Car accidents affect millions of people each year. They can range from fender benders that cause minor property damage to severe accidents that leave victims with significant injuries that could result in permanent disability.
Thankfully for victims, South Carolina law often allows car accident victims to recover for both their economic and non-economic losses by filing a personal injury1 claim.
There are a number of parties that could potentially be at fault in a car accident case.
Some of the more common are detailed below.
Statistics indicate that the vast majority of accidents are caused by human error, meaning other drivers.
Drivers can cause accidents in a variety of ways.
Speeding: speeding increases both the risk of an accident by lessening the reaction time in case of a hazard. This is more so in bad weather and at nightfall.
Aside from reducing the reaction time, speed affects the severity of an accident. A high-speed collision causes more chaos than a slow speed one.
Distracted driving: this is anything from being engrossed in deep thought to speaking or texting on your phone at the wheel.
Traffic disobedience: this means a driver that is ignoring traffic and road signs.
Impaired driving: this is driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Safe driving requires concentration, good judgment and the ability to react to situations quickly.
Alcohol and drugs impede a driver’s ability to do this, thus placing him and other road users at risk.
If you are in a car accident where you can prove the other driver failed to uphold road safety rules, the driver can be held liable for the accident.
In some cases, an accident is caused by defective vehicle design, manufacture, or a failure to warn drivers about a nonobvious condition that could be easily mitigated by a simple warning.
Some of these oversights happen when manufacturers are trying to get a vehicle in the market sooner, therefore cutting corners in the design or testing phases of the manufacturing process.
When this occurs, vehicle manufacturers can often be held liable for the injuries sustained in accidents that are the result of vehicle defects.
There are three broad types of defects that a manufacturer can be held liable for. These are:
- Design defects where a car’s design makes it unsafe for us
- Manufacturing defects, where the design is safe, but the manufacturing is substandard
- Labeling or warning defects where a manufacture fails to place adequate earning of the dangers of using the car as intended
Common vehicle defects include brake failure, unstable design, defective airbags, or steering system failure, or unintended acceleration.
Vehicle equipment manufacturers
Some accidents are caused not by other drivers or vehicle manufacturers, but by after-market equipment installed on a vehicle long after it has left the assembly line.
Common examples of the kinds of vehicle equipment that have the potential to cause accidents if they fail include tires, windshield wipers, vehicle lights, and auto glass.
If these can be proven to have malfunctioned or to have been defective during manufacture, then the manufacturers of the specific components can be held liable.
Pedestrians, cyclists, and anyone else who may be on the road
While people tend to think of pedestrians and bicyclists as the victims in car accidents, it is also possible for them to be at fault.
For example, a pedestrian who darted into traffic, forcing a vehicle to swerve into another car could potentially be held liable for any injuries that occurred as a result.
What You Can Recover
Every accident is unique in its own way and the individual circumstances around your accident are what determines the damages you can get.
This is why it’s important to call a lawyer immediately after the accident so they can advise you about what steps to take.
If however, you are not at fault, here are some of the damages you can recover:
· Property damage
You could make this claim if the accident’s impact damaged your car or other items inside your vehicle.
Here, you seek to get the at-fault’s insurer to cover the costs of repairing your vehicle and other damaged items. If the car is totaled, then you seek a fair market value of your car’s value.
· Medical expenses
These include diagnosis, treatment and recurring costs after that, like physiotherapy.
To make a medical expenses claim, you will need to provide comprehensive medical records detailing your diagnosis and treatment.
· Lost wages
When you suffer severe injuries, you might be forced to take time off work or other incoming activities to recuperate.
This leads to a loss of income or career advancement opportunities.
To demonstrate that indeed you have lost wages, your attorney will likely request you to provide previous paystubs leading up to the accident. If you were edging towards a promotion, you would also need a note from your supervisor to that effect.
· Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering refers to the non-physical ways you have suffered as a result of the accident.
This can include depression, anxiety and other psychological issues you might develop as a result of the accident.
Again, quantifying this into monetary terms is a complex process. Attorneys at Hartman law firm have helped clients through this process countless times and would be able to help you through it as well.
If a loved one does as a result of a road accident, you can file a wrongful death suit. You can also file a traumatic brain injury claim if they suffer severe brain injuries.
Call a Charleston car accident attorney today to retain legal representation
Auto accident cases can be extremely complicated and a significant amount of legal analysis may be required to determine who can be potentially held liable. For this reason, car accident victims need to retain an attorney familiar with representing motor vehicle accident victims. To schedule a free consultation with a Charleston auto accident lawyer, call the Hartman Law Firm today at 843-300-7600 or send us an email through our online contact form.