Violent South Carolina Crash Injures Everyone in the Car

Five people were seriously injured in an extremely violent crash in a Lancaster County, SC neighborhood on Wednesday evening when a Toyota Camry veered off Country Club Drive and hit a ditch, istock-car on sidesubsequently going airborne tumbling into a yard.

The car slammed into a man’s pick-up truck, thrusting two people from the car.  The car was smashed, and a man at the scene could not get people out of the car.  The people who witnessed the crash called 911, and neighbors began to emerge from their homes.

Troopers say a 21-year-old man was driving the car when he lost control and veered from the road, ejecting himself and an 18-year-old from the car.  Also injured was a 20-year-old man, another younger teenager, and a 17-month-old-baby.

Under South Carolina law, it is up to the fact finder to determine who was more at fault.  Under the theory of ” modified comparative negligence,” the law states that whomever is more at fault, will not be able to recover, and whomever is less, so long as they are suing as the plaintiff, should have no serious issue recovering for pain and suffering either directly from the defendant, or their insurance company. Here, the driver of the car may be found to be at fault for all of the injuries sustained in the crash, as long as someone in the car did not pull the wheel or did something that would make the driver less at fault than 50%.

An auto accident can change your life forever in an instant. If you are on the road, you are at risk. We see it everyday. Someone is going too fast, not paying attention to the road, or is on their cell phone texting. Others are impaired or otherwise unsafe to drive, whether from alcohol or drugs. Sadly, you or your family member can be seriously injured or killed even if you do everything right. Fortunately, the trial lawyers of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP are experienced auto accident attorneys who practice personal injury law and can help.

If you or someone close to you has been involved in a serious accident such as this one, know your rights.  Call the personal injury firm of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP.  You can reach our South Carolina office at 803-548-4444, or call us toll-free at 877-374-5999.

What is “Stacking” Insurance Policies in South Carolina?

“Stacking” insurance policies is something somewhat unique that South Carolina allows an insured person to recover damages under more than one policy in succession until all the damages are satisfied by the amount set by the fact finder; or until the total limits of all policies have been exhausted.Personal Injury Attorney

So what does all this mean? In other words, an insured can recover for both the liability of the at-fault driver who hit them in the car accident, as well as any UIM coverage or benefits from the same policy if certain criteria apply. Namely, stacking policies is appropriate when a person is involved in an accident, and there is not enough coverage simply through liability OR UIM coverage. Only member of a “Class 1″ ranking will be permitted to stack.

Class 1 insured people include ” the named insured, the resident spouse, and any resident relative.” This residency is not quite as broad as one may hope. It requires that the residency is more then transient in nature of the residence.  In other words, the courts will look to the person’s driver’s license, mailing address, and where the registered to vote in order to see if they meet the “residency” requirement to stack policies. This typically comes in when a college student is using a “temporary” address while off at school, and want to use their parent’s vehicles to stack coverage.

A Class 1 insured that has UIM coverage on their vehicle that is involved in the accident has damages in excess of their coverage, they may stack UIM coverage from other policies in an amount equal to the coverage on the car that was involved in the accident, which is referred to as the ” measuring vehicle.” The Class 1 members are ONLY allowed to use the UM to stack if they were involved in the accident, yet did not own the vehicle that was involved in the accident.

So for example, if a mother and her two daughters are going shopping in the eldest daughter’s personally owned vehicle, and are in an accident and the mother( front seat passenger) is injured, she is allowed to recover not only from her daughter’s UIM, but can also use the UIM on her vehicle at home, as well as any other vehicles that the family owns with UIM coverage, and stack all the coverage together to reach the needed amount. So, in the example, mom would recover 25,000 from her daughter’s UIM, and assuming she has a vehicle at home with 50,000 UIM, and the father has another vehicle with 30,000 UIM coverage, the mother would be permitted to receive up to 95,000 if that does not exceed the amount of coverage on the daughter’s car( as the measuring vehicle.)

Another important note to make here is that a person is not permitted to recover through both a UIM and UM coverage. The rationale behind this is that a person can not simultaneously be both an Uninsured Motorist( UM) and an Underinsured Motorist( UIM). You can not have a little bit of insurance and no insurance at the same time.

This may all sound very confusing; and in fact, it is confusing. If you find yourself involved in a personal injury suit due to a serious car accident, contact the attorneys at Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a free consultation, and to see if you qualify as a Class 1 member entitled to stack.

 

South Carolina Personal Injury Law and Understanding Compensation

If you or someone close to you has been injured due to the negligence of another person or entity, you will likely be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries.  The first step in determining whether you have a joe-medics after car accidentpersonal injury case is to contact an attorney who in knowledgeable about the South Carolina personal injury laws and can provide you with sound advice.  It is likely that if you were injured, and it can be found that the other party is more at fault, you may recover damages for property, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

In order to succeed in a personal injury claim, the first thing that must be proven is that the person or entity was at fault for your injury.  If this can be established, the responsible party may have to compensate you for your injuries, property damage, and suffering.  There are three grounds on which a personal injury claim can be filed.  These are negligence, intentional wrong doing, and strict liability.  For negligence, it must be proven that someone acted or failed to act in a particular way, and as a result an accident occurred.  Next, an intentional wrong means that the party acted deliberately, such as in the case of an assault.  Here a person may also be entitled to punitive damages for willful, wanton, and reckless conduct.  The third ground is strict liability which protects consumers from being harmed by defective products.  South Carolina abides by strict products liability, and therefore the manufacturer has an absolute duty to make the product safe.

After grounds for a claim are established, you must prove that you suffered from physical, emotional, or mental harm as a result of the accident.  This can be a complicated process, and many variables factor into determining the amount of compensation one is entitled to receive.

The most common personal injury claims involve car accidents, medical malpractice, on-the-job incidents, and slip-and-fall cases.  At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, we are equipped to assist with a plethora of personal injury issues and claims that you may be confronted with.  Examples include wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, brain injuries, spinal injuries, motorcycle accidents, defective highways, nursing home abuse, bicycle accidents, and also insurance issues that may come up.  We work first-hand with the insurance companies to settle your case as effectively as possible to ensure adequate compensation.

 

This is why it is important to seek a personal injury lawyer to help you with your legal needs.  Contact our law offices today for free a confidential consultation to see whether you have a claim, and if so what damages you should be seeking.  You can contact our Fort Mill, South Carolina office at directly at 803-548-4444 or toll-free at 877-374-5999 with questions regarding your injuries.

 

Man Charged with Felony DWI: Negligence in North and South Carolina

A 20-year-old Orangeburg man, suspected of driving under the influence, was arrested after a fatal crash in Orangeburg County.  Police report that the man was driving along Riverbank Drive at around 1:00 a.m., and while attempting to pass another vehicle, they collided with each other. The 19-year-old driver of the other car was killed in the accident, and the other two passengers were taken to the hospital.  The alleged responsible driver did nSC Car Accidentot receive any injuries in the accident.  While the man faces two counts of felony DUI, he also may face civil penalties.

In the state of South Carolina, the rule for personal injury law follows the Comparative Negligence standard.  Here, even if a plaintiff is partially negligent, that plaintiff can still recover if their negligence does not exceed the negligence of others.  The recovery will, however, be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s negligence. The major question in South Carolina is whether 50% or 51% passes the threshold for allowing negligence recovery.

The rule in South Carolina is that the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed that of the defendants.  So, in a case where a jury determines that the plaintiff and the defendant split fault exactly 50-50, the plaintiff will receive 50% of damages.  If the plaintiff is the least bit more at fault than the defendant, the plaintiff is barred from recovery.  This rule is called the 51% bar.  In a multi-party lawsuit, the plaintiff’s negligence must not exceed the combined negligence of the defendants.  So, even if there is no defendant individually responsible for the 51% negligence, the plaintiff’s claim is not barred.

This is a much easier bar than North Carolina.  North Carolina adheres to the Contributory Negligence standard which states that if the plaintiff is found to be 0.00001% at fault, his claim is barred. Here, a North Carolina case may prevail on the fact that the driver was “reckless, willful, and wanton.”

If you have been injured in an accident in North or South Carolina, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a confidential consultation toll-free at 877-347-5999.

Head-on Collision in South Carolina Results in Death of Driver

A woman was killed after a head-on Spartanburg County, South Carolina collision.  The wreck occurred at 7:55 p.m. on Peachtree Road, near the town of Chesnee.  Troopers have reported that the woman was South Carolina Personal Injury Attorneytraveling south when she ran off the right side of the road, over-corrected and came back onto the road and crossed the path of an SUV.  The woman was not wearing a seatbelt, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the SUV, and the other two passengers in the vehicle were transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospital as a result of injuries sustained.  They were wearing their seatbelts.  Here, it is likely that the driver who was killed, would be considered “at fault,” due to the fact that it was likely her negligence that caused her to cross the path of the SUV.  However, the accident is still under investigation at this point.

In South Carolina, we abide by the standard of comparative negligence, which, unlike the more stringent contributory negligence standard in North Carolina, attempts to provide you with compensation for damages even if you were partially at fault in the auto accident.

In a comparative negligence accident claim, you must show that the other driver was more than 50% liable for the car accident.  If it is determined that the other driver is more liable than you for the crash, then they, or their insurance company will be required to compensate you for that percentage of liability.

For example, if you have a claim against another driver for $40,000, and through comparative negligence it is determined that they were 70% negligence for the accident, you would receive $28,000 in compensation.

While this does not cover the entirety of the car accident, it is far better to receive some compensation for the car accident that to bear the full cost.  A comparative negligence claim is very involved and can explore factors such as weather conditions, road hazards, other drivers, other vehicles, witness statements, and police records.

If you have been involved in a collision in North Carolina, be vigilant of the high threshold one must prove in order to recover.  This is why it is important contact an attorney with experience in the realm of  personal injury law.  For a confidential consultation, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP toll free at 877-374-5999 for more information.

 

What Should I Do if I am in a Car Accident in South Carolina?

If you are in an accident the first feeling you have is usually one of panic.  It is a very nerve wracking experience and can be very disorienting.  However it is important to know what to do if you are in an accident.Personal Injury Attorney

  A good habit is to keep your insurance card and registration in your vehicle at all times.  This information will be needed should you be in an accident.  Should you find yourself in an accident try to remain calm and call 911 immediately to have an officer dispatched to your location.  The dispatcher will need to know where you are and if you don’t know what road you are on let them know any landmarks you see around you.  Most dispatchers will know where you are even if you are not sure what road you are on if you can describe some landmarks around you.

Generally you should not move you vehicle from the scene of the accident so that the responding officer can take down an accurate report of the scene of the accident.  This may vary depending on what jurisdiction you are in as some jurisdictions require small accidents such as fender benders to move to the side of the road until an officer can respond.

Once the officer has arrived you will need to give him all your information and he take a statement from you to investigate how the accident happened.  The officer will give a citation to the driver he concludes was at fault.  In some cases the officer will give a citation to both drivers involved in the accident if he is unable to determine exactly who was at fault.  He will still make a report and then leave it to the courts to decipher where fault should be assigned.  This is important to remember since just because you receive a citation does not mean you are at fault.

If you have been involved in a situation such as the one listed above, you need the help of a personal injury attorney. Contact the attorneys at Reeves Aiken & Hightower LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a private, confidential consultation to review your particular case.