Charleston Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re in a car accident in South Carolina, can you trust the insurance company? What can you do if the bills pile up and you still can’t work because of your injuries from the accident? And why should you continue to carry the financial burden for an accident you didn’t cause and injured you? Mickelsen Dalton is here to help car accident victims in Charleston, SC get the compensation they need and deserve from the car accident that changed their lives. The first consultation with our Charleston car accident lawyers is free.
Why Choose Us?
At the law firm of Mickelsen Dalton, our Charleston car accident attorneys have significant experience representing clients who have been injured in motor vehicle collisions. Here’s why you should hire us:
- We focus solely on injury law, it’s all we do.
- We understand what our clients are going through, what their medical and financial needs are, and what it takes to maximize the value of their claims.
- In just three years, we have recovered more than $40 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
- Most importantly, we genuinely care about our clients and the outcome of their cases.
After a car accident, the attorney that you choose to represent you matters. Mickelsen Dalton is here for you.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help My Case?
An experienced Charleston car accident lawyer can help you in several ways. Here’s how:
Investigate the Claim: Once you’ve hired an attorney, they will investigate your claim to determine who was at fault for the accident. As part of their investigation, they will speak with witnesses, review the police report, and look at any available video footage.
Organize Evidence: The evidence collected during the investigation process will be organized in a way that is helpful for your case. This could include taking photographs, collecting medical records, and gathering statements from witnesses.
Communicate with Insurance Companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be tricky and frustrating. Your attorney will handle all communications with the insurance companies involved so that you don’t have to worry about it.
Consult with Expert Witnesses: In some cases, expert witnesses may be called upon to testify on your behalf. Expert witnesses can be used to link your injuries to the accident, which is required for you to receive compensation. Your attorney will consult with these experts to make sure that their testimony is consistent with the facts of your case.
Calculate Your Damages: Another way a Charleston accident lawyer can help you is by calculating your damages. This includes both economic and non-economic damages. A car accident lawyer will make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, hiring a Charleston car accident lawyer is one of the best things you can do for yourself. An experienced attorney will handle every aspect of your case so that you can focus on healing both physically and emotionally.
What Kind of Damages Are Available to Accident Victims?
When involved in an auto accident, what compensation are you entitled to receive? It depends on the facts of your case.
First, it’s important to understand the difference between economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are objective and measurable financial losses that a victim has incurred or is expected to incur as a result of the accident and their injuries. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are subjective and intangible losses that don’t have a specific dollar value attached to them. In some instances, punitive damages may be awarded.
Examples of Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Case
It can be helpful to look at some examples of economic damages that might be sought in a personal injury case:
Medical Bills: One of the most common types of economic damages in personal injury cases is medical bills. This includes not only current expenses but also future costs that are reasonably expected to be incurred as a result of the injuries sustained.
Lost Wages: Lost wages are another common type of economic damage in personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured in an accident and are unable to work—or if you’re able to work but only at reduced hours or with reduced pay—you may be able to recover those lost wages as part of your personal injury claim.
This includes not only wages actually lost but also any future earnings that you may reasonably expect to lose as a result of your injuries.
Property Damage: Property damage is another form of economic damage that can be incurred in a personal injury case—particularly if the accident involved a motor vehicle. If your car was totaled or damaged beyond repair in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to recover the value of your vehicle as part of your claim against the responsible party.
Similarly, if any other belongings were damaged or destroyed in the accident (phone, jewelry, clothing), you may also be able to recover their value through your personal injury claim.
Examples of Non-Economic Damages
Pain and Suffering: This is perhaps the most well-known type of non-economic damages. It includes not only physical pain but also the mental anguish and emotional distress that comes from being injured.
Loss of Consortium: This is the legal term for the loss of companionship and support that a spouse or other family member suffers when their loved one is injured. For example, if a husband is injured in a car accident and can no longer travel with or go on dates with his wife, damages may include loss of consortium.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This damage is fairly self-explanatory—it is the loss of abinility to enjoy life’s activities due to an injury. For example, if someone loves to play tennis but their shoulder injury prevents them from ever playing again, they may be able to recover for their loss of enjoyment of life.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are only awarded if the plaintiff can prove that the injury was caused by reckless behavior.
Mickelsen Dalton Handles All Types of Car Accident Cases
No case is too large or too small for our law firm. We are here to help, so call us to schedule your free consultation.
Cases we commonly represent in Charleston County, SC include:
- Rollover crashes
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Truck accidents
- Fatal car accidents
- Accidents involving pedestrians
Who is Liable For My Charleston Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in South Carolina, you may be wondering what happens if you were partially at fault for the accident. The good news is that you may still be able to recover damages.
South Carolina is a comparative negligence state when it comes to personal injury law. This means that if you are injured in an accident, you can still recover damages as long as you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. In other words, if the court finds that you are 50% or more at fault, you will be barred from recovering any damages.
Let’s say, for example, that you are walking across the street and a car runs a red light and hits you. The court may find that the driver of the car is 80% at fault and you are 20% at fault because you should have looked both ways before crossing the street. In this case, you would be able to recover 80% of your damages from the driver of the car.
However, if the court found that you were 50% at fault because you darted out into the street without looking, you would not be able to recover any damages from the driver because South Carolina’s comparative negligence law bars plaintiffs who are 50% or more at fault from recovering any damages.
How To Get a Copy of My South Carolina Car Accident Report
Obtaining a copy of your South Carolina car accidеnt rеport is an essential stеp aftеr bеing involved in a vеhiclе collision, as it plays a critical rolе in еnsuring you havе thе nеcеssary documеntation to support any lеgal claims. This official report sеrvеs as objеctivе еvidеncе that can dеtail fault, assеss damagеs, and contributе significantly to rеsolving insurancе disputеs or pеrsonal injury lawsuits.
How an Accident Report is Created and What’s Included
First, it can bе hеlpful to undеrstand how this rеport is crеatеd. Aftеr an accidеnt takеs placе, you, anothеr driver, or a witnеss will likеly call thе policе. Thе law еnforcеmеnt officеr dispatchеd to thе sitе will documеnt all rеlеvant dеtails by compiling thеm into an initial policе rеport. Thе accidеnt rеport usually includes thе following information:
- Exact date, time, and location of the incident — pinning down when and where everything took place.
- Personal information for all drivers involved — such as names, contact details, and insurance information.
- Statements from witnesses who saw what happened as well as their name and contact information.
- A list detailing any injuries sustained by vehicle occupants, which may have implications for medical claims and compensation.
- An illustrative diagram that suggests how the accident occurred based on observations at the scene.
Police officers may also provide their professional assessment regarding who they think was at fault according to evidence gathered and whether traffic violations occurred.
It’s important to know that while opinions regarding liability issued by an officer may influence how insurance companies view the incident, it is not conclusive. Liability decisions are ultimately made through a combination of police reports, insurance investigations, and other legal considerations if a case goes to court.
How to Obtain The Accident Report in South Carolina
Now that you know the importance of this document and how it is created, it’s helpful to know how to get a copy of it. Obtaining your South Carolina accident report is a relatively straightforward process, but knowing the correct steps can save you time and effort. Here are your options:
For accidents that occurred from March 2012 onward, South Carolina has digitized these records. You can easily access them by visiting the DMV’s online portal dedicated to accident reports.
If you’d prefer to take care of this matter in person or need assistance with online services, fill out the “Request for Collision Report” Form FR-50. Then simply bring this form to any SC Department of Motor Vehicles branch office for processing.
Mailing Your Request
You also have the option of mailing in your request. Complete the necessary “Request for Collision Report” Form FR-50 ensuring all required information is filled out accurately.
Prepare a check or money order for $6, which is the current fee associated with obtaining an accident report. Please note that these fees are subject to change; always verify the current fee before proceeding.
Send both items – your completed form and payment – to the following address:
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Titles Mail-in Unit FR-50
P.O Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0027
Don’t mail cash, and make sure to include your contact information, such as a return address and a phone number in case there is an issue with processing your request or if additional information is needed.
Obtaining this report by mail might take longer than other methods due to postage times and processing periods at the DMV offices.
Contact Our Charleston Accident Attorneys For Help
Having access to your South Carolina car accident report can be a key factor in the successful management of an accident claim. This document not only provides critical details about the incident but also acts as an important piece of evidence should you need to seek compensation for damages or injuries incurred.
If you have any difficulties obtaining your police report or if navigating your car accident claim seems overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional assistance. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Many people think that they can successfully negotiate with an insurance company on their own after sustaining injuries in an accident. However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, we strongly advise against speaking to an insurance adjuster without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer. Here’s why:
The Insurance Company Is Not on Your Side
It’s important to understand that the insurance company is not on your side—no matter how nice or accommodating the adjuster may seem. The insurance company is a for-profit business, and settlement payouts are a direct hit to their bottom line. Therefore, the insurance company’s goal is to settle your claim for as little money as possible—not what is fair or just.
You Could Unknowingly Jeopardize Your Claim
Any statement you say to the insurance company can be used in an effort to devalue or deny your claim altogether. For example, if you say that you are “fine” or that you “feel okay,” the insurance company could use this against you by arguing that your injuries are not as serious as you claim they are.
An Attorney Can Handle Negotiations for You
Once you have retained an attorney, they will handle all correspondence and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. This way, you do not have to worry about being taken advantage of or inadvertently jeopardizing your claim.
Your attorney will also be able to properly value your claim so that you recover compensation for all of your damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, you have three years from the accident date to file. The best thing you can do for your case is to document everything immediately and contact us as soon as possible.
Common Car Accident Injuries We Can Help You Recover Compensation For
Injuries can vary in an auto accident. Our Charleston accident attorneys can help you recover compensation for injuries such as:
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
Compensation is not limited to only these instances. We understand the costs associated with car accidents – and not just the financial ones. That’s why we’re dedicated to making sure our clients are taken care of, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. Our experienced car accident lawyers will fight to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on what’s important: your recovery.
The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re not alone. While no two accidents are exactly alike, there are some common factors that contribute to a large percentage of crashes.
Speeding is one of the most common—and most preventable—causes of car accidents. When drivers go above the speed limit, they put themselves and others at risk.
Drunk driving is another leading cause of car accidents. If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, you may be able to hold them accountable by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Distracted driving also causes a significant number of car accidents. This is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This includes talking on the phone, texting, and even changing the radio station. Distracted driving is dangerous because it increases the chances of an accident occurring.
If you have been involved in an auto accident, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do After Getting into a Wreck in Charleston?
The moments after an accident are terrifying. There will be many emotions and a flurry of activity right after. However, there are some specific things you should do if you:
- Call 911 to report the accident.
- Take photos and videos of the scene and injuries (if you can).
- Get immediate medical care.
- Pay close attention to what the insurance company asks when you file the claim. Do NOT sign anything they send you or provide a recorded statement.
- Call us for a free consultation.
Your Trusted Charleston Car Accident Lawyers Are Standing By
We understand the stress, pain, and uncertainty you’re feeling after your car accident. That is why the trial attorneys of Mickelsen Dalton are ready to fight for you. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation and get more information about your legal options.
Car Accident Claim FAQs
How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Case?
The time it takes to resolve a car accident case can vary significantly based on several factors. It is essential to recognize that each case is unique, and there is no fixed timeframe for resolution. Some of the key factors that can impact the duration of a car accident case include:
- Severity of Injuries: Cases involving severe injuries may take longer to resolve because the full extent of the injuries and their long-term effects may not be immediately apparent. It may take time to gather medical records, consult with medical experts, and assess the future medical needs of the injured party.
- Disputed Liability: If there is a dispute over who is at fault for the accident, the case may take longer to resolve. Investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and possibly going through a trial can extend the timeline.
- Insurance Company Cooperation: The willingness of the insurance company to negotiate and offer a fair settlement can significantly impact the case’s duration. Sometimes, insurance companies may delay or dispute claims, which can prolong the process.
- Negotiation Process: The negotiation process itself can take time as both parties may go back and forth with settlement offers and counteroffers.
- Court Schedule: If the case cannot be resolved through negotiation and ends up in court, the court’s schedule and backlog of cases can affect the timeline. Court proceedings, including discovery, pre-trial motions, and trial, can extend the length of the case.
- Complexity of the Case: Some car accident cases are more complex than others. Cases involving multiple parties, product liability issues, or disputed damages can take longer to resolve.
- State Laws and Procedures: Different states have varying legal procedures and timelines for personal injury cases. The location of the accident can influence the case’s duration.
While some car accident cases may be resolved within a few months, others may take a year or more to reach a resolution. It’s crucial to be patient and prioritize the thoroughness of the case rather than rushing for a quick resolution that may not adequately compensate you for your injuries and damages.
If you are involved in a car accident case, it is essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess the specifics of your case, advise you on your rights and options, and work diligently to seek fair compensation on your behalf. An attorney can also help expedite the process while ensuring your best interests are protected.
How Do I Prove The Other Driver Was At Fault?
In the context of a car accident case, the concept of negligence is used to determine fault. When someone is negligent, it means they have failed to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in similar circumstances. In a car accident case, proving negligence is crucial for establishing liability and seeking compensation for injuries and damages.
To prove negligence in a car accident case, the following elements must generally be demonstrated:
- Duty of Care: The at-fault party (the defendant) owed a duty of care to the injured party (the plaintiff). In the context of driving, all motorists have a legal duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe and lawful manner, following traffic laws and taking reasonable precautions to avoid causing harm to others on the road.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonably safe manner. This breach can take various forms, such as speeding, texting while driving, running a red light, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty must have directly caused or contributed to the accident. It means that, but for the defendant’s actions or omissions, the accident would not have occurred.
- Proximate Cause: The injuries or damages suffered by the plaintiff must have been a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligent conduct. In other words, the harm must be reasonably related to the defendant’s actions.
- Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered actual damages as a result of the accident. These damages can include medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic losses.
To establish negligence, the plaintiff (injured party) and their attorney must gather evidence, such as accident reports, witness statements, photographs, videos, and expert testimony, to support their claim. They must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonable person under similar circumstances, and those actions were the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.
It’s important to remember that negligence laws can vary from state to state, and determining fault in a car accident can be a complex process. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal complexities, build a strong case, and advocate on your behalf to seek fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance after a car accident in South Carolina, it can complicate matters for you as the injured party. In South Carolina, like in most states, drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover the costs of injuries and damages they may cause in an accident. However, some drivers may still operate their vehicles without insurance, despite the legal requirement.
If you find yourself in a situation where the at-fault driver is uninsured, here are some steps you can take:
- Contact Law Enforcement: Report the accident to the police, even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. A police report will document the details of the accident and can be useful in any legal proceedings.
- Document the Scene: Gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. Take photos of the vehicles’ positions, damages, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses if there are any.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Inform your own insurance company about the accident, even if you weren’t at fault. Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is required in South Carolina, which should provide some protection for you in this situation.
- File an Uninsured Motorist Claim: If you have UM coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. This coverage is designed to compensate you for your injuries and damages as if the at-fault driver had proper insurance.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: South Carolina also requires Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, which comes into play if the at-fault driver has insurance, but their coverage is insufficient to fully compensate you for your losses.
- Consult with an Attorney: Dealing with an uninsured motorist claim can be complex, especially if your injuries are severe. It is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help protect your rights, navigate insurance matters, and ensure you receive fair compensation.
- $4.0M Settlement | Motor Vehicle Accident, Wrongful Death
- $250K | Multi-Vehicle Car Accident
- $250K | Multi-Vehicle Accident Involving Uber
Contact Experienced Charleston Car Accident Attorneys Today
Dealing with a car accident can be challenging, but having UM and UIM coverage can provide you with some financial protection. Consulting with a skilled Charleston car accident attorney can help you understand your options and the best course of action to pursue fair compensation for your injuries and losses.