Together, Myrtle Beach and Charleston attract over 26 million visitors each year. Many of these tourists visit from out-of-state. While this is a huge boon to the South Carolina economy, it means more cars are on the road. It also means you are more likely to be involved in car accidents with an out-of-state driver. If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash, you might wonder how this affects the insurance claim process. Are you still eligible to file for damages? How can you get fair compensation for your injuries and property damage?
How Tourists Cause South Carolina Accidents
Visitors to Myrtle Beach and Charleston can cause car crashes for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are the same as local drivers, but some are different. For example, an out-of-state-driver may cause a South Carolina car crash because the driver is:
- Lost. When a driver is lost, they may be distracted by trying to find their destination and focus less on driving safely.
- Distracted. Unfamiliar surroundings may cause drivers to turn their attention away from the road to look at local sights or take pictures.
- Unfamiliar with local roads. This can lead to confusion, illegal turns, sudden stops, or missed traffic signals, for example.
- Tired. Travel can be exhausting and the driver may have already spent many hours behind the wheel.
- Intoxicated. The driver may have had a few drinks while on vacation.
South Carolina Car Accident Law
South Carolina car accident law applies to all crashes that happen in the state regardless of where the other driver lives. In South Carolina, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating the victims of the crash for damages, including:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket costs.
- Pain and suffering
The court and insurance companies establish fault based on what negligent action caused the accident. Did someone disobey traffic laws, like running a stop sign? Was one driver speeding or driving recklessly? Were they driving under the influence or distracted by a cellphone? Who failed to observe the right of way?
To be eligible for damages, you must be found less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If you are found equally responsible—50-50—or more, you cannot recover damages from the other driver’s car insurance.
Generally, the South Carolina statute of limitations gives you three years to file a car accident case. However, that time could be shorter or longer in some circumstances.
The other driver may not come from a state with similar laws. Even so, South Carolina law applies.
South Carolina Car Insurance Requirements
South Carolina has stated minimums for third-party liability insurance. As a South Carolina driver, you should have the following:
- At least $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance
- At least $50,000 in personal injury liability for all persons in one accident
- At least $25,000 in coverage for property damage in one accident
- Uninsured motorist coverage equal to the liability coverage minimum
Liability insurance covers injury and damage to the other party in an accident.
An out-of-state driver is required to have the minimum car insurance required by law in their home state, which could be different from South Carolina.
If you are at fault in the accident, you usually file a claim with your own insurance company. If the other driver is at fault, you usually file a claim with their insurance provider. For the latter, it is prudent to seek legal counsel first. The experienced attorneys at Pracht Law are on your side. The other insurance company is not. They want you to settle for the smallest amount possible. Let us fight on your behalf and work to get you the fair settlement you deserve.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Getting into any car accident is stressful—it’s even more distressing when you realize you didn’t do everything you should have done at the scene. Accordingly, we encourage you to take the following actions after a car accident:Turn on your hazard lights to minimize danger from passing cars. After a minor accident, you may be able to move your car to the side of the road.
- Call an ambulance. Let first responders examine you to see if any immediate injuries need medical attention.
- Call the police and file an official report. South Carolina traffic collision report (TR-310) details the crash. Officers will submit this to the DMV shortly after. The officer may assign fault in the report, but their conclusion on fault is usually not admissible in court.
- Get the contact information of the other driver. The information should include their driver’s license state and number and insurance company name and policy number. Record the color, make, and model of the car. If it’s a rental, get the rental car company information.
- Do not apologize or admit fault. Saying sorry can be construed as admitting fault.
- Record the details of the crash. Take pictures and note the specific location. Describe road conditions and any other relevant details.
- Seek medical care even if you think your injuries are minor or you’re not hurt at all. A timely, accurate health assessment can be valuable evidence in a claim.
- Save everything. Keep all receipts and documents related to medical care.
- Discuss your case with an experienced attorney. The lawyers at Pracht Law can help you fully understand your rights and protect your recovery.
Out-of-State Drivers Can Cause Complex Car Crash Cases
Even the most straightforward accidents can become complicated quickly. Communicating with insurance companies isn’t easy. Understanding the applicable laws is even harder. The case gets even more complex when you add an out-of-state driver.
The experienced attorneys at Pracht Law can offer the advice and support you need. We can facilitate communication with the other party after they’ve left South Carolina. We can speak with law enforcement and the insurance companies on your half. Let us explain your options and help you get the fair compensation you deserve.