Charleston Car Accident Law Firm

Representing the Rights of Car Accident Victims in Charleston and the Surrounding Areas

Every year, millions of American citizens are involved in car accidents. Thousands die. Some accidents cannot be avoided, but most wrecks are preventable. These accidents are caused by people who do not follow the law and act negligently, causing the accident.

In 2010, there were 3,252 deaths in South Carolina due to all injury, intentional and unintentional. The overall death rate was 70.3 people per 100,000 in population.

An additional 88,937 persons suffered injuries in motor vehicle crashes.

In 2010, there were 442,973 non-fatal injuries as a result of car accidents (hospitalization and emergency department visits) in SC with a rate of 957.7/10,000 population.

When faced with an injury caused by a car accident, it is very important to consult with a skilled North Charleston car accident attorney that can help you fight for your justice and get the compensation you deserve.


Charleston car wrecks can be attributed to a wide variety of causes. The Charleston car accident law firm of The Hartman Law Firm, LLC frequently investigate wrecks with causes that include:

Distracted driving – Many local counties and jurisdictions have already passed laws banning texting while driving or talking on a cell phone (without speakerphone) behind the wheel.

Driver impairment – More than 350 fatal auto wrecks in South Carolina in 2010 were alcohol-related, according to MADD. Other forms of intoxication that can play a role include drugs, illegal or over-the-counter, fatigue, and illness.

Defective car parts – cars can have defects too, case in point, defective seat belts, stuck accelerator controls, faulty wiring, misaligned wheels, tire blowouts and brake failures, can all contribute to car crashes.

Poor road conditions – Uneven roads, potholes, and other conditions can cause automobile wrecks and injuries to motorists. Other conditions include unknown obstacles or foreign substances on the road. These conditions produce abrupt slides or overcorrecting of the vehicle.

Speeding – Speeding can contribute to collisions and every driver must consider weather and road conditions, traffic, or the speed of other drivers to prevent car crashes.

Inadequate road design – There are roads that lack proper design, lacking in visibility, poor surface condition, or inadequate marking or signage to promote safety.

Our Car Accident Lawyers in Charleston Help People Hurt In Car Collisions

Car collisions lead to all sorts of injuries. Some collisions cause only minor bumps, bruises or soreness. However, other collisions can cause devastating and life-changing damage in just a few seconds.

At The Hartman Law Firm, LLC our auto collision firm has helped people who have suffered any number of injuries, including:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – A TBI can result from trauma associated with impact or from striking an object inside the car such as the steering wheel.

Spinal cord injury – Spinal cord injuries are associated with paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia) and hemiplegia.

Neck injuries – Most injuries in Charleston-area automobile collisions result from rear-end collisions. Neck injuries are a common injury in these accidents. The head whips forward and back in the classic whiplash movement. Injuries can be permanent, depending on the severity of the impact.

Broken bones –Car wreck victims often suffer broken bones to the arms, legs, knees and wrists. The injury typically occurs when the victim braces with that part of their body immediately prior to impact. Some breaks can require surgery. It may also require weeks or months to properly heal.

Amputation – Sometimes parts of a victim’s body are fully or partially severed as a result of the collision. Such injuries can require amputation.

What Are Some Typical Injuries Seen in a Car Accident?

Car accidents often involve powerful physical forces that are capable of causing serious damage to the human body. This is true even in cases in which vehicle occupants are buckled in and the vehicle in which they were riding was equipped with modern safety features such as multiple airbags. Many people involved in severe accidents are left with life-changing injuries that will result in substantial economic and non-economic losses, making it critical for them to retain an attorney that can help make sure they obtain the compensation to which they are legally entitled.

Here are some of the more common injuries that people can sustain in a car accident.


Individuals who are involved in car accidents often sustain fractures, which are also called broken bones. People can break arms, legs, ribs, hips, or even the bones in their face or their head, depending on how exactly an accident took place. Fractures are extremely painful, can result in disfigurement, and may require surgery to treat. In many cases, people who sustain them miss weeks or months of work and may require the immobilization of a body part for a significant period of time. Even less serious broken bones may take a significant period of time to heal and result in long-term complications.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries, often referred to as “TBIs,” occur when a person’s head is bumped or jolted with force sufficient to result in a disruption of normal brain function. These injuries often occur in car accidents in which a person’s heads slams against the dashboard or steering wheel or he or she is ejected from the vehicle. In instances in which the head snaps back and forth on the neck hard enough to rattle the brain within the skull, a TBI can occur even if the head does not come into contact with another object.

TBIs are capable of causing extremely serious complications, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Problems concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light or sounds
  • Problems with communication
  • Difficult problem solving

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries occur when physical trauma damages the spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. They can be categorized into two broad categories, which are as follows:

  • Incomplete – A spinal cord injury is characterized as “incomplete” when the victim retains some feeling or function below the site of the injury
  • Complete – In an incomplete spinal cord injury, victims have no sensation or function below the site of the injury

Spinal cord injuries often result in significant long-term problems and victims who are paralyzed often require a lifetime of medical treatment and care. As a result, it is essential for spinal cord injury victims to make sure their rights are protected by retaining an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer.


In many car accidents, one or more of the vehicles involved catches fire during or immediately after the accident, potentially causing extremely serious burns to the people inside them. Burns can be extremely painful, require long-term medical treatment, and leave victims with scarring and disfigurement that can last a lifetime.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Car accidents are common occurrences in Charleston, and those who are involved often come away feeling more stressed and confused than in charge of the situation. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that many of us will eventually be involved in a car accident, so it is important to know how to protect your rights after an accident so that you can maximize your chances of recovering compensation.

Become a better-prepared driver by learning these after-an-accident basics.

Car accidents can range from slight fender benders to full-on catastrophes, but no matter what kind of accident you’ve been involved in, it’s important to put safety first. If anyone has been seriously hurt in the accident, call 911 immediately.

After establishing primary safety, there are several important steps that you should take:

  • If any property damage has occurred, the drivers involved must stop their vehicles at the crash scene – moving to as safe a location as possible – and must provide each other with contact information and proof of car insurance. It’s important not to share more information than is necessary with other parties – an innocent “I’m sorry” now can later be construed as an admission of fault.
  • After getting safely out of traffic, report the accident to law enforcement. An officer will meet you at the scene, will write up an accident report, and, if applicable, will issue tickets for any driving violations. The accident report and any tickets issued can be instrumental in determining fault as your claim moves forward.
  • Once the authorities have been notified, obtain statements (written if possible) and contact information from any witnesses who can help corroborate your account of the accident.
  • Take photographic evidence of the accident site, including all property damage, the scene of the accident, and any injuries incurred. This can provide crucial information for establishing liability.
  • Take written notes of how the accident happened and exactly what transpired. Accidents are very upsetting, and it’s imperative that you concisely capture the incident while it’s still fresh in your memory.
  • Even if you don’t think you were hurt in the accident, see a doctor and get checked out as soon as you can. Soft tissue, neck, and spinal injuries can be slow to appear, and waiting to get a doctor’s evaluation can ultimately be damaging to your claim.

It’s a lot to take in, but it is in your best interest to know what to do if you are involved in a car accident.

Finally, contact an experienced Charleston car accident attorney. Car accidents can result in complicated insurance claims; and our car accident lawyers have the experience, expertise, and commitment to help you get the compensation that you deserve.

How Much Money Will I Get After My Car Accident?

Studies show that insurance companies pay, on average, significantly more (40% conservatively) to people when they are represented by a car accident lawyer. However, every crash has its specific set of facts that help determine value. How much compensation you receive can be based on a number of factors.

In general, victims of car accidents can receive funds to cover:

*Medical bills  *Hospital expenses  *Rehabilitation  *Lost wages  *Lost earning capacity  *Property damage  *Disfigurement  *Future medical expenses  *Pain and suffering

How much you get in a car accident settlement will totally depend on the circumstances of the accident. It is also best to call an attorney before speaking to an insurance company, yours or theirs. Insurance companies record calls for a reason. They will twist what you say in order to pay you less. So before you call your insurance company and make any statement, call a car accident law firm first.

Can Car Accidents Cause Spine Problems?

In short, yes.

The spine is made up of 33 bones. If you think of them like a stack of Legos, that is how the spine is arranged. Each bone is in its own place and together, they support the body. There are muscles, tendons and ligaments around the bones to support them. In between each of the spinal bones are intervertebral discs. These discs are filled with a gel-type substance and keep the bones from rubbing on each other. With all those parts, each one is at risk for being injured in an accident.

Even the smallest accident can disrupt the spine and it’s functions.

What kind of spine problems can be caused by a car accident?

Discogenic pain is the overall term for spine pain. It is pain that is caused by the discs of the spine. The discs of the spine are the round pieces of cartilage that act as cushions between each spinal bone. If these discs are disruptive, the pain can be unbearable. It affects a persons ability to walk, sit, sleep, bend over and do everyday tasks.

The top back injuries seen after a car accident are:

  • Whiplash
  • Spine Fractures
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Disc Herniation

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Symptoms of Whiplash include

  • Pain and stiffness
  • Inability to turn your head because of pain and/or stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Tingling or numbness in the neck, upper back, one or both arms
  • Dizziness

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash, also known as hyperflexion or hyperextension, occurs when the shoulders, neck, and spine are suddenly whipped past their limits. The forces involved in a collision that causes whiplash can cause damage to the spine, disks within the spine, muscles, ligaments, nerves and surrounding neck tissue. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of whiplash is rear-end collisions in which the driver of the front vehicle experiences the unexpected impact.

When Does Whiplash Start?

Whiplash can manifest immediately or even up to a few months following the injury. Either way, be sure you see a doctor right away after an accident. Even if you are not experiencing pain right away, that does not mean you do not have injuries. Sometimes there is a delayed response to pain. The most common reason for this delayed response to pain is your own body’s “flight or fight” mechanism.

How is Whiplash Treated?

Treatment for whiplash depends greatly on the severity of the injury. The primary objective of treatment is to manage pain and promote recovery, including returning to a normal range of motion and returning to normal levels of activity.

  1. Rest
  2. Hot and cold treatment, such as ice packs and heating pads.
  3. Over the counter pain medications
  4. Prescription pain relief medications
  5. Muscle relaxants
  6. Injections of localized pain relieving medicines, such as lidocaine (Xylocaine)
  7. Foam neck collars
  8. Neck exercises
    • Turning your head left and right
    • Tilting your head from side to side
    • Bending your head forward and backward
    • Shrugging or rolling your shoulders
  9. Physical therapy
  10. Nontraditional alternatives
    1. Chiropractic manipulation of the affected joints
    2. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
    3. Therapeutic massage
    4. Acupuncture or accupressure
    5. Radiofrequency neurotomy
  11. Topical medications
    • Capsaicin cream
    • Homeopathic anti-inflammatory ointment

What is a Spine Fracture?

A spine fracture occurs when sudden trauma to the spinal column results in the fracturing of the vertebrae along the spine. Unlike typical fractures, such as a broken arm or leg, spine fractures can cause a myriad of symptoms, from pain and numbness to paralysis. When the fragile bones within the spine break, bone fragments can cause damage to the surrounding tissues, nerves, and spinal cord.

What are the Symptoms of Spine Fracture?

The types and severity of spine fracture symptoms are largely based on the degree of injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities, or other affected areas
  • Weakness in the spine or extremities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Changes in the behaviour of bowels and bladder
  • Temporary or permanent paralysis

What Causes Spine Fracture?

According to the Mayfield Brain and Spine Clinic, the most common cause of spine fractures is being involved in a car accident, accounting for 45% of all such injuries. These injuries occur when the force of impact from an accident causes the spine to compress, twist, or move in a way that it is not intended. The pressure and shock of these movements result in the bones of the spine being crushed or snapped.

How Long Does a Spine Fracture Take to Heal?

The range of types and severity of spine fractures affect the recovery period. In some cases, severe injury can be permanent. If bone fragments cause damage to the spinal cord, the effects can often be permanent.

Pain related to spine fractures can take anywhere from days or weeks to three or more months. Much of the recovery period time frame is dependent on swelling of joints and tissue surrounding the fractured vertebrae. With treatment by anti-inflammatory medicine, the recovery period can be reduced greatly.

How is a Spine Fracture Diagnosed?

Immediately following an accident, you should always be seen by a medical practitioner as soon as possible. Depending on the severity or types of injuries sustained in an accident, your doctor may prescribe a number of tests to check for many types of possible injuries.

The most common methods for determining whether fractures have occurred in the spine are X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or Computed Tomography (CT) Scan. Radiographic imaging is the best way to see bone fractures, and the procedures are non-invasive and safe, greatly reducing the possibilities for further aggravation of the affected areas.

What are the Treatments for a Spine Fracture Injury?

A wide range of spinal treatments is available for spine fractures. Traditional treatments can include the use of orthotic back and spine braces, minimally invasive procedures to treat compression, and more invasive surgery.

  1. Back braces
  2. Cervical, cervical-thoracic, and neck braces
  3. Surgical fusion of vertebrae
  4. Surgical insertion of plates, screws, rods, cages, or related hardware
  5. Kyphoplasty or Vertebroplasty, involving the injection of bone cement to strengthen the spine
  6. Steroids
  7. Physical therapy

What is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition which results from the vertebrae in the spine sliding over one another. This sliding often results in compression of the nerves and spinal cord, causing further complications such as pain, loss of bowel and bladder control, numbness, and weakness. This condition most commonly occurs in the lower back, though it can occur anywhere along the spine.

What are the Symptoms of Spondylolisthesis?

The most common symptoms of any back injury is pain. Spondylolisthesis is no exception. Symptoms include:

  1. Pain in the back or buttocks areas
  2. Pain running down your leg or legs
  3. Numbness and/or weakness in your leg or legs
  4. Difficulties in walking
  5. Pain in the lower back, buttocks, or legs that worsens with certain activities, such as bending at the waist or twisting your torso.
  6. Loss of bowel and bladder control

In some cases, there may be no symptoms of this condition. This is why it is so important to go see a doctor immediately after an accident.

How is Spondylolisthesis Diagnosed?

Radiographic imaging is the most common method for diagnosing this condition. This includes X-rays, CT Scans, and MRI’s.

What Treatments are Available for Spondylolisthesis?

The treatments for spondylolisthesis are in the same range as those for other back injuries. Immobilization and pain management are the most common treatments for less severe cases. In the event of more traumatic injuries, doctors may prescribe surgical procedures. Treatments may include:

  1. Back braces or a rigid cast
  2. Surgical fusion and decompression of the affected vertebrae
  3. Physical therapy
  4. Acupuncture and/or acupressure
  5. Chiropractic adjustments
  6. Over the counter pain medications
  7. Prescription pain medications
  8. Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as Tylenol

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the channel that the spinal cord resides in. With regard to auto accidents, this condition typically results from compression of the vertebrae. Again, the forces involved in an accident can result in the spinal column being compressed, which can result in the crushing of the vertebrae and narrowing of the spinal channel.

There are two characterizations of spinal stenosis which are based on where the injury and symptoms occur. When it occurs in the lower back it is known as Lumbar Stenosis. When it occurs in the neck it is known as Cervical Spine Stenosis.

What are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

In several cases of spinal stenosis it is common for there to be no symptoms at all. On the other hand, symptoms can be severe and debilitating. These can include:

  1. Pain in the affected area which can come and go, rather than persisting
  2. Pain which occurs during certain activities or when holding certain positions
  3. Relief of pain after rest that returns upon re-aggravation of the injury
  4. In the case of lumbar stenosis, pain in the legs while walking or performing certain exercises is common
  5. Tingling and numbness, or “pins and needles” in the legs

What are the Treatments for Spinal Stenosis?

There is a range of severity of spinal stenosis and, therefore, there is a range of treatments. In less severe cases, your doctor may only prescribe a certain regimen of exercise or a reduction in certain activities. However, more severe conditions may require surgery for remediation. Treatments of this condition can include the following.

  1. Physical therapy
  2. Cortisone injections directly into the affected area of the lower back
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin
  4. Short term narcotic pain relievers
  5. Nerve desensitizing prescription medicines, such as napr0syn or gabapentin
  6. In fewer cases, anti-depressants can help with pain
  7. Spinal surgery for relief of compression

What Does a Herniated Disc Feel Like?

A herniated disc is usually described as one of the worst pains a person can experience. It can involve several different types of pain from shooting pain, sharp pains, numbness and tingling. It is not usually just one type of pain but many because the nerves are being affected. It can radiate down to the toes, through the fingers, up into the neck or just be a localized pain.

That being said, if you feel pain in your chest, arms, neck and/or jaw, please call 9-1-1 as these are also signs of a heart condition.

How Long Does a Herniated Disc Take to Heal?

Most people opt to have the least invasive procedures first when they have a herniated disc. If those don’t work, they take the more invasive treatments as a secondary course of action. It is always best to get as many opinions as possible and do what you feel is right for you.

Depending on the amount of damage you have and your chosen course of action, treatment for herniated discs can be from 3 months to life long. Again, everyone is different and some treatments work for some but not others. (Webmd)

What Are Some Non-Invasive Herniated Disc Treatments?

  1. Chiropractic care
  2. Physical Therapy
  3. Massage
  4. Accupressue
  5. Over the counter pain relievers
  6. Home remedies
    • What are some home remedies for herniated discs?
      • Heating pad
      • Ice pack
      • Adding a feather bed
      • Add a board under your mattress
      • Spa tub or jaccuzi
      • Floating in a pool
      • Warm wet compresses
      • Back support brace
      • Vibration
  7. Topical Remedies
    • What are some topical herbal remedies for herniated discs?
      • There are topicals like Tiger Balm, Capzasin, Icy Hot,  Aspercream, Eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil, and menthol infused patches
  8. Herbal Remedies
    • What are some herbal remedies for herniated discs?
      • Feverfew, tumeric, devil’s claw, ginseng, kava kava, valerian root
  9. Exercise
  10. Weight Loss
  11. Rest
  12. Anti-flammatory diet
    • What is an anti-inflammatory diet?
      • Green leafy vegetables, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, cage-free eggs, grass-fed meats and fish.
  13. Meditation
  14. Biofeedback
    • What is biofeedback?
      • Biofeedback is a non-invasive therapy that uses your own mind to control your body. It is usually in association with relaxation and meditation
    • What kinds of biofeedback are there?
      • Guided biofeedback is like meditation where the messaging is telling you to control what is ailing you
      • Thermal biofeedback attaches sensors to the body. It is the goal of the therapist to get the patient to the point that they can control their own body temperature and thereby control their own pain responses.
      • Electromyography biofeedback uses electronics to reinforce thoughts and/or behaviors through auditory and visual signals. This will give positive reinforcement to control body functions.
      • EEG Biofeedback uses brain waves to evaluate how a person responds to a stimuli and then the therapist will assign techniques to help with the triggers to that stimuli (in this case, pain)

One thing to keep in mind, just because it is natural, does not mean it is safe. Always consult your doctor before trying anything, even something as seemingly harmless as a heating pad could make your condition worsen.

Contact Our Charleston Car Accident Lawyer Today

Proving negligence in an injury or wrongful death lawsuit based on a car crash can be complex. It takes an investment of time, experience, and money. An experienced car accident lawyer can provide these advantages. Protect yourself and your loved ones by contacting The Hartman Law Firm, LLC for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. We represent clients throughout South Carolina. Call us today at 843-300-7600 or use our online contact form.

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