Posts Tagged With: Insurance

What to do if you are involved in an automobile accident

One week before the South Carolina Bar Exam, my friend was struck by another car driven by a drunk driver. At the time of the accident, the roads were very wet due to the steady flow of rain. She told me how the impact of the hit and the slippery roads caused her car to slide several feet. A sense of panic and fear overwhelmed her as her car slid closer and closer to oncoming traffic. The sense of relief was even greater when finally; her car came to a halt. Soon after, she pulled over and so did the other car that struck her. The woman driving the car that hit my friend stumbled out of her vehicle.  Unsteady and shaky, my friend went on to tell me that she dialed the police immediately. The woman proceeded to plead with her to let her pay and leave. Quickly, my friend became aware that there was a strong possibility the woman might flee the scene of the accident. As she was talking to the police on the phone, she had the forsight to take down her tag number and noted the make and model of her car. So what was the outcome? Long story short, she didn’t flee, the police showed up, wrote a police report, searched her vehicle and arrested her.

Based on my experience and the law, I want to give you some advice regarding what you should do if you are involved in a car accident. First and foremost, don’t leave the scene of the accident. You can face criminal punishment for leaving the scene of an accident, particularly where injury is involved. Note, however, if you are involved in a car accident and you are in a remote area, proceed cautiously. It may be best to drive to the closest police station or public area to call the police.

Next, make sure to check on all the drivers and passengers. If someone is injured or trapped in a vehicle, you want to call for medical attention immediately. If everyone is okay, call the police.  It is important to obtain a police report of the accident so that if you have to be appear in Court, you have proofof the accident. It would also be wise to exchange information from the other driver and passengers involved in the accident. But, when conversing with the driver and passengers, be sure not to say too much. You don’t want to apologize for anything, if you do, that information could be used against in a Court of law.

Pictures, pictures, pictures! If you are able, take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. These pictures can serve as significant proof of who was at fault in the accident and how the injured party should be compensated.

When a police report is filed, insurance companies are usually contacted immediately. If you are the at fault driver, consult an attorney before you contact your insurance company or provide statements to any other insurance company.  Likewise, if you are not the at-fault driver, it would be advisable to contact an attorney to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.  Remember one thing, whether your interest in this information is for criminal defense purposes or for personal injury purposes: Insurance companies are in business to make money, not help people.  Money is priority number one.

If you are injured in the automobile accident, it is extremely important to keep track of your medical treatment. You should keep a diary containing notes of all your doctors’ visits and referrals. You should also keep an itemized list of all the medical expenses you have incurred.

Lastly, don’t give up. Law enforcement and insurance companies alike may give you a hard time in pursuing your case. But, remember, you do have a case, if your property or person was injured at the hands of another or if you are being charged with a criminal driving offense, Daniel Selwa will work hard to help you.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Insurance Companies, Personal Injury | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Driver Charged in Crash that Killed CCU Student – Wrongful Death Actions

Tragically, a young woman was killed this past week in a hit and run accident. She was crossing the street at approximately 12:00am when she was struck by a driver who then fled the scene of the accident. The man pictured in this WMBF news article is now facing reckless homicide charges for the hit and run accident that resulted in the death of this young woman. Driver charged in crash that killed CCU student –, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather. My heart goes out to the Groszack family as they mourn the loss of Elizabeth.

As a civilized society, our system provides a number of avenues by which one may be compensated for the loss of a loved one.  For some of those friends and family members of loved ones lost, comfort is taken in the idea that the wrongdoer will have to face punishment in a court of law for his or her wrongdoing and/or be held civilly accountable for their negligence.  But, even if the accused is found guilty of a criminal act or liable for their negligence, the sad reality is that the conviction and/or money damages will never bring the victim back to life nor will any amount of money put life back the way it was for the family.  Never have I heard a grieving family state that they felt whole from a jury award or a sentence handed down. Typically, criminal sentences in these type cases are disgusting.  I will go out on a limb and guess the guy above, if guilty, will get a probationary sentence or if drugs or alcohol were involved, a couple of years in jail. Our justice system allows for these actions to be taken, not only to address the suffering of the victim’s and their family but also to protect those in our community from similar acts occurring in the future.

The South Carolina Wrongful Death Act creates a cause of action for the death of any person by the intentional or neglectful act of another. An action for wrongful death is brought by a personal representative for the benefit of the family members of the deceased. The personal representative is usually the executor of the decedent’s estate. The parties in interest who the personal representative represent typically includes close family members. In a wrongful death action, you may be able to recover damages for your grief and sorrow, loss of companionship, mental shock and suffering as well as pecuniary loss among others. This particular case involved an automobile accident but a wrongful death action can be brought for a death resulting from medical malpractice and defective products as well. This is the most common avenue for families who have lost loved ones due to other’s negligence and/or intentional acts.

The impact of bringing this type of action not only addresses the family’s suffering but also acts as a deterrent to others.  Most of us carry car insurance.  With an act which is deemed negligent, a defendant who has insurance would be forced to pay through their insurance policy.  When the policy limits are exhausted, a plaintiff may also recover personal property and possibly real estate of the defendant, if the defendant has such assets.  Actions of this sort have shaped how our countries insurance laws work. One could argue that actions like this, shape our society as a whole. Take for example, insurance is required to drive.  Insurance is higher for at-risk drivers because of these wrongful death actions.  The more tickets you get, the higher risk you are for insurance purposes and the higher your rates are to purchase insurance.  High rates prevent some from driving legally.  If someone is caught driving without insurance, they are taken to jail.  As one might imagine, actions for wrongful death not only address those who have directly suffered but also can possibly prevent someone from killing a loved one of yours by keeping at-risk drivers off the road.

If you have experienced a tragic loss of a family member such as the one mentioned above, contact Daniel Selwa today. You deserve to be compensated for  the death of your loved one.  Most importantly, know your rights and exercise them.

Categories: News Story, Wrongful Death | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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