Who pays for car accident compensation in South Carolina?
Learn the facts from car accident attorneys who get results
A car accident can change your life in seconds. Suddenly, you are left with serious injuries and need medical treatment. You may not be able to work or take part in your usual activities. There’s less income coming in but your medical expenses keep going up. If a negligent driver caused your accident, you deserve compensation. But who pays for it?
At Johnson + Johnson, we know that things can get very confusing after a crash. You may have a lot of questions like “whose insurance pays in a car accident?” All you want is to recover from your injuries and get your medical bills paid. But you may not be sure what to do next. Our experienced Lexington car accident lawyers can help.
All drivers in South Carolina are required to carry car insurance
Every policy must have liability limits of at least:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $50,000 for all injury or death in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage
However, the damages sustained in a car accident can easily exceed these policy limits. That’s why it’s always recommended to pay for additional coverage that can protect you if you are involved in a crash.
Drivers are also required to carry uninsured motorist coverage (UM) that is equal to the minimum amounts of liability coverage. This can provide protection if you are injured in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. There is also optional coverage that provides protection if you are in an accident with a driver who is underinsured (UIM) and does not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages.
There are additional options you can add to your policy. Collision coverage will help pay for the cost of repairing or replacing your car. Personal injury protection (PIP) can provide additional compensation, no matter who was at fault for the crash.
How do I recover financial compensation after an accident?
When it comes to car insurance, South Carolina is a “fault” state. Basically, that means the driver who caused the crash is considered to be “at fault” for what happened. As such, their auto insurance company is expected to pay for damages. That doesn’t mean the process for recovering compensation is straightforward. It can actually get very complicated.
Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong and refuse to take responsibility for accidents. Some don’t have enough insurance to cover all of the damages suffered by other parties. In addition, you may be blamed for causing the crash, which can reduce the amount of compensation you’re eligible to recover.
There are three options for recovering financial compensation after a car accident:
- File a claim with your insurance company – This is called a first-party claim and is an option for you no matter who caused the crash. If the other driver is found to be at fault, your insurance company would then seek payment from that driver’s insurance company.
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company – This is called a third-party claim. When another driver causes an accident, that driver (and by extension, their auto insurance company) is responsible for any accident-related damages.
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance company – This often becomes necessary when an insurance company refuses to pay fair compensation.
The financial amount compensated varies for every accident. There is no single average settlement amount. To learn how much your accident is worth, contact a member of our legal team. We can go over the details of your case to calculate the true settlement amount you need and deserve to recover from your accident.
Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating
Insurance companies are supposed to help when someone has been hurt in an accident. But the truth is they are not on your side. As a business, they are concerned about the bottom line. Keeping payments low helps them keep profits high. So they have many different tactics they use to try to pay you as little as possible.
For example, insurance companies may question the seriousness of your injuries and argue your life wasn’t impacted as much as you claim. Or they may seek access to your medical records to search for evidence that your injuries may have been pre-existing.
They may also argue that you were at least partially to blame for what happened. South Carolina uses a comparative negligence system for financial compensation. This means you are entitled to compensation if you are found to be less than 51% responsible for the accident. But your recovery can be reduced by the amount of fault you share. So if you are found to be 10% responsible for the crash, your compensation would be reduced by 10%.
The insurance company may decide to offer you a settlement shortly after your accident. As your medical expenses start to add up, it can be tempting to accept their offer. The problem is that the amount of the offer will probably fall far short of covering all of the damages you suffered. It’s just another way for them to try to save money.
Experienced legal representation can make a difference
Our law firm understands the impact that injuries from a car crash can have on your life – physically, emotionally and financially. Attorneys Kevin C. Johnson and Steven W. Johnson were born and raised in Lexington. We are proud to represent members of our community when they have been hurt.
That’s why we take nothing for granted. Our legal team investigates your accident to get the facts. We determine the total amount of damages you suffered – including current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We are experienced car accident attorneys who build strong cases and fight for the compensation you deserve.