Charleston Car Accident Attorney
Car Accidents in South Carolina
South Carolina consistently ranks among the most dangerous states for motorists due to the high number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on our highways and roads. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), there was a traffic collision every 3.7 minutes in South Carolina in 2018 (the latest year for which data are available). Additionally, in 2018, one person was killed every 8.5 hours and one person was injured every 9.1 minutes in South Carolina. Overall, this amounted to more than 1,000 people killed and a staggering 58,000+ people injured in the state in 2018 alone.
If you were injured or if someone you love was killed in a car accident, it can be incredibly challenging to navigate the aftermath of the crash. At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we understand what you have been through, as well as the difficulties that still lay ahead. Our Charleston car accident lawyers have more than 20 years of combined experience, including past experience in insurance defense. We know what insurance companies will do to try to lowball injured individuals or deny claims—and we know how to fight back against these tactics.
As your personal injury team, we are dedicated to guiding you through the legal process while simultaneously advocating tirelessly for your rights. We seek to maximize our clients’ recoveries through aggressive negotiation and skilled litigation, an approach that has helped us successfully recover millions of dollars for our clients to date. If you were involved in a car accident in Charleston or any of the surrounding areas, put a powerful and proven team on your side.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Immediately after an accident, most people feel some degree of shock and uncertainty about what to do next. However, there are some important steps you should take immediately after the crash to protect yourself and your right to seek recovery.
After being in a car accident, take the following steps (if possible):
- Check for Injuries: First, check yourself and others for injuries. If necessary, call 911. Do not move anyone who appears seriously injured but, instead, wait for paramedics to arrive.
- Call the Police: Contact local law enforcement, have them come out to the scene of the accident, and request an official accident report.
- Report the Accident: By law, you are required to report any accident in South Carolina that results in injury, death, or property damage valued at $1,000 or more to the DMV.
- Exchange Information: Be sure to get the name, contact information, and insurance information of the other driver(s)/people involved in the crash.
- Document the Accident: Take pictures of the crash and your injuries, get the name and contact information of any witnesses, and write down everything you can remember about the accident.
- Seek Medical Attention: Always see a doctor after a car accident, even if you believe you were not seriously injured. You may have underlying injuries, which can take days or weeks to appear.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Advice: Follow all your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plans, including additional testing, follow-up appointments, medications, and physical therapy.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: Under your policy, you may be required to notify your insurance company about the accident right away.
- Refrain from Talking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Provider: Avoid talking to any adjusters from the other person’s insurance company. You do NOT need to provide a statement.
- Contact an Attorney: The best way to protect your rights and better your chances of securing the full compensation you are owed is by contacting a car accident attorney who can help.
At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we offer contingency fees, meaning we do not collect any upfront or out-of-pocket fees. Instead, we only get paid if we recover compensation for you. There is no risk in talking to a Charleston car accident attorney at our firm about your potential case; contact us today to learn more!
How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, you are required to report any motor vehicle accident that results in bodily injury, death, or property damage amounting to $1,000 or more to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 15 days of the accident. If you fail to report the accident in the required timeframe, you could face several insurance penalties and lose your right to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
There are two ways to report an accident to the DMV in South Carolina. First, if law enforcement comes to the scene of the accident, the officer will provide you an FR-10 form. You must then present this form to your insurance provider, and they must complete it and submit it to the DMV within the 15-day timeframe. If the police did not come to the scene of the accident, you must obtain, complete, and submit an FR-309 form to the DMV within 15 days of the accident.
Filing a Car Accident Claim
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there are several ways to file a car accident claim and recover compensation for your damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Because South Carolina follows a fault-based system, the most common method of pursuing compensation is filing a claim against the at-fault driver. To do this, you will need to prove that the other driver (or another party) caused the accident and is, therefore, liable for your damages.
Proving liability typically involves investigating the cause of the accident. At Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we investigate claims to determine if an accident was caused by:
- A negligent, distracted, or drunk driver
- An aggressive or reckless motorist
- A manufacturer or distributor that produced an auto defect
- A construction company that created a defective roadway
- Poor or nonexistent road maintenance
- Third-party negligence, such as a negligent bicyclist or pedestrian
- A negligent rideshare operator, such as an Uber or Lyft driver
- A commercial vehicle/truck driver or mass transit operator
Once we have identified the liable person or party, we immediately begin building our clients’ cases, working to understand the nature of their injuries and the full extent of their damages.
If you are unable to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver—for example, if you were involved in a hit and run or similar situation in which you cannot identify the at-fault driver or the liable party is not able to pay—you may have other options for compensation. This might include filing a claim with your own insurance provider under a collision policy or uninsured motorist (UM) claim.
Regardless of the specific circumstances involved, our Charleston car accident lawyers are ready to help you fight for maximum compensation for your damages, including but not limited to:
- Current and future medical expenses
- In-home care costs
- Lost income, wages, and other employment benefits
- Lost future earnings
- Disability/lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Counseling services/therapy
- Lost quality of life
- Property/vehicle damage and repair costs
Our attorneys have successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of the injured, as well as the families of those wrongfully killed. We have the experience, resources, and in-depth legal knowledge needed to effectively advocate for you.
Why Choose Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC?
When it comes to pursuing compensation after a car accident, you need a legal team with the right experience. Attorney Sam Clawson and Attorney Christy Fargnoli both have prior experience defending motor vehicle accident claims on behalf of major corporations, like State Farm, Nationwide, Allstate, GEICO, USAA, Travelers, and Safe Auto. Representing at-fault drivers for insurance companies allowed our team unique and extensive insights, knowledge, and experience that many other plaintiffs’ attorneys simply do not have.
Now, at Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC, we use our in-depth understanding of how insurance companies operate to aggressively negotiate on behalf of injured victims. We know what it takes to secure favorable settlements, and we are fully prepared to go to trial when insurance companies try to lowball our clients.
We not only know South Carolina’s traffic laws inside and out, but we also understand the state’s insurance laws and personal injury processes. Our attorneys are equally well-versed in insurance coverage disputes and bad faith claims. No matter how complex your unique situation may be, we are ready to help you fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
For personal attention and client-driven representation, call Clawson Fargnoli Utsey, LLC at (843) 408-0599. Your initial consultation is free.
Thank you!- Scott S.
I highly recommend Christy and her partner.- Teresa Z.
Extremely professional!- Sue W.
$13,000,000 Product Liability
$8,000,000 Toxic Exposure
$8,000,000 Commercial Dispute
$7,733,000 Medical Malpractice
$6,500,000 Motor Vehicle Accident
$4,950,000 Child Abuse
$4,000,000 Premises Liability
$3,000,000 Medical Malpractice
$2,550,000 Medical Malpractice
$2,500,000 Insurance Bad Faith