South Carolina Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in America. Aside from health-related causes such as cancer or heart problems, the Number 1 cause of death for people in the first half of life is injuries. Although the number of driver safety campaigns has increased in recent years, distracted and negligent driving has also risen – in large part due to mobile technologies. Today’s drivers must be more vigilant than ever to avoid being the victim of a negligence-related car accident. If you do end up in a collision in South Carolina, come to the Hawkins Law Firm for help.

We Can Help With Many Types of Car Accidents

With over 20 years of personal injury law experience in South Carolina, John D. Hawkins has represented a wide variety of car accident cases. The Hawkins Law Firm has offices based in Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg, SC, but we take cases from dozens of counties throughout the state. Our team of attorneys has the skill and resources to handle most types of car accidents, including:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Side collisions (T-bone collisions)
  • Multi-vehicle collisions
  • Vehicle rollovers
  • Truck accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicyclist accidents
  • Driving under the influence accidents

Whether a car accident involved a negligent driver, vehicle manufacturer’s mistake, or something the city did or didn’t do to provide safe roadways, we can help litigate your case. Car accidents can be incredibly damaging, leaving the victims to suffer lifelong disabilities and emotional traumas. One second of negligence can cause a great deal of pain. Fight against negligent parties by pursuing a personal injury case against them.

Negligence and Car Accidents

Car accidents are preventable personal injury events. The majority of car accidents results from human error. A driver may fail to maintain a vehicle’s brakes properly, for example, leading to a deadly pedestrian collision at a crosswalk. Many forms of driver negligence plague roadways. Defining negligence and learning how to prove it in a car accident are a victim’s only chance at securing compensation.

Negligence is the act of behaving in a manner that is thoughtless or careless and can potentially cause harm to others. Examples of negligence behind the wheel are speeding, running a red light, and failing to stop for a pedestrian. Negligence is the theory on which the law bases almost every car accident case. All drivers have a duty to avoid injuring others they encounter on the roadway. When a driver breaches this duty, causing a harmful accident, the courts will hold the driver liable for injuries and property damage.

Every driver has certain duties behind the wheel of a vehicle. A vehicle is, in essence, a weapon that can harm and kill others on the road. As such, every driver has a responsibility to drive with reasonable care.

Here are a few main duties every driver has in South Carolina:

  • Obeying the rules of the road. A driver must drive at a reasonable speed that is prudent according to weather conditions, traffic, and visibility. Drivers cannot speed through active school zones, run red lights, or break other roadway rules. If a driver operates a commercial vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, he/she must obey rules specific to truck drivers on top of typical rules.
  • Following statewide rules. In South Carolina, drivers cannot get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher. For commercial drivers, this percentage is 0.04%. For drivers under the age of 21, it is 0.02%. Texting or emailing while driving also are illegal in the state.
  • Vigilance and paying proper attention. Drivers must maintain a lookout for pedestrians, other vehicles, and dangerous roadway conditions. Failure to watch the road and see things a prudent driver would see constitutes negligence; such negligence can cause an accident. Texting and driving is one example of breaching this duty.
  • Staying in control of the vehicle. Drivers have to pass tests to receive a license in South Carolina as proof that they are able to keep their cars under control. Drivers must stay in control of their vehicles at all times, with the ability to stop quickly and react to roadway situations. If a driver loses control for no reason, swerving into oncoming traffic, this is negligence..
  • Maintaining a vehicle’s equipment. As the owner or operator of a vehicle, every driver has a duty to maintain the car’s parts adequately. This includes ensuring lights, brakes, wipers, and other elements all work correctly.

Failing these duties in any capacity can result in a fatal collision. When a driver doesn’t take his or her responsibilities seriously, causing a crash, the victims have the right to pursue compensation with a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

SC Attorneys With Experience Proving Negligence

To prove negligence in a car accident case, the plaintiff needs the help of a capable personal injury attorney. Our attorneys will investigate the crash and gather evidence in hopes of proving a defendant’s negligence. The Hawkins Law Firm has a team of investigators for this purpose. The investigators will revisit the scene of the accident, take photographic evidence, review your injuries, and re-create the crash.

Proving negligence in a car accident case requires the plaintiff to have evidence of four main elements:

  1. The defendant had a duty to be reasonably careful. Every driver automatically owes a duty of reasonable care to anyone encountered on the roads, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers. If the defendant is a road maintenance crewmember or a parts manufacturer, he or she will also owe a duty of care.
  2. The defendant breached his or her duty of care. If another driver caused your accident, you must prove that driver was acting in a way that was unsafe, careless, or reckless. Our attorneys will review the other driver’s phone records, interview eyewitnesses to the accident, and access highway security footage.
  3. The defendant’s breach of care caused your injuries. If you didn’t sustain any injuries or property damage from the defendant’s negligence, you don’t have grounds to file a claim. The defendant’s breach must have directly caused your injuries. Key witness testimony from the physician who tended to your accident wounds may prove this element.
  4. You suffered some kind of loss in the accident. The purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to receive compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage. If you didn’t suffer any provable injuries, you have nothing to recover.

Negligence is the basis of every personal injury lawsuit. The Hawkins Law Firm has the experience to represent your case during mediation or in front of a jury.

South Carolina’s Comparative Fault Rules

South Carolina abides by comparative fault rules in car accident cases.

For example, if a pedestrian crossed the road without waiting for the walk signal, but the driver was texting and driving, the courts in South Carolina, with comparative fault rules, would likely assign partial responsibility to both parties, awarding them both a fraction of the total settlement.

Common Car Accident Injuries

A car accident is one of the most traumatic experiences the body can go through. In many cases, the human body simply can’t withstand the incredible gravitational forces a car accident exerts. In car accidents that don’t result in death, the victims can suffer painful fractures, contusions, internal injuries, and worse. Virtually every part of the body is susceptible to injury in a car accident. The most common car accident injuries include:

  • Head injuries. When an outside force such as the windshield or window strikes the head, it can cause a skull fracture, concussion, and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). The brain may rattle inside the skull or strike the inside of the skull, leading to swelling or bleeding. A TBI can cause temporary and permanent brain damage, including memory loss, cognitive difficulties, and brain death.
  • Neck injuries. The G-forces in an accident often whip the head and neck forward and then backward rapidly. This can result in whiplash injuries, a common result of rear-end collisions, as well as other more serious injuries. The neck’s muscles and ligaments may sustain damage, leading to pain and swelling.
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs). An SCI is one of the most damaging injuries you can sustain in a car accident. When a blow in a car accident fractures or dislocates your vertebrae, it can tear spinal cord tissues or damage the nerves in your spine. SCIs can result in permanent paralysis below the level of injury.
  • Internal injury. There are three collisions in every car accident: The vehicle collision, human collision, and internal collision. The internal collision occurs when the body’s organs continue their motion toward the point of impact after the body has stopped. This causes the organs to strike each other and the inside of the body and can result in internal injuries such as organ swelling and bleeding.

When someone else’s negligence is responsible for your injury, you deserve a monetary award to pay for your medical bills, at the very least. In most cases, you’ll have missed days at work and need compensation for your lost wages. After a car accident, get in touch with the Hawkins Law Firm for a consultation.

Damages Available for Car Accident Cases

Damages are the types of compensation you’re eligible to receive in a case. When you file a claim against a defendant for causing a car accident, there are certain recoveries you can obtain if you win a settlement. This compensation can pay for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If a loved one died in a car accident, the decedent’s family members may also be eligible to receive certain compensation for a wrongful death claim. You can seek monetary compensation in a car accident case for three types of losses:

  1. Special damages. Special damages relate to the monetary losses a victim has suffered. These include the costs of past and future medical bills, lost wages, household expenses, and attorney’s fees. In a wrongful death case, the decedent’s family members can receive special damages for their loved one’s medical bills up until the time of death, as well as a monetary award for burial and funeral costs.
  2. General damages. General compensatory damages are nonmonetary harms a victim suffers in an injury. These include a victim’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, lost quality of life, and loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is the loss of companionship a spouse or child suffers due to a victim’s injuries. The courts assign general damages by multiplying the special damages amount by one-and-a-half to five or more, depending on the severity of the injury.
  3. Punitive damages. In a small number of car accident cases where the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or reckless, the court may award punitive damages as a kind of penalty against the defendant. These are extra damages for the extreme carelessness of the defendant’s actions or inactions.

Compensation amounts will vary greatly depending on each case’s individual circumstances and the victim’s damages. Your final settlement amount ultimately depends on your ability to negotiate during mediation or during a trial. When you know how much your case is worth, you can more confidently negotiate with insurance adjusters or the defendant’s attorney. Partner with an experienced personal injury attorney in South Carolina for your best opportunity to obtain fair compensation.

Car Accident Litigation in SC

The Hawkins Law Firm is dedicated to meeting the needs of our clients. From the initial consultation to receiving your settlement check, we’ll stand by your side every step of the way. Our loyal staff makes filing a personal injury claim with South Carolina’s civil courts easy. With offices in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Charleston we have a regional reach throughout South Carolina.

A car accident can change your life. Regain some of what you lost with legal help from the Hawkins Law Firm. Call 888-HAWKLAW to set up your free consultation* today.