Car Accidents: Not Just an Inconvenience
Accidents happen every day or hour of our lives. They are so common, in fact, that you may have been a part of more than one in your lifetime already. Knowing what to expect following an accident and what is required of you can significantly benefit you in attaining the outcome you deserve and minimizing the inconvenience in your life.
First things first, contact law enforcement and seek medical attention for all necessary parties. If available, exchange information with the other parties and any potential witnesses to the accident so you can contact them in the future if needed. Gather any photo or video evidence that you can detailing property damage, and document everything.
Contact your insurance company and notify them of the accident and the required basic details. Then, contact an experienced attorney who can help ensure you followed the best steps and how to navigate the rest of the process.
Why it’s Important Not To Share Too Much Information With Your Insurance
Each state has a method for assigning fault after a car accident, and that calculation is used to determine what compensation each party will receive. In South Carolina, we follow the modified comparative fault rule. This rule means that each party affected by the accident is assigned a percentage of fault after reviewing the accident. If you were more than 51% at fault for the accident, it generally means you aren’t entitled to compensation. If you were less than that, your percentage calculation would reduce the damages awarded.
For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for the accident occurring, the total damages awarded to you would be reduced by that amount. So, if $10,000 were awarded, you would only receive $ 8,000 because of the 20% reduction.
As you can see, assigning fault in an accident case is crucial to determining what, if anything, you are eligible for. This aspect is why, when speaking with your insurance company, it’s best to answer the basic questions and politely decline additional questions to avoid inadvertently assuming more of the guilt than is reasonable for you.
What If The Other Driver is Underinsured?
One of drivers’ most common oversights when purchasing insurance is to add Underinsured Motorist Coverage or UIM. If a serious accident occurs and there isn’t enough insurance to cover it, this adds another layer of protection for you to ensure you are rightfully compensated.
There is no requirement for this coverage in South Carolina, but your agent is required to offer it to you in a specific way. If you choose to decline, but it wasn’t offered effectively, you may have the option to add it later to protect yourself.
An Added Layer of Protection
Similar to the option of Underinsured Motorist Coverage is Personal Injury Protection, or PIP. PIP offers added protection in that it can help cover the costs of medical bills you incur beyond what your insurance can cover. PIP coverage typically covers up to a certain amount, commonly up to $10,000.
If you don’t have this coverage, consult your attorney about contacting your insurance agent to see if it can be added following an accident. The critical component here is handling communication for you so you don’t subject yourself to further questioning by your insurance company.
Should I Pay Medical Bills as I Receive Them?
One common mistake people make after an accident is avoiding paying their medical bills with the idea that they will pursue legal action and that they will take care of the bills. The issue with this is that, in some cases, this can affect your credit or create other problems by being past due on your bills.
Always pay your bills as they come in if you can, and work on pursuing damages to get the money back at the case’s conclusion.
Your Best Interest? Or Theirs?
Keep in mind that insurance companies typically have their clients and their company’s best interests at heart rather than yours. It is just cold, hard facts and part of the business. So, who advocates for you? Who negotiates a settlement? Who ensures you have navigated the process effectively to ensure you are not settling for less than you deserve?
You guessed it, an experienced and driven attorney who understands how the process works and understands that insurance companies are not typically on your side in this situation. Your attorney becomes your fierce advocate, has your best interest at heart, and proceeds through pursuing your damages with this as a priority.
Not Just Your Ordinary Law Office
With nearly 30 years of experience, we have helped clients throughout the area with their personal injury needs and other areas of law. If you don’t deal with negotiations or formal communication with insurance companies or the other party’s legal representation daily, you are not expected to be great at it.
Experienced attorneys understand the process and can handle some negotiations or communication for you, so you don’t have to worry about that. Don’t settle for less than you deserve just to avoid the hassle. Work with a trusted and established attorney to navigate the process and come up with a reasonable conclusion without leaving you in financial duress.
Contact our office today at (864) 689-4482 to learn how we can help you. We will schedule a strategy session with you to learn more about the specifics of your accident and discuss the next steps and your options. We look forward to helping you get the compensation you rightfully deserve.