Mount Pleasant, SC Car Accident Lawyer

Car accidents happen almost every day, and the people involved are often badly hurt. Drivers responsible for causing accidents should be held responsible, and our lawyers can help you get compensation and justice.

Car accidents are common, and factors like traffic violations, distractions on the road, and intoxication come up frequently. Whom you include in the case depends on how it happened. You might include other drivers, multiple drivers, or even the driver’s employer. After the accident, you should immediately call for help, including the police. Some accidents are required to be reported to the authorities by law. You can begin gathering evidence almost immediately. Photos of the scene, footage from dashcams, witness testimony, and more can help us prove your claims in court. Your first step forward is to hire an attorney and get started on drafting a formal complaint. Among the many details in the complaint should be details about damages. Your damages may be significant if your accident is serious. It is wise to start soon, as you have a limited time to file your claims.

Call (803) 219-4906 and ask our car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a free case review to get started.

How Car Accidents Often Occur Around the Area of Mount Pleasant, SC

Mount Pleasant is right outside Charleston, and the town sees its fair share of traffic. Many drivers passing through Mount Peasant on their way to or from Charleston might cause accidents on Highway 17, a major arterial highway running through town. Tourists visiting Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms might also cause collisions, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area.

Traffic violations are very common. It is probably fair to say that most of us have committed a traffic violation of some kind at some point in our lives. Things like running a stop sign, not signaling a turn, or speeding might seem like no big deal, but they can very easily cause severe accidents. If the other driver committed a traffic violation, they might be responsible for the crash.

Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents and has become a huge problem across the country. As technology has advanced, tablets, phones, GPS devices, and other communication tools are becoming more commonplace in our vehicles. Unfortunately, many drivers become too distracted behind the wheel and crash into other drivers.

Perhaps one of the more unfortunate causes of car accidents is driver intoxication. Alcohol and drugs should never be combined with driving. Unfortunately, many drivers get behind the wheel after a few too many drinks or after consuming intoxicating substances. Our car accident attorneys can ask the authorities whether they measured the other driver’s blood alcohol concentration, which might be valuable evidence in your lawsuit.

Who You Should Include in a Lawsuit for a Car Accident in Mount Pleasant, SC

Including the right people in your lawsuit is crucial to getting fair compensation. Some car accidents are somewhat straightforward, and determining which drivers should be named in your case might be easier. However, some accidents are more complicated and might involve numerous other drivers who may or may not be responsible or even partially responsible for the accident. In such cases, your lawyer can help you figure out who to include in your case.

Many auto accidents involve only two vehicles. These accidents may be a bit easier to investigate, and the other driver is often named in a subsequent lawsuit. While determining who to name in a lawsuit is often easy, it can quickly become difficult if the other driver flees the scene in a hit-and-run. If that happens to you, call the police immediately so they can investigate and track down the driver.

Some accidents involve multiple vehicles, and figuring out who is responsible and who is an injured victim can be a challenge. We might sue one or several drivers. As the case goes on, drivers might be added to or removed from the case as more evidence comes to light.

Depending on who the other driver is, we might be able to include their employer in the lawsuit. The driver’s employer may be sued if the driver was on the job during the accident. This is a common scenario when the other driver drives a taxi, delivery vehicle, or bus. The employer may be held vicariously liable if the driver negligently caused the accident while in furtherance of their normal duties.

Reporting Your Car Accident to the Police in Mount Pleasant, SC

After an accident, one of the first things you should do is call for help. This includes contacting the police or making sure the 911 dispatcher sends law enforcement officials to the accident scene. Unfortunately, some drivers are reluctant to get the police involved. Maybe the other driver pressures you into keeping the police out of it because they know they might get into serious trouble. Remember, if you choose not to report an accident, you might end up in trouble yourself.

According to S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1270, certain accidents must be reported to the authorities as a matter of law. If your car accident involved physical injuries or death or amounted to at least $1,000 in property damage, you must report it to the police within 15 days if it was not already investigated. It might be difficult to tell immediately after an accident if it must be reported. As such, it is a smart idea to report all car accidents to the police, even if they are minor and damages are minimal.

Reporting the accident creates an official record of the event we might need later. Police records about accidents are often crucial in insurance claims, and police reports may be used as guides to find evidence the police turned up in their investigation.

How to Gather Evidence to Support Your Mount Pleasant, SC Car Accident Case

We need to gather evidence before proving your claims or even filing the case. Evidence might come from almost anywhere as long as it is relevant to your claims and meets the rigid requirements set out in the South Carolina Rules of Evidence.

A great way to start our hunt for evidence is to check the police report. Depending on your accident, the police might have investigated and issued a written report on their findings. In more severe cases involving serious bodily harm or death, investigations are likely to be more thorough. While police reports are considered inadmissible as evidence because they are hearsay, we can still use them as a guide to find admissible evidence.

Another common source of evidence is photographs. It is very common for drivers involved in car accidents to take pictures afterward. They might take photos of the damaged vehicles, the surrounding area, people at the scene, their injuries, and more. These photos are often used in insurance claims but also make for excellent evidence in the courtroom.

It is also important that you speak to other people at the accident if you are able. For example, if another driver stopped to help or a pedestrian passed by, they might provide valuable testimony as witnesses. If you did not get anyone’s name or contact information, it might be in the police report if the police spoke to any witnesses.

Videos also make for great evidence. We live in the digital age now, and security cameras are practically everywhere, even inside some cars. Perhaps a security camera at a nearby business or someone’s house recorded the accident. Maybe you had a dashcam in your vehicle. It is important that we get this footage fast, as it might be deleted.

Filing the Complaint to Begin a Car Accident Case in Mount Pleasant, SC

Many people know that they can file a lawsuit to seek justice when their rights have been violated. However, many people do not know how to start a lawsuit. Lawsuits begin with a complaint. This is a formal legal document that must meet strict requirements set by the court. This includes requirements related to the contents of the complaint as well as formatting.

We need to include as much information about your car accident as possible. When drafting a complaint, specificity is key. If the details are too vague or insufficient to explain your claim accurately, the court may dismiss your case. We need details about how and where the accident happened, who was involved, and your damages.

We also need evidence supporting your claims in the complaint. Do not worry, we do not need all our evidence when we file the complaint. However, we need enough evidence to show the court that your cause of action is valid and warrants a trial. If necessary, more evidence may be collected as we continue preparing your case.

It is crucial that you have a lawyer help you draft the complaint. This document not only kick-starts your case but may set the tone for all proceedings to follow.

Possible Damages You Might Recover in a Mount Pleasant, SC Car Accident Case

Your damages should represent everything you have lost, the pain you have endured, and all the ways in which the car accident has negatively affected your life. For some, this can represent enormous financial compensation. Go over all your damages with a lawyer to make sure nothing is overlooked.

Non-Economic Damages

Some damages are hard to assign a dollar value to because they are so subjective. Non-economic damages are usually based on painful but subjective personal experiences related to your car accident. These damages are often summed up as “pain and suffering,” but there is so much more to it than that.

You may claim damages for things like humiliation or damage to your reputation. If something about the accident was especially embarrassing, you may claim humiliation among your damages. Similarly, if the defendant tries to convince everyone in your community that you caused the accident when, in reality, they did, you might claim damage to your reputation.

You should also consider your psychological turmoil and distress. Auto accidents can be traumatic experiences, especially when drivers are very badly hurt. The accident might leave you with psychological scars that deserve compensation.

What about the rest of your life? If the accident left you with injuries that diminish your quality of life, you may claim significant non-economic damages for the loss of enjoyment of your life. For example, suppose someone who is a marathon runner is in a bad car accident and loses a foot. That person might no longer be able to continue running, and their quality of life may worsen.

Economic Damages

Your economic damages are somewhat more straightforward because they are measured in dollars and cents rather than by some subjective metric.

First, we should consider the cost of your car and other personal property. Your vehicle might have been badly damaged or totaled. Repairs or a replacement might be very expensive. Also, if you lost personal belongings in the accident, they should also be claimed.

Perhaps the biggest contributor to your damages calculations is your hospital bills. Medical care is famous for being expensive, even for those with health insurance. The more severe your injuries are, the more medical care you likely need, and the more money you have to spend on hospital bills. These costs should be included in your overall damages.

If your injuries prevent you from working for a while or indefinitely, you should claim the value of your lost income. If you cannot return to work for a long time, these damages might be quite high.

When is the Right Time to File Your Car Accident Case in Mount Pleasant, SC?

We have a narrow window of time to file your court claims. According to the statute of limitations under S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5), we have 3 years from the day of the accident to file your case. This is a very short amount of time, as it often takes months or longer to fully prepare a case. The longer you wait, the more of a time crunch we will have to work under.

In very specific cases, we might have the statute of limitations tolled for legal disabilities, according to § 15-3-40. Under the law, a legal disability may include people who were minors when the car accident occurred and people who were under mental disabilities or conditions that prevent them from understanding their rights. In such cases, the limitations period would not begin until the disability is removed.

Call Our Car Accident Lawyers in Mount Pleasant, SC for Legal Support Now

Call (803) 219-4906 and ask our car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a free case review to get started.