Most Americans will be involved in at least one car accident during their lifetime. If you are lucky, it will only be a minor fender bender, and you will walk away with no lasting damage. However, every year millions of people are injured seriously enough to require medical attention.
Despite these numbers, nobody is ever really prepared for a crash to occur. A serious car accident can be a life-shattering experience from which it can be difficult to recover. The best tool at your disposal is to hire an experienced attorney. The Mount Pleasant car accident lawyers at Miller, Dawson, Sigal & Ward can help put the pieces back together after a crash.
Determining Who Is at Fault
When attempting to recover compensation after an accident, you must first determine who is at fault. You cannot file an insurance claim or a lawsuit until you know against whom you will be filing these claims.
In some car accidents, assigning fault is pretty straightforward. However, other times it can be far more complicated.
How a Mount Pleasant Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Build a Strong Case
One of the first things a car accident attorney in Mount Pleasant will do after an accident is to help identify all liable parties. Your lawyer will begin an inquiry into your accident with the aim of determining liability and gathering evidence to build your case for compensation. They will visit the scene, speak with witnesses and experts, and review documents related to the crash.
Once they have concluded their investigation into your accident, your lawyer will evaluate your damages and make calculations regarding the full value of your claim. They will then submit all necessary paperwork for filing a claim with an insurance company or filing a lawsuit with the court.
If filing a lawsuit, your attorney will then begin the pre-trial process, and once that is complete, they will argue your case at trial. Throughout the entire process, your attorney will continuously attempt to negotiate a settlement deal with legal counsel for the opposing party. If an agreement can be reached, you will receive your compensation and not have to pursue your case further.
Comparative Negligence Laws in South Carolina
South Carolina is a fault state when it comes to car accidents. That means that if you were involved in a collision where another party was at fault, you can attempt to recover compensation from the liable party. However, South Carolina also employs comparative negligence, which means that more than one party can share the fault.
If it is determined that you share in the responsibility for an accident, the amount of compensation you can recover will be reduced accordingly. If you are determined to be 40% responsible for an accident, the amount you can receive will be 40% less than the full value of your damages.
If you were more than 50% responsible for an accident, you can not recover any compensation from another liable party. In fact, they will likely make a claim against you for damages.
Assessing Your Car Accident Damages
Determining which damages you are eligible to receive and their full value is one of the most complicated parts of recovering compensation. Calculating some damages is easy. Medical expenses and property damage come with precise dollar figures assigned. However, other damages can be much less straightforward.
Determining how much money you will lose if you suffer an injury that prohibits you from returning to your former occupation can be very complex. It can also be difficult to understand if you qualify for non-economic losses, like mental anguish.
Additionally, determining the true value of a non-economic loss is an impossible feat as you are attempting to replace the irreplaceable. Amounts awarded for these losses tend to be very subjective. Fortunately, an experienced car accident lawyer will be well versed in determining damages and assigning value based on precedent.
The True Cost of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Mount Pleasant
While people often worry about the cost of hiring a lawyer, when it comes to personal injury cases, the far greater concern should be the cost of choosing to represent yourself. Hiring a car accident lawyer is a no-risk decision. These types of attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means that they only get paid if you receive compensation.
You will never pay a single cent out of your own pocket. Instead, your Mount Pleasant car accident attorney will take their fee as a percentage of your final compensation package, should you receive one. While that amount may end up being quite significant, it will most likely still be worth it.
Attempting to recover fair compensation on your own is incredibly difficult. There is a reason that even lawyers tend to hire other lawyers when dealing with a personal legal issue. The amount you receive if representing yourself will likely be so insufficient that even after paying a lawyer’s fee, you would have walked home with far more money with legal representation.
South Carolina’s Personal Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
Car accident victims have three years from the date of their injury under South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-3-530 to file a lawsuit against the liable party. Three years may seem like a long time, but it can pass quickly. Additionally, there are some cases where special factors will reduce the amount of time you have to file. It is always best to get started as soon as possible.
By hiring a car accident lawyer shortly after your crash, you can assure that you meet all deadlines and put yourself in the best possible position to recover fair compensation.
Working quickly has the added benefit of ensuring that evidence is gathered before anything can happen to it. Testimony from witnesses will also be far more reliable when given close to the time of the accident.
Protect Yourself Against Insurance Companies
There is another reason to hire a car accident attorney in Mount Pleasant quickly after an accident. When an insurance company knows that it will likely have to pay out a claim, they tend to move fast to minimize the amount they will have to pay.
One thing they often do is to attempt to approach accident victims before they have hired a lawyer and offer them a settlement deal worth only a fraction of the true value of their claim. The hope is that the accident victim will not realize how much their damages will truly cost them and will take the money as a welcome relief against the immediate costs they face.
By hiring an attorney, you can force the insurance company to go through them. They will not be able to speak with you directly. Instead, they will approach your lawyer with any questions or settlement offers. Your lawyer will be able to assess the deal against the full value of your claim and advise you on whether or not it is fair.
Finding the Right Mount Pleasant Car Accident Lawyer for You
There are two main things you should look for when hiring a lawyer to take your case. First, you will want to find a law firm with a proven track record of recovering fair compensation for its clients. Second, you will want to make sure you are hiring an attorney with whom you feel comfortable and that you can trust.
After a serious accident, recovering adequate compensation is essential to retaking control of your life. You want to rest assured that your future is in the best hands.
Contact the Mount Pleasant car accident lawyers at Miller, Dawson, Sigal & Ward to schedule a free case evaluation today. We will review your case and advise you of your options, with no obligation to retain our services. Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.