How Personal Property Tax Rates May Contribute to South Carolina Car Accidents
When most people think about the probable causes of a car accident, taxes do not come to mind. In South Carolina, vehicle property taxes are among the highest in the nation, and property taxes may contribute to the state’s high rate of motor vehicle collisions. You might be wondering how that is possible.
According to a recent report, South Carolina ranks 45th regarding vehicle property tax rates. For example, in Charleston County, the effective property tax rate on a motor vehicle can be as high as 10.5 percent. For a vehicle with a purchase price of $35,000 with an assessment ratio of 10.5%, the assessment comes out to be $3,680. That means that the total 2021 net tax would be $1102.60 in Tax District 71 – City of Charleston, Downtown. This tax is paid every year.
The high cost of owning a vehicle in the state leads to South Carolina car owners postponing the purchase of new vehicles and extending the life of their current vehicle beyond what one might consider prudent. In addition, higher taxes mean less disposable income to put toward regular vehicle maintenance including new tires, brakes, and wipers. Couple that with the fact that South Carolina is the 10th poorest state in the country and we can see how many cars on the road quite possibly don’t belong there.
How High Personal Property Taxes May Increase the Number of Car Accidents
When you set out to buy a new or used car, the vehicle’s purchase price is just one of the factors to consider. You also look at the estimated annual cost to maintain the vehicle. For example, buying a large SUV will consume more and often, more expensive premium gas, making it more expensive to drive. Or, buying a foreign-made vehicle may subject you to higher repair bills if the car needs maintenance.
Not only do South Carolinians have to pay for vehicle registration and licensing fees, but they are required to pay property taxes for their vehicle. According to the 2019 South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book, a total of 58,410 non-fatal injuries were sustained from car accidents. As drivers delay the purchase of a new vehicle, the greater risks they pose for future auto accidents.
According to Section 12-37-2680, the South Carolina Department of Revenue creates vehicle tax assessment guides for each county. Once property taxes are determined, drivers are expected to pay their taxes before applying for a new license or renewing a license. Also, if a new car is purchased, new car owners have a grace period of 120 days from the date of purchase to pay their personal property taxes.
Who Is Responsible for Car Accidents Caused by Dangerous or Poorly Maintained Vehicles?
Older vehicles can pose serious hazards when they are not properly maintained. In addition, many cars on the road have already been involved in accidents and have not been repaired. As a South Carolina driver, you may have witnessed poorly maintained vehicles with bumpers dangling or mufflers dragging along the pavement. If a part of the vehicle falls onto the road, other drivers may suddenly need to swerve to avoid hitting the part and potentially cause a severe accident.
Drivers have a legal duty to ensure that their vehicles are safe to drive on the roads. If a vehicle owner continues to operate an old car, they must keep up with all maintenance to keep their vehicle safe. The owner can be held responsible if deciding to put off vehicle maintenance results in a car accident.
Of course, to successfully bring a car accident lawsuit against a driver who failed to maintain their vehicle, you must prove a connection between the accident and the deferred maintenance. Although pursuing a case can be difficult, it is best to partner with an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate all avenues to secure compensation for you. This may include obtaining camera footage of the incident, maintenance records of the vehicle and many other items that might require a lawyer and a subpoena to secure.
Contact the Steinberg Law Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation
An insurance company may blame the vehicle’s manufacturer or argue that the negligent driver could have done nothing to prevent the accident. If you recently sustained injuries from a car accident that was caused by another driver’s failure to maintain their vehicle, reach out to the Steinberg Law Firm for immediate assistance.
Our South Carolina car accident lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm have been representing accident victims and their families since 1927. Over this time, we have developed an effective method for investigating, negotiating, and litigating complex injury cases.
We have recovered more than $500 million on behalf of our clients in the past ten years alone. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, reach out to the Steinberg Law Firm at (843) 720-2800 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.