As personal injury lawyers, we are aware of the statutes concerning auto accidents. Drivers and passengers who have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina will want to get familiar with the various state laws and car insurance requirements that could affect any settlement or lawsuit.
South Carolina Car Accident Laws
If you end up filing a lawsuit after a car accident in South Carolina — even if you’re only making an insurance claim for the time being — there are a few state laws to keep in mind, beginning with the time limit for getting started (this kind of law is called a “statute of limitations”).
The relevant deadlines for filing a car accident lawsuit in South Carolina are:
three years after the accident for filing a personal injury lawsuit
three years after the accident for filing a lawsuit for property damage (i.e. damage to a vehicle)
So, what if you don’t get your lawsuit filed before the three-year window closes? It’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear your case. So it’s critical to pay attention to the filing deadline, even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
South Carolina Insurance Requirements
Like most states, South Carolina requires drivers to carry adequate car insurance coverage on any vehicle owned and operated in the state. The following minimum coverage is mandatory:
$25,000 for the injury or death of a single person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.)
$50,000 total for a single accident, and
$25,000 for any vehicle or property damage you cause as a result of the accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage is also a requirement for any car insurance policy issued in South Carolina. Car insurance carriers are required to offer under insured motorist coverage for any policy sold in South Carolina, but consumers are free to reject that option.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in South Carolina
You may not need to hire a lawyer for every variety of car accident claim. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the car accident, and you suffered only minor injuries, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself as long as you’re comfortable with the process.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the extent or the costs of your medical treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (and contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with car accidents. Remember the personal injury lawyers at Clekis Law Firm will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to South Carolina civil court.