The good news in such a case is that South Carolina allows you to “stack” insurance policies to get full compensation after an accident. This means there are other sources of compensation for you if you’re hurt by an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver:

Your health insurance.

It’s possible that your own health insurance policy will pay some or all of your medical expenses if the at-fault driver’s car insurance will not.

The auto manufacturer or repair service.

If it can be proven that your wreck was caused to any degree by defective/improperly repaired systems or components, you could have a claim against the insurance company of either (or both) for part of your damages.

Governmental agencies or departments.

If you can prove your accident resulted from improperly constructed or maintained roadways, you might have a claim against federal, state, or local agencies responsible for the roads.

An employer.

If either you or the negligent driver was driving for work purposes and/or in a company-owned car, either employer’s insurance company might be held accountable for your damages.

Stacking insurance is a complex procedure. If you’re undergoing medical treatment and trying to recover from your accident, it would be essentially impossible for you to:

  • Identify multiple liable parties
  • File multiple claims
  • Negotiate with multiple insurance companies that want to devalue or deny your claims
  • Possibly take one or more of them to court

The services of an experienced lawyer are highly recommended if you hope to recover fair compensation by stacking multiple insurance policies and coverages.

Receiving Compensation From Your Own Auto Insurance

As a South Carolina driver, you’re required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage (UM) equal to your own liability coverage. You also have the option of adding underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to your policy. Either UM or UIM might cover some or all of your damages if the negligent driver’s insurance does not.

In Horry County, UM and UIM “follow” the driver, not the car. If you have minimum UM/UIM coverage of $25,000 on more than one vehicle, you might be able to stack that coverage to pay some or all of your damages if they exceed $25,000. You may not, however, stack both UM and UIM coverage since the at-fault driver obviously cannot be both uninsured and underinsured.

Depending on the details of your policy, you might have other options, as well:

  • If you have collision coverage, it could pay for your car repairs up to the market value of the car.
  • Comprehensive coverage, normally intended for non-collision damage, might also pay for repairs.
  • Some policies have provisions for rental fees and towing charges.
  • Some policies might provide coverage for some medical expenses if they’re more than the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover.

In any of these circumstances, you could be required to pay a deductible amount, and/or your premium rates could increase. It’s also important to remember that your own insurance company becomes your adversary when you file a first-party claim. If its adjusters try to dispute that claim, the services of an experienced attorney are vital to your success. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf or file a lawsuit against your insurance company and take your case to court. If you win your case, you will collect since no insurance company is judgment proof.

How Comparative Fault Affects Your Claim

To make things even more complicated, South Carolina is a comparative fault state. This means that you could be found partially responsible for your own accident.

As long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you may still collect damages. However, your award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. An experienced car accident attorney can help you maximize your compensation by negotiating a lower percentage of fault.

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