CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -
South Carolina spent more than $550,000 on insurance claims between April and the end of June for claims made about minor car crashes involving government agencies, according to public records from the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund.
Back in November, Michael Lam's car was rear ended by an ambulance from Berkeley County EMS at a stoplight in Moncks Corner.
"I looked down at my phone, and about two seconds later, I felt the impact," Lam said. "And then I looked in my rear view, and there's these giant headlights staring at me."
Lam was just out trying to run a late-night errand.
"Right here is the damage that I got from the ambulance," Lam said, pointing to a small white mark on the back of his car.
That small car accident ended up costing the state's Insurance Reserve Fund more than $1,000.
Lam said his medical bill was only about $200. The other thousand, he was just given.
"Unprovoked. The person I spoke with on the phone just said, 'And, we're going to give you a thousand dollars,'" Lam said.
Lam's money is just a small chunk of what the state paid between the beginning of April and the end of June: About 140 claims totaling $550,000 for minor car accidents like Michael's.
That number doesn't include claims listed as collisions. That money comes from your taxpayer dollars.
"My one concern was just how flippantly they kind of threw money at me real quick," Lam said.
That behavior makes Michael wonder if all of the payouts coming from the state are necessary.
Lam says his payout probably wasn't, but he obviously appreciates getting $1,000.
Even though he thinks more than 100 claims like this in three months is a bit excessive, he also understands that accidents can happen, even in government vehicles.
"Last thing I expected was to get hit by a government vehicle. But we're all human, so can't fault the driver too much. I guess," Lam said.
Charleston County responded to a request for comment saying they would need more time to provide a response.
Requests to the City of Charleston, the City of North Charleston, and Berkeley County for comment were not returned.
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