In a recent year, 53,596 people suffered injuries in car accidents across South Carolina. A further 1,198 lost their lives in traffic crashes. These numbers demonstrate the ongoing hazards all road users face every day. When another party’s negligence causes someone harm in a car crash, the injured person has a right to recover compensation for their accident-related losses. Here is what to expect from start to finish in a South Carolina car accident injury claim.
Seeking Medical Care
Seeking prompt treatment is one of the most critical aspects of a car accident claim. First, receiving early medical care can increase your chances of recovering from your injuries. Additionally, swift treatment will create a record linking the accident to the physical harm you have suffered.
During the course of your treatment, be sure to save all documents relating to diagnostic scans, doctor’s visits, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation. This documentation will demonstrate the nature of your injuries and the financial costs of your medical care.
Reporting the Accident
Anytime you suffer injuries or someone dies in a traffic accident, South Carolina law requires you to report the crash to law enforcement. The responding police officer will file a report noting:
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- The names of the individuals involved
- Information about the vehicles involved
- Any injuries that occurred during the collision
- Information about eyewitnesses to the crash
- A diagram of the accident
- An initial assessment of fault for the collision
Be sure to request a copy of the report. Alternatively, your attorney can do so for you. You can also bolster your claim by taking photos of the accident scene and your injuries and preserving any physical evidence from the crash site.
Although the police report provides an initial assessment of who is at fault for the crash, further investigations can often provide a fuller picture. Your car accident attorney will thoroughly investigate the crash to determine who was at fault. It is worth noting that South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, so your compensation may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. Your attorney will do everything possible to establish that the other party was chiefly or entirely to blame for the accident and your resulting losses.
Insurance Claims Process
After an accident, you should notify both your own auto insurer and the at-fault driver’s liability insurer about the crash. The insurers will open a claim and assign an adjuster to handle your case.
Your car accident attorney can take over all correspondence and negotiations so that you don’t have to deal with the insurers directly. Your lawyer will submit documentation to support your injury claim, including medical records and bills, police reports, photos, and witness statements. Using this evidence, your attorney will calculate full compensation for your losses and make a demand to the insurer. After evaluating your claim, the insurer will make a settlement offer, usually lower than the demand. Your attorney may then negotiate back and forth toward an agreeable middle-ground settlement amount.
Factors in Settlement Amounts
A variety of factors can influence how much compensation the at-fault driver’s insurer may agree to pay in a settlement, including:
- The full costs of your medical treatment expenses, property damage, lost income, and other accident-related expenses
- The type and extent of your injuries, your prognosis, and potential for permanent impairment
- Any loss of future earnings capacity if your condition prevents you from returning to your previous job
- The level of available insurance coverage and assets of the liable parties
- The strength of evidence substantiating your losses
If No Settlement Is Reached
If the at-fault driver’s insurance provider refuses to offer fair compensation in line with your losses, your attorney may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit. The threat of filing or participating in a lawsuit often convinces insurers to reach more reasonable settlements, knowing that a trial could lead to even higher payouts.
If no pre-trial settlement can be reached, your car accident lawyer will build the strongest case possible and represent you before a judge and jury. After hearing arguments and evidence from both sides, the judge or jury will determine which side wins and award appropriate financial damages.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today
Many accident victims begin the claims process assuming that it will be a straightforward matter. However, many aspects of car accident settlements can present unexpected challenges. Working with an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer can relieve your stress and allow you to focus on healing.
The attorneys at Murphy Crantford Meehan have the skills and resources to maximize your compensation through diligent investigation, aggressive negotiations, and tenacious litigation if necessary. Contact us online or call us at (843) 396-3840 today for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.