Sumter, SC Car Accident Attorneys
Each year, millions of individuals are injured and tens of thousands are killed in motor vehicle accidents in United States. While many of these injuries are minor and can be treated at home, others are moderate to severe and even catastrophic, requiring extensive medical treatment. Even a moderate injury can cause a major disruption in your life. Medical bills can start to pile up, and you might have to miss quite a few days from work. This can create a financial hardship for car accident injury victims and their families. If you or someone close to you was injured in an auto accident, it is important to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer, so you understand your rights and legal options.
For almost two decades, the attorneys at Peake & Fowler have successfully represented clients injured in car accidents in Sumter, Columbia, and communities throughout South Carolina. Our lawyers have in-depth experience handling even the most complex cases, and we fight hard to secure the full and fair compensation our clients need and deserve. We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. Whenever possible, we seek to negotiate a fair settlement without the need for litigation. If the other side is not willing to be reasonable, however, we are ready and able to aggressively pursue full damages at trial and upon appeal.
Distracted Driving Causing more Car Accidents in South Carolina
According to a recent WIS News 10 Columbia report, South Carolina is the third deadliest state for fatal car crashes, averaging 20.5 deaths per 100,000. The report singled out distracted driving as one of the primary reasons the Palmetto State ranks so high on the list. Although motorists have always had distractions, the increased use of electronic devices in recent years has made this problem far worse.
Texting while driving and other forms of electronic activity while behind the wheel are especially dangerous, because they distract motorists in three different ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. This means that when someone is sending an electronic message while driving, their focus can be taken entirely off of the road as if they were driving with their eyes closed. This makes them unable to react in time to effectively deal with traffic slowdowns, slippery or icy roads, and other adverse road conditions.
Here are some disturbing statistics about distracted driving:
- Nearly half a million motorists throughout the country use their cell phones while driving every single day;
- 42% of all motorists admit to having read a text or e-mail while driving;
- Texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident by about 23 times;
- Approximately one out of every four motor vehicle crashes in the United States involves cell phone use;
- Motorists who text while driving are six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk drivers;
- Drivers under the age of 20 are the group most likely to text while driving;
- About 25% of teenagers and admit to answering one or more text every time they drive;
- 11 teenagers (in the U.S.) die from texting and driving accidents every single day.
Distracted driving is now among the leading causes of car accidents. Some other common causes include:
- Reckless Driving
- Driving while Intoxicated
- Driving while Drowsy or Fatigued
- Mechanical or Vehicle Product Defects
- Poor Weather
Damages in South Carolina Car Accident Cases
Motor vehicle accidents can result in numerous types of injuries. These include:
- Scrapes, Cuts, and Bruises
- Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Whiplash Injuries
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Internal Injuries
- Fractures/Broken Bones
- Burn Injuries
- Amputations/Loss of Limb
Auto accident injuries are not always detected right away. Sometimes, the adrenaline rush caused by the accident can mask the pain, and you may not feel anything until several hours or even a couple days later. This is why it is always good to get medical attention after a car accident, even if you don’t feel hurt. By getting checked out, any injuries you may have can be treated right away, so you can be quickly on the road to recovery.
If you are injured in an accident that was the fault of another party, you deserve to be compensated. Compensatory damages for car accident injuries can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are damages that can be quantified. Examples may include property damage (such as damage to your vehicle), hospitalization costs, cost for surgeries and other medical treatment, compensation for days missed from work, compensation for lost earning capacity (in the case of a permanent and debilitating injury), and funeral and burial costs (in the case of a wrongful death resulting from the accident).
- Non-Economic Damages: These are damages for which it is not as easy to assign a dollar figure to. Examples of non-economic damages may include physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.
In rare cases in which the actions of the party responsible for the car accident were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and deter them (and others) from similar behavior in the future. In South Carolina, punitive damages are capped at $500,000, or three times actual damages, whichever is greater.
Damages in a South Carolina car accident case may be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault the injured party shares in the accident under the state’s “modified comparative negligence” legal doctrine. For example, if total damages equal $100,000, and you are found to be 15% at fault for the accident, your damages would be reduced by $15,000, bringing them down to $85,000. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, your claim may be invalidated, and you may be barred from recovering any compensation at all.
In many cases, the insurance company for the responsible party will try to diminish the value of your claim by pinning at least some of the blame on you. This is one of the reasons it is essential to work with an experienced attorney from the outset of the case, so that your right to recover just compensation can be protected.
Speak with a Compassionate Sumter, SC Car Accident Lawyer
At Peake & Fowler, we understand that auto accidents take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families, and we do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. We work closely with our clients, providing strong legal guidance and support. We handle all that complex legal tasks, and we communicate regularly with you throughout the process, so you are always kept informed.
If you were a loved one was injured in a car accident in Sumter or anywhere else in South Carolina, call our office today at 803-788-4370 to schedule a free consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.