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Average Car Accident Settlement in South Carolina

Being involved in a car accident is an unfortunate and often traumatic experience, leaving victims with physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial burdens. Car accident settlements are designed to provide compensation to victims for their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Determining the average settlement amount can be a complex task as numerous factors influence the final compensation to victims. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of car accident settlements in South Carolina and explore the factors that affect the settlement amounts. 

Factors Affecting Car Accident Settlements in South Carolina

From the severity of injuries to fault allocation, legal processes, and insurance negotiations, each car accident settlement case unfolds uniquely. 

Who’s at Fault?

Determining who is at fault for the accident is crucial in car accident settlements. South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that if a victim is found partially at fault for the accident, their compensation is reduced. The percentage of fault assigned to each party involved in the accident can directly impact the settlement amount. 

Severity of Injuries and Medical Expenses

The extent and severity of injuries sustained by the victim play a significant role also. Severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care often result in higher settlements compared to minor injuries. Medical expenses are also taken into account during settlement negotiations. 

Lost Wages and Pain and Suffering 

If the accident leads to the victim’s inability to work, or causes loss of earning capacity, the settlement may include compensation for lost wages and future income. Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and emotional distress are also taken into account. 

Insurance Policies and Legal Representation

The insurance policies of the parties involved in the accident, including their coverage limits, can affect the settlement amount. If the at-fault party has limited coverage, it may limit the available compensation for the victim. Having legal representation can greatly influence the outcome of a car accident settlement. Experienced personal injury attorneys can negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for their clients to secure a fair settlement. 

Understanding Car Accident Settlement Amounts

In car accident settlement cases, economic and non-economic damages are two categories of compensation that victims may be entitled to receive.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages refer to the financial losses incurred by the victim due to the car accident. These damages are typically easier to calculate as they involve tangible, quantifiable expenses such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. Non-economic damages focus on the intangible losses and harm suffered by the victim. These damages aim to compensate for the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of the accident. 

Special Damages

Special damages are another term used for “economic damages”. They are losses and expenses that can easily be calculated. They include damages such as medical bills and expenses, property damage, lost wages and potential wages that you may have earned in the future, and vehicle replacement and repairs. 

General Damages

General damages are the damages not visible or tangible. They typically include emotional distress, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and loss of consortium. 

Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts in South Carolina

No Injury Cases

  • No injury cases tend to focus on property damage and related expenses. 
  • The settlement will be dependent on the extent of property damage, market value of the vehicles involved, and insurance coverage.
  • In this case, settlement amounts may range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. 

Cases with Minor Injuries

  • Cases with minor injuries include soft tissue injuries, sprains, and minor fractures. 
  • Settlement amounts typically cover medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. 
  • These amounts can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. 

Back and Neck Injuries

  • While back and neck injuries in a car accident are very common, the severity varies greatly. Some may be treated with over-the-counter medication while others require surgery. 
  • For significant injuries that require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation, settlements can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Concussion Cases

  • Concussion cases can be highly challenging to determine settlement amounts for. This type of injury is difficult to recognize and is sometimes denied by insurance coverage. However, the damage can result in a lifetime of medical expenses and even loss of income depending on the severity of the injury. 
  • Consulting with a personal injury lawyer along with medical experts will help determine how much the victim is entitled to. 

Cases Resulting in Death

  • Compensation can include funeral expenses, medical bills, loss of future income, loss of companionship, and emotional trauma. 
  • Settlement amounts may vary widely but often exceed several hundred thousand dollars, depending on the circumstances. 

Calculating Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Calculating car accident settlement amounts involves considering various factors and assessing the losses and damages suffered by the victim. While there is no definitive formula, consulting with a qualified attorney is crucial to ensure a thorough evaluation of your specific case. 

Seeking Compensation for a Car Accident in South Carolina

There are key steps to keep in mind when seeking compensation for a car accident in South Carolina. By following these guidelines, along with involvement from a medical expert and personal injury attorney, you can help determine your settlement in order to receive the compensation you deserve. 

  • Seek medical attention immediately – If paramedics are available at the scene of your accident, allow them to do a full assessment to rule out emergency treatment. If your injuries do not require immediate attention, make sure you see a physician within 24 hours of the accident to identify injuries related to the accident and receive documentation of any injuries. 
  • Protect your rights after a car accident – It is important to know your rights in the event of an accident. A settlement may cover your expenses and damages. After seeking medical attention, consult a personal injury attorney to protect your legal rights. 
  • Never accept the first settlement offer – Car accident injury settlements do not always take into account the long-term effects of an injury. If you accept the first offer from an insurance company, you will not be entitled to receive compensation for additional damages or injuries. Before accepting an offer, consult a personal injury attorney. 
  • Understand South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations – When determining how much your settlement may be worth, be aware of South Carolina’s Statute of Limitations for a car accident. If you allow the statute of limitations to expire, you won’t be able to file a claim. In South Carolina, the Statute of Limitations is limited to 3 years from the date of the accident.

The Settlement Process

  • Seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident and keep all medical documentation and records.
  • Keep all documentation of the accident such as a copy of the police report, photographs of the scene, damage to vehicles, visible injuries and witness statements. 
  • Notify your insurance company to report the accident and provide them with any necessary details. You should also notify the at-fault party’s insurance company as they will likely conduct their own investigation. 
  • Consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in car accident cases in South Carolina. They will guide you through the process, protect your rights, and ensure you are properly represented during negotiations. 
  • Assess damages including medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. Gather documentation and evidence to support your claim. 
  • Negotiate with the insurance companies involved. Your attorney will present the case and evidence to negotiate on your behalf. 
  • As settlement offers are presented, your attorney will review them with you and explain the terms. They will advise you on the fairness of the offer and provide their professional opinion on whether they think the offer adequately compensates you for your losses.
  • If a fair settlement is reached, your attorney will finalize the settlement agreement. 
  • If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney may suggest proceeding with a lawsuit and litigation. 
  • In the event of litigation, your case may proceed to trial, or in some cases, mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods. Your attorney will guide you through these processes and advocate for your rights and interests. 

If you have been injured in a car accident and believe you are entitled to compensation, contact our expert car accident attorneys immediately! Even if you are not sure that you have a case, it is important to know your rights. Contact Philpot Law Firm today for a free consultation!