There really is no standard or average damage award in a Charleston car accident. Settlements can range from a few thousand to millions of dollars, depending on a number of factors:

Charleston SC Car Accident Lawyer Derrick Law Firm
  • The severity of your injuries/amount of your medical expenses
  • Whether surgery is necessary
  • Disability/need for long-term care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional/psychological trauma
  • Time off work/lost income
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Cost of property damage
  • Your share of fault, if any, in the accident
  • Whether you’ve hired an attorney
  • Whether your case goes to court
  • Whether the at-fault driver’s actions were intentional or reckless enough to justify punitive damages

Available Insurance Coverage Plays an Important Role

South Carolina law requires every motorist to carry at least $25,000 worth of liability insurance coverage. If the at-fault driver in your crash had only the minimum required coverage, it might not be enough to compensate you fairly for:

  • Major damage to your vehicle
  • Treatment of severe injuries
  • Ongoing care for disability
  • Future lost earning potential

In such a case, you might be able to collect further compensation from:

  • Your own underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)
  • A manufacturer or repair service if faulty equipment caused your wreck
  • A liquor license holder that served alcohol to a drunk driver

The services of an experienced attorney are highly recommended to get you fair compensation by filing claims against multiple parties and negotiating with more than one insurance company.

How Comparative Negligence Affects Your Recovery Following A Charleston Area Car Accident

If you’re found partially at fault for your own accident, you may still file a claim for damages and go to court if necessary. South Carolina’s modified comparative fault system, however, will reduce your award according to your percentage of fault as long as you’re less than 51% responsible. If you’re 51% or more at fault, you will recover nothing at all. Calculating the percentage of fault is a very subjective process and depends upon your attorney’s presenting your evidence convincingly.

Your South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Can Protect You From Insurance Company Tricks

If you’re injured by a negligent driver in Charleston, South Carolina law allows you to file a claim against that driver’s insurance company for your damages. Once you do so, an insurance adjuster from the company is likely to contact you, inquire about your health, and request answers to some “routine” questions. In reality, the adjuster is trying to get you to give a recorded statement and/or say something that can be used against you to dispute or devalue your claim. 

You might even be offered a quick settlement at this point if you agree to sign “necessary” documents. If you communicate openly with this adjuster and/or accept the first settlement you’re offered, it may be unfairly low. If you’ve retained an attorney, give only the most basic information and refer the adjuster to your car accident lawyer, who will know:

  • What to say/not to say to an adjuster
  • How to investigate your accident thoroughly
  • How to gather all your evidence and present it convincingly
  • How to evaluate your claim and put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering
  • How to calculate a fair settlement for your damages
  • How to send a demand letter to the insurance company
  • How to negotiate with the insurance company to get you adequate compensation
  • How to take your case to trial and fight for you in court if necessary

As soon as the insurance company knows you have an attorney to do all of the above and more, it has an incentive to offer you a sound settlement. 


Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.