Case: Pedestrian Hit by DUI Driver in Downtown Charleston
In October of 2018, a young woman was walking in downtown Charleston when she was hit by a car. She and her friends were walking in the crosswalk at the intersection of Calhoun Street and Meeting Street when a vehicle hit her from behind, causing her to flip onto the hood and roll over the roof of the car, then finally landing hard on the pavement. The driver who hit her proceeded to turn the car around and hit several other vehicles in the process. During his getaway, he hit another car and then crashed into a pole in Marion Square. The driver was extremely intoxicated and charged with a DUI.
The young woman was taken to MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) Hospital. Fortunately, she sustained no major injuries or broken bones from the impact.
Attorney Kelly Alfreds of the Steinberg Law Firm took on this young woman’s case in 2018 and fought to get her the compensation she deserved from this DUI crash. The drunk driver had an insurance policy of $25,000/$50,000, which is the minimum insurable limits allowed by South Carolina law. This means there is only $50,000 in coverage to be split between all people involved in the accident but one person cannot recover more than $25,000. There was not enough coverage and the insurance company was offering less than $10,000.
Attorney Alfreds argued with the insurance company’s interpretation of the incident and demanded the insurance company treat her client as a separate occurrence and the other cars struck as separate accidents, stating that when the driver turned around, the vehicles struck became separate accidents. This argument would mean the drunk driver’s insurance company would have to pay out $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for each vehicle that he struck. Attorney Alfreds was successful in her argument and was able to get the injury victim $25,000 from the driver’s liability insurance coverage.
Attorney Alfreds then brought a UIM (Uninsured Motorist) claim and a claim for PIP (personal injury protection) against her client’s own insurance policy. The UIM adjuster offered $2,000 and refused to pay any PIP benefits stating that PIP benefits were subject to a setoff of what she already received from the liability recovery. Attorney Alfreds filed a lawsuit. Attorney Alfreds argued PIP benefits are not subject to a setoff and cited Cothran v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 427 S.C. 545, 831 S.E.2d 919 (2019). At mediation the client accepted $37,500 in UIM (Underinsured Motorist) coverage and recovered her full amount of $10,000 in PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage.
The Steinberg Law Firm attorneys fight to get their clients the compensation they deserve and will not settle for less. They will look for every available option for compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of others, call our personal injury attorneys today at (843) 720-2800. We have offices in downtown Charleston, Goose Creek, and Summerville. We offer free consultations and do not collect a fee unless we win your case.