Teenage drivers, like drivers of any age, may get into accidents for a variety of reasons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main cause of teenage car accidents is the driver’s inexperience. The more they practice, the better they get.
However, until that time, teenage drivers remain at a higher risk of getting into—and dying in—car accidents. This article will help you understand your options after being hit by a teenage driver in Greenville, SC.
Other Factors that Contribute to Teenage Car Accidents
In addition to the teen driver’s lack of experience, the CDC reports that nighttime driving’s unique dangers—decreased visibility, glaring headlights, etc.—can also increase the risk of an accident. Furthermore, despite the well-publicized dangers of drinking and driving, alcohol continues to play a notable role in car accidents, including those involving teens.
Per the Insurance Information Institute (III), 15% of all fatal accidents involving a teen driver in 2018 also involved alcohol. This is less than other age groups but still far too high.
The Statute of Limitations
When you are deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit, there are several relevant laws you will have to remember. First and foremost is the statute of limitations. This is a law that restricts how much time you have to file a lawsuit. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations is usually three years, per South Carolina Annotated Code §15-3-530.
Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers in South Carolina
If you are filing a lawsuit in South Carolina, it is important to understand the difference between uninsured and underinsured drivers. Uninsured drivers have no insurance, and state law requires you to carry insurance to help pay for damages caused by such drivers. Underinsured drivers, however, do have insurance, but not enough to cover your bills.
There is no law requiring drivers to carry underinsured motorist insurance, though you can ask your insurance agent to add it to your policy.
Holding the Parent(s) Responsible
If the teen who caused your accident is a minor, the parent who signed their license application may be liable for any damage the teen caused, as explained in South Carolina Annotated Code §56-1-110.
You Could Be Eligible for Damages
Your accident has affected your life in many ways. For example, if you sustained any physical or mental injuries, you may be eligible for non-economic damages like:
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of consortium
If you lost money or are facing additional bills because of the accident, you may be eligible for economic damages like:
- Medical expenses
- Repair bills
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of employment
To be sure that you are asking for everything you qualify for, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer. They can help you complete your list of damages and even calculate an appropriate amount of money for each item.
The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
While you can file a lawsuit on your own if you want to, legal representation offers many benefits. A lawyer can take responsibility for all actions related to the lawsuit, including negotiating for a fair settlement. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about your case or the legal process.
In addition, many firms will even work on a contingent basis, so you will not pay them anything unless and until they succeed in getting you compensation. The following is a brief overview of what a lawyer may be able to do for you:
- Lead an investigation: To convince the liable party’s insurance company to pay damages, you may need supporting evidence from medical records, police reports, and more.
- Fill out forms: Paperwork is not as easy as it sounds. A lawyer can help you select the right forms, fill them out correctly, and submit them on time—or they can do it all for you.
- Negotiate on your behalf: Even if the insurance company is open to the idea of paying a pretrial settlement, they may need some persuading to offer you a fair deal.
- Arrange a trial: It is unusual that the insurance company will not settle out of court, but it does happen. A lawyer can represent you in the courtroom by questioning witnesses, delivering oral arguments, and more.
Contact our attorneys today
At Hammack Law Firm, we always strive to provide compassionate, supportive service to all of our clients. If you want help sorting through the main causes of teenage car accidents, figuring out how your accident happened, or any other aspect of your case, call a team member today at (864) 326-3333 for a free case evaluation.