Myrtle Beach is a beloved tourist spot in South Carolina, attracting visitors worldwide to its beautiful beaches, amusement parks, and other sights. However, like any bustling area with a high traffic volume, the roads in Myrtle Beach can be dangerous, particularly during peak tourist season. From investigating the accident and negotiating with insurance companies to filing a lawsuit and representing your best interests, a Myrtle Beach car accident attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm is invaluable in ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
A top-rated Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer with our firm will have decades of experience helping people maximize their compensation so they can focus on recovery. You do not have to wait to get our years of dedication working for you. Contact our office for a 100% free consultation today.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Myrtle Beach
A report by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety revealed that traffic collisions in the state are a serious issue. Car accidents can occur for a multitude of reasons. In the Myrtle Beach area, some of the most prevalent causes of these accidents include:
Distracted driving has emerged as one of the primary reasons for car accidents in Myrtle Beach. This encompasses many activities, such as texting or talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the radio, or anything else that takes the driver’s focus away from driving safely.
Excessive speed is another frequent contributing factor to car accidents. Many drivers often exceed the posted speed limits, particularly on highways, which can lead to severe and even fatal accidents due to the increased force of an impact at high speeds.
Driving Under the Influence
Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only a serious criminal offense but can also result in deadly accidents. In South Carolina, the year 2020 saw 287 fatalities caused by alcohol-related crashes, highlighting the gravity of this issue.
Reckless driving behaviors, such as running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and aggressive lane changes, can also lead to accidents. These actions endanger the drivers who engage in them and put other road users at significant risk.
By being aware of these common causes of car accidents in Myrtle Beach and taking steps to prevent them, residents and visitors can contribute to making the roads safer.
Liability in Myrtle Beach Car Accidents
Figuring out who is at fault in your Myrtle Beach car accident is essential. The liable party will be expected to compensate you for your damages in full. However, you might be surprised to learn that multiple parties could share responsibility for your injuries.
For example, you may be anxious to take action against the driver that hit you. However, unless the motorist was operating their vehicle unsafely or negligently, other parties could be liable. For instance, perhaps the negligent driver that hit you had to suddenly swerve to avoid an improperly secured road construction zone.
In addition to negligent driving and hazardous road conditions, there is also a strong possibility auto part malfunctions contributed to your accident. If this is the case, auto parts designers, manufacturers, and anyone else involved in the chain of distribution of these parts could be partly to blame for your damages. Only a comprehensive investigation into the cause of your crash will uncover the truth.
South Carolina Car Accident Laws
There are multiple car accident laws in South Carolina that could have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Understanding these laws is essential if you hope to prepare for the insurance negotiations and trial ahead. Here are some of the most common and notable car accident laws you need to know:
Statute of Limitations
Many car accident victims wind up having to bring their case to trial when the liable party refuses to settle outside of court or insurance policies are not enough to fully meet their needs. The South Carolina personal injury statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a lawsuit in civil court. According to the law, you have a maximum of three years from the date of the accident to get your lawsuit filed.
Unfortunately, when your claim is not filed in time, you lose out on the opportunity to have your case heard before a judge and jury. Working with a car accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach, SC may be the best way to protect yourself from laws that could have an adverse impact on the outcome of your case. We will do everything possible to ensure your claim is filed before the statute of limitations deadline so you can get the most out of your claim.
Fault Insurance Rules
Understanding how insurance claims are handled is crucial, as filing a claim with the insurance company is one of the most common ways to recover financial compensation for your damages after a car accident. South Carolina is a fault state. In no-fault states, you file a claim against your personal auto insurance policy, but in fault states, the liable party is expected to pay.
This means when you are ready to move forward with the car accident insurance claims process, you will initiate a claim against the liable party’s insurance policy. If the at-fault driver or other liable party has insurance coverage, you could obtain compensation for a portion of your medical expenses and personal property damages. However, in most cases, this will not be enough to cover the totality of your damages.
Sharing Fault for the Accident
In some states, if you are partially responsible for causing an accident, you are prohibited from being awarded a settlement according to pure contributory negligence laws. In other states, sharing liability will not prevent you from recovering compensation, even if you are 99% to blame. However, South Carolina follows modified comparative negligence laws.
You can still receive a settlement for your damages if you are partially at fault, but only if your portion of liability is not greater than the 50% threshold. You should also expect your settlement to be reduced. Consider your percentage of culpability when wondering how much will be deducted from your payout.
For example, if you did not have your seatbelt on when you were hit by a drunk driver, you might be found 5% at fault for your injuries. If you were awarded a sum of $5 million for a permanent disability, you would not collect the full $5 million. Instead, 5% would be deducted from your settlement, and you would have a total award valued at $4.75 million with a $250,000 loss.
Everything You Need to Know About Myrtle Beach Car Accident Insurance Claims
Pursuing a car accident insurance claim is a comment after a car accident. After all, auto insurance coverage is designed to help cover some of the costs associated with a collision. However, dealing with the insurance company is often far more challenging than many accident victims realize.
South Carolina Auto Insurance Requirements
Under South Carolina law, all motorists are required to carry auto insurance coverage. However, this coverage is not at all extensive. Motorists are expected to carry:
- $25,000 for property damage expenses
- $25,000 per person for medical expenses
- $50,000 per accident for medical expenses
Drivers are not required to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, gap insurance, comprehensive, collision, rental car coverage, or any other type of auto insurance. If the driver that hit you only carries the minimum amount required by law, you may have residual damages insurance does not pay for. Keep in mind insurance only pays for specific types of cover losses, so you may have remaining damages even if you do obtain an insurance settlement.
Insurance Adjuster Tactics
The insurance company is supposed to protect you financially after being involved in a life-shattering car accident. Unfortunately, the insurance company rarely, if ever, prioritizes the claimant’s needs. The insurance company cares about one thing: its profits.
Insurance companies have been known to take advantage of claimants. That is why bad faith insurance claims exist– to ensure insurance companies are held accountable when they do not handle claims as they are legally required to according to the policy terms. Some insurance adjusters go to great lengths to reduce claimant settlements and deny claims altogether.
We have seen cases of insurance adjusters misrepresenting the terms of the policy, refusing to investigate investigations or return phone calls or emails, and even placing blame on the injury victim for the accident. Insurance adjusters may also attempt to manipulate any statement you give them or make insultingly low settlement offers to trick you into accepting less than you are entitled to. Your car accident lawyer will protect you from the insurance company and demand the fair settlement you deserve.
More on Covered Losses
Many car accident survivors find themselves anxious to file accident claims because they believe an insurance settlement will cover their damages quickly. However, this is rarely the case. The insurance company will only pay out what they are legally required to, and even then, your car accident attorney may need to fight to get the most out of your claim.
South Carolina law only requires motorists to carry bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. This means you can be awarded compensation for your medical bills and vehicle repair costs. However, insurance does not compensate injury victims for any other types of economic or non-economic damages.
Compensation for Myrtle Beach Car Accident Victims
Car accident victims in Myrtle Beach deserve fair compensation for their damages and suffering. According to South Carolina tort laws, you have the right to be made whole. Every single way your life has been affected by the accident should be taken into consideration when your personal injury attorney calculates the value of your claim.
You have the right to be reimbursed for your economic damages and non-economic damages. Your economic damages are strictly monetary. Your non-economic damages are the ones that have significantly affected your emotional state, lifestyle, and well-being.
One of the most important costs we are going to get covered is your medical expenses. Even less severe injuries can wind up being extremely costly due to the astronomical cost of healthcare in the United States. You do not want to get stuck covering even one cent of your medical bills, including:
- Diagnostic testing phase
- The costs of hiring home healthcare providers
- Medical home accommodations
- Mental health counseling
- Reconstructive or plastic surgery
- Medical treatment
- Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications
- Medical equipment and devices
- Physical and occupational therapies
Some of your medical expenses may be covered through your insurance claim. However, it may not be enough to cover the total value of your healthcare costs. For that reason, you should always prepare to bring your car accident case to trial.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is an entirely subjective type of loss. The way each car accident victim’s life is affected by the accident will vary widely. Your car accident lawyer will need to carefully evaluate the impact of your emotional trauma, physical pain, and diminished quality of life to determine how much your pain and suffering or non-economic damages are worth.
Although pain and suffering and other non-economic damages, such as fear, indignity, loss of consortium, and disfigurement or skin scarring do not have a financial value, their impact on your life may be considerable. We will utilize the multiplier and per diem methods to ensure we are accurately calculating the value of your non-economic damages. You can rely on your car accident lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm to ensure you are awarded fairly for these intangible losses.
Arguably one of the most impactful types of losses, you have the right to be fully repaid for your loss of income. Missing even one paycheck could be catastrophic for your family. Taking time off of work may be necessary depending on the extent of your injuries and damages, so recovering your lost wages will be crucial if you hope to avoid financial ruin.
However, you are entitled to more than just the income you lost from taking time off work. If you no longer qualify for employee benefits, such as retirement savings contribution, health insurance coverage, paid leave, and other benefits, these can be recouped in your personal injury lawsuit. Your loss of future potential earnings will also be considered as we determine the value of your damages.
Do not be surprised if punitive damages are not awarded in your case. Also, punitive damages could substantially increase your settlement, they are only awarded as a way of further punishing the defendant for behavior that could be considered intentionally malicious, egregious, or grossly negligent. Court systems will only award punitive damages when they find it necessary to deter the public from engaging in similar wrongful acts.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident in Myrtle Beach, following specific steps to safeguard yourself and your legal rights is crucial.
Check for Injuries
The first and foremost priority in any car accident is to assess the well-being of all parties involved. Check yourself and others for any potential injuries. If necessary, provide first aid or assistance to those in need.
Call for Help
If any injuries are identified, immediately call 911 or the local police. Report the accident and request emergency medical assistance. Even in cases where no injuries are apparent, it is still important to notify the police and have them document the incident.
Once the immediate safety concerns have been addressed, exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. This should include names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, insurance details, and the make and model of all involved vehicles. Having this information will be crucial for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.
Take the time to carefully document the accident scene. Take photographs of the involved vehicles, the surrounding area, any damage sustained, skid marks, and other relevant details. This visual evidence can be invaluable when establishing the facts of the accident and supporting any legal claims that may arise.
Contact Your Insurance Company
After you have gathered the necessary information and evidence, promptly contact your insurance company. Or you can have your attorney report the accident. This will initiate the claims process and ensure that your insurer is aware of the situation from the outset.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you do not initially feel injured, seeking medical attention as soon as possible following the accident is crucial. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal damage, may not present symptoms immediately but could have long-term consequences if left untreated. By obtaining a professional medical evaluation, you can identify and address any potential issues and strengthen any claims related to injury or loss.
How to Prove Liability
Proving liability in a car accident case is crucial for recovering damages. To establish liability, it is necessary to demonstrate that one or more parties involved were negligent, meaning they failed to exercise reasonable care, ultimately leading to the accident. There are several ways to prove liability, and gathering evidence is key to building a strong case.
One essential piece of evidence is the police report, which typically provides valuable information regarding the cause of the accident, the drivers involved, and any witnesses. Additionally, witness statements can be invaluable in substantiating the circumstances of the accident, as they can provide detailed accounts of what they saw and heard during the incident. These statements can corroborate other evidence and help establish a clear picture of the events leading to the collision.
Do Expert Witnesses Matter?
Expert witnesses and physical evidence can also significantly contribute to proving liability. Experts, such as accident reconstructionists, can offer professional insight into how the accident occurred based on the available evidence. Physical evidence, including vehicle damage, skid marks, and debris, can help determine the sequence of events and the factors that contributed to the accident.
A strong liability case can be built by thoroughly examining and presenting these various types of evidence. This will increase your chances of recovering damages in your claim. Our team will be responsible for building a compelling case against the at-fault parties.
How an Attorney Can Help
In the aftermath of a car accident in Myrtle Beach, consulting with an experienced attorney who can provide invaluable assistance during this difficult time is highly recommended. A car accident attorney in Myrtle Beach at Shelly Leeke Law Firm can offer professional guidance and support, protecting your rights and interests. A Myrtle Beach car accident lawyer’s critical responsibilities include investigating the accident and gathering evidence and information to build a solid case for liability and damages.
Additionally, we can act as a mediator when negotiating with insurance companies. Insurance providers may attempt to offer you a settlement that is lower than what you rightfully deserve. Your Myrtle Beach car accident lawyer can use their expertise to negotiate on your behalf, striving to secure fair compensation for your damages.
If negotiations with insurance companies do not yield satisfactory results, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and represent you in court. Throughout the process, an attorney’s primary responsibility is representing your best interests, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for damages sustained, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. By working closely with an experienced attorney, you can navigate the complex legal landscape with confidence and a greater likelihood of a favorable outcome.
Contact Shelly Leeke Law Firm for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC
By working with a Myrtle Beach car accident attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm, you can be confident that your rights and interests will be protected. Our team’s knowledge and experience in handling such cases can make all the difference in achieving a favorable outcome. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your case.