Auto Accident Attorneys In Myrtle Beach, SC
Is it really necessary to hire a lawyer when you’ve been in an auto accident? As distracted driving cases increase through the use of smart phones and more complex navigation systems, the answer to this question is a sad, but essential ‘yes.’ You need an auto accident attorney if you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Myrtle Beach. Without one, you are unlikely to be able to effectively establish fault, the extent of your injuries, and an adequate value on your emotional and physical pain and suffering. You need an attorney to fight for your right to fair compensation for your damages.
After an auto accident, you may face expensive and painful surgeries and rehabilitation. You may also lose time at work and even end up with a reduced earning potential with long term or permanent disabilities. Then, you’ll find that the auto insurance company of the at-fault driver is doing everything they can to avoid paying you a fair sum for these expenses and damages.
Statistics About Auto Accidents in SC
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety conducts research and compiles reports regarding the auto accident statistics within the state. They have found that there is one auto accident every 4.9 minutes in South Carolina with accidents causing injuries every 17 minutes. Finally, there is a fatal car accident every ten hours in SC, for a total of 800+ deadly auto accidents each year in South Carolina.
While accidents that result in death are tragic and the number is higher than anyone would be comfortable with, you will find that the yearly number of auto accident injuries is far more shocking. There are more than 100,000 accidents in the state every year, with over 30,000 injuries. Many of these injuries are avoidable, unnecessary, and terribly disabling for the victim. Disabilities can keep injured parties from enjoying their lives, from making their usual income, and from caring for themselves. The toll on human lives that auto accidents take is staggering and the expense is more than anyone can handle alone, financially, physically, and emotionally.
Typical Injuries From Auto Accidents
There are many injuries that can occur in an auto accident, with some more common than others. Following are some of the most frequently occurring injuries in South Carolina car crashes.
- Brain Injuries – Brain injuries are caused when an auto accident makes your body stop suddenly in the car, and your brain continues forward, crashing into your skull. This can cause a mild injury or a significant injury, including brain death in the most extreme cases. In some situations, you may not notice any symptoms at all, but it could be a serious injury that you’ll realize later. Always seek out immediate medical attention after an accident.
- Neck/Back Injuries – Whiplash is the most common neck injury in auto accidents, where the head snaps forward and back hard enough to cause strain and even nerve damage. Accidents also cause the spine to twist and absorb too much shock and pressure. Neck and back pain can both seem mild at first and turn out to be more serious, which is another reason to seek out medical attention, even for injuries that seem mild.
- Face Injuries – Face injuries are very common in auto accidents because the face is not protected from broken glass and objects in the accident. The face can be cut, bruised, fractured, scarred, and disfigured by the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield and window glass, objects within the car, etc. Even the force of the airbag could break your jaw or other bones in your face.
- Chest Injuries – Chest injuries can also be mild or severe. They can range from extensive bruising to broken ribs and even punctured lungs and other internal damage. This can happen because of slamming into the dashboard/steering wheel, or being crushed or thrown from the vehicle.
How To Handle The Claims Process
You may be uncertain about what you need to do after a South Carolina auto accident. Following are the steps for handling the claims process after the event.
- File a Report – The first step is to file a report with local law enforcement about the accident. The police will seek a statement from you. You should discuss the accident facts, but you should not admit to fault or imply any fault on your part. Even an apology can be used against you later.
- Seek Medical Care – Even if your injuries seem mild or if you think you are not injured at all, you need to seek out medical care. Go to the nearest ER and get a full evaluation. If an ambulance ride is offered, you should take it. Do not refuse emergency care. If you think you are uninjured, seek medical care anyway. You may be unaware of injuries immediately after the accident.
- Establish Fault – You must demonstrate who is at fault for the accident. You will need to determine negligence and be prepared to demonstrate fault.
- Gather Evidence – Gathering evidence is where you will prove fault and damages. You can use expert witnesses, actual witnesses, photos, statements, police reports, medical documents, bills, invoices, receipts, estimates, etc. as evidence to prove your case and your damages.
- File Demand Letter – When you file a demand letter with the insurance company of the at-fault party, you are expressing your injuries and losses and demanding a particular amount in compensation to cover those damages. The defendant can then respond to this letter with a counter offer or with a denial of your claim.
- Attempt to Settle Case – There will be a negotiation process where your attorney attempts to settle the case without having to take it to court. It is in the best interests of both sides to avoid court, because it is time consuming and costly. Your attorney will work to negotiate a fair settlement to cover your damages and losses.
Choosing An Attorney To Help Settle Your Case
When it comes to negotiating for a fair settlement in your auto accident case, you need an experienced attorney to handle the process effectively. Many people want to handle it on their own, but they often make mistakes, such as settling too early, or failing to stay on top of the statute of limitations. You may not realize that you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table when you don’t work with an attorney who knows how to maximize the value of your claim.
A good example of a common mistake made when victims attempt to settle their cases on their own is the example of a back injury that seems minor to begin with. You get the injury treated, receive medication, and you think that’s the end of it. If it doesn’t occur to you that there may be future medical expenses related to this injury, such as surgery or continued physical therapy, then you may not think to request compensation for these future expenses as well. An attorney will ensure that no stone is left unturned and that you are not left holding the bill for injuries that someone else caused.