following an accident. You must submit a claim to the other party’s insurance company to recover any financial compensation. While this is possible without an attorney, it is rarely a good idea.
The number one priority for the insurance company is its bottom line. The less they can get away with paying you, the higher their profits are at the end of the year.
When you work with an experienced car accident attorney, they only have your interest in mind. Your recovery and protecting your future are what matters the most. A skilled attorney will be able to combat the tactics of the other party’s insurance company and help you fight for what you deserve.
Know what you deserve. Fight for what’s right
When an accident is not your fault, you shouldn’t have to stress about what comes next. Some laws can protect you and help ensure you and your family have what you need.
To learn more about your legal rights or to open a car accident case, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC.