Causes of Car Accidents
Were you hurt in a South Carolina car accident due to someone else’s negligence? If so, you might find yourself up against a host of challenges. From coping with physical injuries and emotional distress to grappling with financial burdens and the complexities of an injury claim, the road to recovery can seem overwhelming. During these times, reliable, experienced advocacy can make all the difference.
Joe Cunningham Law is here to provide that advocacy. Founding attorney Joe Cunningham is a former U.S. Congressman known for his unwavering, “people-first” approach to lawmaking. He brings this same philosophy to his legal practice, prioritizing your needs, going toe-to-toe with insurance companies, and demanding maximum recovery on your behalf.
Reach out to Joe today for a free consultation to learn more about how he’ll make a difference for you.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in South Carolina?
Understanding the common causes of South Carolina car accidents is essential if you’ve recently been hurt in one. Determining how an accident happened can allow you to identify liable parties and external factors that might have contributed to the wreck, a key aspect of any car accident injury case. The following are some of the top contributing factors to car accidents in South Carolina.
Anything that takes a driver’s hands, eyes, or attention away from driving is a distraction. This includes texting or talking on a phone, eating, talking to people in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, or even getting lost in thought. All these distractions can lead to drivers missing critical events, objects, or cues or losing control of their vehicles, significantly increasing the likelihood of a collision.
Driving Under the Influence
Alcohol, drugs, or any psychoactive substance can severely impair a driver’s motor skills, judgment, and reaction times. Alcohol, for example, slows brain function and affects thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination — all vital safe driving abilities. Drugs, whether prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), or recreational, often have similar or even more profound effects in even smaller quantities.
Driving recklessly goes beyond simple negligence. It’s characterized by a deliberate and wanton disregard for laws and the safety of others. A reckless driver might change lanes abruptly without signaling, fail to yield the right of way, ignore traffic signs, or even drive against the flow of traffic. All of these behaviors significantly increase the risk of accidents.
An extreme form of aggressive driving, road rage can sometimes escalate to intentional violence. Driver aggression can manifest in different ways, including speeding, tailgating, gesturing rudely, shouting abuse, and threatening or causing physical harm to others. Some aggressive drivers even escalate to using their vehicles as weapons, attempting to run other drivers off the road for perceived offenses.
Fatigue or drowsiness can significantly reduce a driver’s alertness, delay reactions, and impair decision-making skills. Lack of proper rest, long driving periods without breaks, or driving during normal sleeping hours can all contribute to a driver falling asleep at the wheel, which can prove deadly.
Going too fast reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or road hazards and increases the distance a vehicle travels once the driver reacts to a dangerous situation. Driving at higher speeds also increases the likelihood of drivers losing control of their vehicles, especially if they have to change lanes suddenly or are driving defective cars.
Following too closely behind another vehicle does not allow for enough stopping distance if the driver ahead brakes suddenly. Tailgating can easily result in a rear-end collision, especially on highways where vehicles travel at high speeds in close quarters.
Weather conditions such as rain, snow, fog, or ice can significantly affect a driver’s visibility and control over their vehicle. Rain creates slick and slippery surfaces, making it harder for vehicles to grip the road. Snow and ice can be even more challenging as they diminish traction even further. Fog and other air particles can reduce visibility to dangerous levels.
Poor Road Conditions
Roadway issues like potholes, uneven road surfaces, lack of signage, and debris can all contribute to accidents. In some cases, bad road design features like sharp curves, poor lighting, or insufficient lane markings could contribute to accidents, too. Some drivers don’t have time to react to these conditions and avoid crashes, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the hazardous roads.
Failure to Yield
Serious accidents can stem from drivers not yielding the right of way at intersections, pedestrian crosswalks, or when merging onto highways. Right-of-way rules are designed to establish the flow of traffic and prevent collisions. When drivers ignore these rules, they put themselves and others on the road at risk.
Failure to Stop
This is when drivers ignore stop signs or red traffic lights or fail to stop for school buses or pedestrian crossings. These traffic control measures are in place to ensure road user safety. Failing or refusing to stop when appropriate can lead to side-impact collisions, pedestrian accidents, and other severe auto wrecks.
Novice or inexperienced drivers often lack the knowledge or skill to respond effectively to challenging or unpredictable driving situations, like sudden traffic changes, vehicle malfunctions, or complex interchanges. These drivers also commonly lack good judgment or take unnecessary risks, such as speeding or reckless driving.
The effects of old age include decreased physical functioning, memory, and cognitive ability, all of which can limit a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle properly. Older drivers could be more prone to causing auto accidents due to bad vision or hearing loss, while others could be suffering from an impairment created by prescription medication use.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Unsafe, erratic, or improper lane changes happen when drivers neglect to signal intent, fail to ensure the road is clear before changing lanes, or change lanes too abruptly. This type of behavior can lead to rear-end collisions, sideswipe accidents, or even multi-vehicle pile-ups.
Making turns without signaling appropriately or yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic is another common cause of road accidents. Taking turns at high speeds, misjudging the sharpness of turns, and ignoring road conditions can also contribute to severe collisions.
Mechanical problems or defects like brake failures, tire blowouts, steering issues, faulty wipers, or non-functioning headlights can all cause accidents. Some drivers aren’t even aware of these defects until it’s too late. Poor maintenance is a factor in many accidents, but certain defects stem from manufacturing or design flaws, which can compromise even the most well-maintained vehicle.
What Are Common Injuries Caused in Car Accidents?
Car accidents can result in a wide variety of injuries, ranging from minor to life-threatening. The type of injury often depends on the circumstances of the accident, including factors like the speed of the vehicles, the point of impact, and whether occupants were wearing seatbelts.
Here are some of the most common examples:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Herniated discs
- Neck injuries
- Knee trauma
- Sprains and strains
- Fractured ribs
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Torn ligaments
- Crush injuries
- Skull fractures
- Facial disfigurement
- Soft tissue injuries
- Chest injuries
- Eye injuries
- Pelvic injuries
What Compensation Can I Pursue in a Car Accident Claim?
If you were hurt in a car accident due to someone else’s wrongful behavior, you could be entitled to compensation for the losses you suffered as a result. Common types of compensable losses you can claim in a South Carolina car accident injury case include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Rehabilitation costs
- Permanent disability
- Property damage
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in South Carolina?
The time limit for filing personal injury and property damage lawsuits resulting from car accidents in South Carolina is three years. This means you have three years from the date of the accident to sue a liable party or parties. The time limit for a wrongful death accident lawsuit is the same, but the three-year window starts on the date of the death, which might not be the accident date.
If you fail to file your lawsuit within the required time frame, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case, regardless of its merits. This would mean you lose your right to seek any compensation for your injuries and losses from the other party.
Given the complexity of personal injury law and the strict filing deadlines involved, hiring an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer is strongly recommended. They can file all required documents correctly and on time, relieving you of stress and allowing you to focus on healing. They can also guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurers, and work to maximize your compensation.
How a Charleston, SC, Lawyer Can Help in an Auto Accident Case
The role of an experienced Charleston, SC, auto accident lawyer goes beyond the negotiating table and the courtroom. They also serve as your guide through the entire legal process, providing vital support, advice, and representation by:
- Offering professional advice about the potential value of your claim
- Gathering and analyzing evidence to support your case
- Helping to establish the other driver’s negligence or fault
- Coordinating with healthcare providers to understand the extent of your injuries
- Collaborating with other experts to reconstruct the accident, if necessary
- Demanding fair compensation for the potential long-term effects of your injuries
- Handling communications with the other party’s attorney or insurance company
- Conducting negotiations with insurance companies on your behalf
- Handling case paperwork and filing legal documents on time
- Working to secure maximum compensation for your injuries
- Determining whether any special circumstances apply to your case
- Standing up to insurance companies that use unfair tactics
- Representing you in and preparing you for court if your case goes to trial
Contact an Experienced Charleston, SC, Car Accident Lawyer Today
Let Joe Cunningham shoulder the burden of your legal fight to recover compensation from an auto accident. Contact Joe Cunningham Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation.