Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC
By: Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC

How Insurance Compensation Works in South Carolina Car Accidents

Car Accident

Understanding what insurance is available to you after a car accident in South Carolina is a critical, yet often confusing, part of every personal injury case. If you were injured in a car accident and were found not at-fault for the accident, or only partially at fault (50% or less), then you are likely eligible to receive compensation for the accident and resulting damages. Generally, it is the at-fault person’s insurance company that is primarily responsible for paying your compensation. This article will discuss the different insurance policies you can rely on for compensation, what happens if your damages exceed the at-fault party’s coverage, and much more.

What Insurance Policy is Used to Pay My Damages After a SC Car Accident?

South Carolina is an “at-fault” state, meaning that generally the at-fault party’s insurance is responsible for compensating you for your damages after a car accident.

In South Carolina, all car insurance policies include at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage and $25,000 in property damage coverage. This is the “minimum limit” for liability insurance. Sometimes, this is enough to cover your medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, time missed from work, property damage, and other damages.

However, in many cases, this is not sufficient to cover all past, present, and future associated costs…

What Happens If Your Damages Exceed the Limit Liability Policy?

If your damages from the car accident exceed the amount of liability coverage, you have other options under South Carolina law.

In addition to minimum coverage, the at-fault driver may have:

  • Excess Liability Coverage
  • Umbrella Policies
  • Underinsured Coverage
  • Assets

Excess Liability Coverages and Umbrella Policies are additional insurance coverages an at-fault driver may have, while underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is optional for purchase under your own auto policy. UIM can be used if the at-fault party is underinsured, meaning your damages surpass the at-fault driver’s available coverages. Our car accident lawyers will work hard to determine all the potential coverages available to you.

If the at-fault party was uninsured at the time of the accident, then you may also have options to get compensation from your own insurance policy. Such as through:

  • Uninsured Coverage
  • Medical Payments (Medpay)
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is mandatory under state law, and it covers bodily and property damages if the at-fault party does not have insurance. There are strict conditions in which you can recover compensation using UM. Medpay and PIP coverages are optional coverages you may have on your own policy that can help you recover out of pocket medical expenses.

Does the Insurance Company Have to Disclose Policy Limits in SC?

In automobile accident cases, South Carolina law (S.C. Code Section 38-77-250) requires the at-fault party’s insurance company to provide the declarations page, commonly called a “dec page”, within 30 days of the formal request, as long as the request was done properly and meets the criteria required under the statute.  Our team is experienced with ensuring the statutory requirements are met when requesting declarations pages. Fleet or commercial vehicle policies are generally exempt from the mandatory disclosure, but sometimes provide declaration pages upon our request.

To obtain your own dec page, you may simply reach out to your auto insurance provider and request it.

Please note that this law only applies to liability coverage, not umbrella or excess coverage. Typically, before we agree to resolve a claim, our lawyers will request an affidavit from the at-fault party confirming that they do not have any additional policies or excess coverage from a separate insurance provider that would provide coverage for the accident.

Understanding the Auto Insurance Declaration Page

Example auto insurance declaration page

A car insurance declaration page reveals a lot of helpful information, especially when it comes to your SC car accident case. It outlines critical details such as:

  • Policyholder Information
  • Policy Number
  • Effective Dates
  • Expiration Date
  • Coverage Types
  • Coverage Limits
  • Deductibles
  • Premium
  • Additional Insureds
  • Endorsements
  • Vehicle Information

Our lawyers will use this information to optimize your claim, help you understand what your options are, and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and all other damages caused by the accident.

Were You or a Loved One Injured in a South Carolina Car Accident? 

If you or a loved one was hurt in a South Carolina car wreck, you shouldn’t be left alone to navigate the complex legal system. Our team is here to help you and answer any questions you may have or may not even think to ask. Get a complimentary and secure consultation today by calling our car accident lawyers in Columbia, SC at (803) 888-2200 or our Charleston car accident lawyers at (843) 888-9000. You may also email or start a live chat on our website. For your convenience, we are available for you 24/7 and handle cases throughout the state.

About the Author – J. Eric Cavanaugh

I’m Eric Cavanaugh, and I am a founder and personal injury attorney here at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC. My practice primarily focuses on trucking and car accidents, representing victims and their loved ones across the state of South Carolina. I care deeply about people and making sure every client of mine and of the firm is getting the care and compensation they deserve physically, financially, and emotionally.

Seeing the impact that serious accidents have on people never gets easier, but I feel a great sense of pride in being able to get people the justice they deserve and providing hope in what’s often a very difficult time in their lives. I’m committed to ensuring that people know their rights and that those rights are protected at all times throughout their case and beyond; and I’m passionate about fighting to make South Carolina roads safer for residents and visitors.

If you have any questions about what was covered in this article, in general, or are interested in becoming a client at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC, give me a call.