Types of Car Accidents


Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash can be challenging — physically, emotionally, financially, and even logistically. Many crash victims are shocked and disheartened when the compensation the insurance company offers them falls far short of covering the full extent of their suffering. This is where the help of a knowledgeable injury lawyer can make all the difference.

Enter Joe Cunningham. He’s committed to putting people like you first, just as he did as a U.S. Congressman representing South Carolina’s 1st District. With his comprehensive understanding of state and federal laws and strong track record of favorable results, you can count on Joe to work tirelessly in pursuit of the fair recovery you deserve.

Were you hurt in a car accident in Charleston, SC, that wasn’t your fault? Do you need help getting your life back on track? Then reach out to Joe Cunningham Law for a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Factors that can contribute to a car accident often include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Exceeding speed limits
  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Drunk driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Poor visibility
  • Illegal street racing
  • Improper turns
  • Driving against traffic/wrong-way driving
  • Teenage drivers
  • Aggressive driving/road rage
  • Drowsy driving
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Tailgating
  • Following too closely for the conditions/tailgating
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Vehicle design defects
  • Poor car maintenance
  • Inadequate signage
  • Hazardous construction or work zones
  • Failure to monitor blind spots
  • Car manufacturing defects
  • Uber/Lyft/rideshare accidents

What Are Common Types of Car Accidents in South Carolina?

Car accidents can occur in many different ways, each with its own set of unique circumstances and potential outcomes. Here are some common types of wrecks that occur in South Carolina:

  • Head-On Collisions – These types of accidents occur when the front ends of two vehicles collide. They are typically the result of a car crossing into oncoming traffic, which could be due to distracted driving, nodding off at the wheel, or a loss of vehicle control.
  • Rear-End Accidents – These are accidents in which one vehicle hits the back of another. They often occur when the following driver can’t stop in time due to distractions, the leading car stops abruptly, or poor road conditions affect visibility or traction.
  • Sideswipe Collisions – A sideswipe happens when two vehicles traveling adjacent to one another collide side-to-side. These crashes often occur because a driver drifts or changes lanes without noticing another vehicle next to them.
  • T-Bone Crashes – Also known as side-impact or broadside collisions, T-bone crashes occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another, making a T formation. These often happen at intersections when one driver fails to yield, such as by running a red light or stop sign.
  • Rollover Accidents – These accidents happen when a vehicle, most often a taller one like a truck or SUV, tips over onto its side or roof. Rollovers can occur due to sharp turns at high speeds, collisions, or “tripping,” which involves a car’s tire hitting something that causes it to roll.
  • Underride Accidents – An underride accident happens when a smaller vehicle collides with a larger vehicle, like a semi-truck, and slides under it. These are very dangerous accidents because the top part of the passenger vehicle often gets crushed, leading to serious injuries or fatalities.
  • Multi-Vehicle Pile-Ups – These are large accidents involving multiple cars, often on highways or freeways. They can occur due to a variety of factors, including poor roadway design, high speeds, traffic congestion, and limited visibility due to fog or heavy rain.
  • Hit-and-Run Accidents – A hit-and-run happens when a driver does not immediately stop at or return to the scene of a collision. These accidents are against the law, as victims don’t have legal recourse against the liable party. But because South Carolina requires all drivers to have uninsured motorist coverage, hit-and-run accident victims could still be entitled to recover compensation from their insurance carrier.

What Are the Damages I May Be Entitled to in an Auto Accident?

In South Carolina, if you get hurt in a car accident due to another party’s negligence, you could be entitled to damages in the form of financial compensation for such losses as:

  • Medical care expenses
  • Anticipated future medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Lost lifetime earning capacity
  • Crash-related out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost enjoyment or quality of life
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Property damage

In some cases where the defendant’s conduct is especially egregious, the court could award punitive damages in addition to compensation for the victim’s losses. This money is not meant as compensation for anything the victim lost but rather as a deterrent to prevent this wanton or reckless behavior.

What Should I Do If I Am Involved in an Accident?

Protecting your health, rights, and right compensation are highly important if you’ve been injured in a car accident. While each situation is unique and could require a different response based on the specifics, taking the following steps can lay the groundwork for a strong case:

  • Seek immediate medical attention.
  • Follow all medical advice and treatment plans to show you’re taking your health seriously.
  • Begin a journal about your physical and emotional state following the accident.
  • Document your injuries, treatments, and recovery progress as well.
  • Keep a record of all medical bills and expenses.
  • Report the accident to your insurance provider to avoid jeopardizing coverage.
  • Preserve evidence, such as clothing and personal items damaged in the accident.
  • Do not post about the accident or your injuries on social media.
  • Obtain a copy of the police accident report.
  • Do not provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance company without consulting a lawyer.
  • Keep track of any missed work and lost wages or other income.
  • Document any other expenses related to the accident.
  • Never accept the first settlement offer from insurance companies.
  • Consult a South Carolina auto accident injury lawyer as soon as possible.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit in South Carolina?

South Carolina’s time limit for most personal injury lawsuits, including those stemming from car accidents, is three years from the date of the incident that harmed you. If you don’t act within this period, you risk losing your right to sue and recover damages from liable parties. However, certain circumstances could alter this deadline. It’s wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you understand the time limit that applies to your case and to begin pursuing the compensation you deserve.

Whom Can I Hold Responsible for My Car Accident?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, one or multiple parties could be responsible for your injuries and related losses, such as:

  • Other Drivers – Another driver could be liable for an accident if they engaged in reckless driving, distracted driving, DUI, or failure to comply with traffic laws. If a driver’s actions directly caused an accident, you can hold them accountable.
  • Vehicle Owners – Whoever owns the car, such as the parents of teens who cause accidents, could be liable even if they were not driving the vehicle when the crash occurred. This might be the case if the owner knowingly lent their vehicle to an unfit or unlicensed driver.
  • Pedestrians or Cyclists – In certain situations, pedestrians or cyclists could potentially be to blame for a car accident, such as if they darted into traffic unexpectedly or failed to yield when required to do so.
  • Employers– If a motorist is involved in an accident while driving a company car or on company business, their employer could be held liable. This is especially true if the employer was negligent in hiring an unfit driver or did not properly maintain its vehicle.
  • Government Entities – If a car accident happened due to poor road maintenance or inadequate signage, the government responsible for designing or repairing the road could be liable. Cases against these entities are highly complex due to the numerous laws protecting government agencies from liability.
  • Car Manufacturers or Mechanics – If an accident happens due to a vehicle defect, the manufacturer of the car or its parts could be held liable. Similarly, a mechanic who performed maintenance on a vehicle could be responsible if they did the work improperly and contributed to the accident.
  • Insurance Companies – While insurance companies themselves are not typically considered “at fault” for an accident, they play a crucial role in compensating victims. The at-fault party’s insurance provider assumes liability on their behalf and generally pays out settlements as a result.

What Should I Do If I Think That the Car Accident Was Partially My Fault?

South Carolina follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule in car accident cases involving partial fault. Under this rule, you can still recover damages in a car accident lawsuit as long as you are not more at fault than the other driver or drivers involved.

However, if the court finds you partly to blame, your award could be reduced by a percentage equivalent to your share of fault. If you believe you were partially at fault, it’s important not to make any statements to the insurance companies and to consult a Charleston, SC, auto accident attorney immediately.

How Can a Charleston, SC, Car Accident Lawyer Help with My Claim?

A Charleston, SC, car accident lawyer like Joe Cunningham can support you and your injury case by:

  • Using their extensive knowledge of South Carolina laws to protect your rights
  • Explaining your options to you in plain English, not legalese
  • Gathering and analyzing vital evidence that supports your claim
  • Interviewing witnesses and collecting their statements to further strengthen your case
  • Using this evidence to prove the other party’s liability
  • Accurately estimating the true value of your case, including potential future losses
  • Negotiating effectively with insurance companies to demand a fair settlement
  • Reviewing any settlement offer to determine if it fairly compensates you for your losses
  • Taking your case to court, if necessary, and representing your interests at trial

Contact an Experienced Charleston, SC, Car Accident Attorney Today

Were you hurt in an accident someone else caused? Joe Cunningham stands ready to be in your corner and provide the support, legal expertise, and compassion you need.

Contact Joe Cunningham Law for a free consultation with a Charleston, SC, car accident lawyer and find out what your case could be worth.