Charleston Auto Accident Lawyer
Auto accident lawyers … are they necessary? It’s heartbreaking to watch as the number of auto accidents across the country continues to climb. Between smart phones, texting, increasingly
Those injured in these terrible accidents must endure painful surgeries, lost work, rehabilitation and expensive medical bills, all because of the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of others. Adding insult to injury, many auto accident victims discover how daunting it can be to collect money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance settlement process forces already exhausted people to deal with savvy insurance claims adjusters whose sole job it is to ensure your case settles for as little money as possible. To find out more about the South Carolina auto accident claims process, why you should obtain the services of a qualified auto accident lawyer ( they can get help fight for the money your family deserves), keep reading.
Auto Accident Lawyer – Nothing But the Stats
The most recent report put together by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety indicates that a traffic accident happens in the state every 4.9 minutes. While injury producing accidents occur ever 17 minutes, deadly crashes happen every 10 hours. All in all, more than 800 fatal car accidents occur across South Carolina every year.
While these lost lives represent tragic and often unnecessary losses, what is even more alarming is the number of injury producing collisions. Though there are more than 800 deadly accidents each year, the state estimates that more than 100,000 total collisions take place every year. Of this total, more than 30,000 result in some form of injury to the occupants of the vehicles. While only a small share ultimately proves deadly, the list of debilitating injuries that can arise from such collisions is long. These life-long injuries can lead to permanent disability and the loss of a person’s enjoyment of life.
Beyond the terrible human toll these car accidents take, there is a similarly high financial price to pay. According to numbers gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes cost South Carolinians more than $1 billion each and every year. Between millions of dollars spent on medical care and hundreds of millions in lost work time, the costs of auto accidents are truly staggering.
Common Auto Accident Injuries:
An experienced auto accident lawyer is too familiar with fatal and debilitating car crashes. The simple physics behind a car accident reveals the reason that they can be so deadly. When two fast-moving, heavy objects heading in the opposite direction collide with one another, the amount of force exerted on the occupants of those objects is immense. Though a wide array of physical injuries can result from such auto accidents, there are several categories that are more common and, sadly, more often debilitating.
The first group of common auto accident injuries includes brain and head injuries. Car accidents frequently cause traumatic brain injuries because of the speed with which a person’s body is forced to slow down. Though the seat belts hold the person’s body in place and minimize damage from an accident, nothing exists to keep the person’s brain from jostling around inside the skull. When a car accident occurs, the brain continues moving after impact, crashing into the skull with great force. These closed-head injuries can lead to concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injuries. These injuries are often deceptive because it can initially appear as if nothing is wrong. An auto accident lawyer can attest that often later symptoms can begin to surface but the problem is often, if an auto accident lawyer was not consulted with from the start could result in high costs because immediate care was not sought out in the beginning.
Neck and Back Injuries
Another large category of auto accident injuries includes harm to a person’s neck and back. Neck injuries such as whiplash and neck strain occur when a person’s head snaps back after coming to an abrupt halt. This can strain muscles as well as cause lasting damage to a person’s nervous system.
Back injuries happen when the force of a car accident causes bodies to twist or absorb unusual amounts of pressure. This can lead to pressure on vertebrae, spinal problems and even fractures. Like head injuries, neck and back pain can take some time to show up after the accident, appearing minimal at first and growing into serious pain and discomfort later on.
Another very common injury suffered in South Carolina according to auto accident lawyers that have tried many cases, involves facial damage, including scrapes, cuts and bruises. Car accidents frequently result in broken glass and other debris, which can cause lacerations and even facial fractures. The force of the impact of an airbag has also been known to cause facial injuries, including problems with a person’s jaw or even dental issues.
Finally, chest injuries frequently arise from serious car accidents. These injuries are often contusions or bruises, typically from the force of a seat belt or impact with the steering wheel. However, in other cases where the accident involved even more force and the person may have come into contact with the dashboard or been ejected from the car, broken ribs and serous internal injuries are possible.
Auto Accident Lawyer – The Claims Process:
Now that you know about some of the harm that can come from South Carolina auto accidents, let’s discuss the steps you should take following an accident to lead to eventual financial compensation. A competent auto accident lawyer can help you through the whole process.
File a Report
First things first, when you’ve experienced a Charleston, SC auto accident where injury or substantial property damage has occurred, any auto accident lawyer will inform you that you are legally obligated to notify local law enforcement authorities. Once the police officers arrive, cooperate fully with the filing of the report, but avoid making any statements that imply responsibility for the accident. Refrain from apologizing and generally minimize discussion with the other driver in the accident to avoid having statements used against you later.
Assuming your condition allows it, make sure to exchange information with the other driver, getting the person’s name, contact information and insurance details. Also, jot down any important information concerning the wreck, where your cars were positioned, what may have caused the crash, etc. Also write down the names and contact information for any witnesses who may have seen the crash and could testify about who was at fault. Later this will prove to be useful information to give to the auto accident lawyer handling your case.
Go See a Doctor
Once the reports are done, it is critical that you take yourself to a doctor to be checked out. As we discussed before, many injuries may not present themselves right away. Things like traumatic brain injuries or head and neck damage might appear minimal initially, but grow into a serious problem down the line. By going to a doctor early on, you can secure treatment early and hopefully avoid having your health deteriorate further.
Going to the doctor soon after a crash is also a good idea because it minimizes the risk that the insurance company accuses you down the road of faking your health problems. When victims wait before seeking medical care, insurers can sometimes twist this delay into an indication they were never really hurt in the first place or that the injuries that did occur happened elsewhere and were not tied to the auto accident. Seeking treatment as soon possible and having your condition placed into an official medical record is a good way to help the auto accident lawyer to bolster your case.
Deciding who is at fault in a South Carolina auto accident is a critical aspect of the fight to recover damages. And the more detailed information available to the auto accident lawyer the better. Fault in South Carolina depends on whose negligence, recklessness, or carelessness lead to the accident. Plaintiffs are responsible for showing that the defendant failed to operate the car in a reasonably prudent manner and that this failure was responsible for the injury-producing accident.
After an auto accident attorney has been retained to file your case, it is crucial to assemble all the documents necessary before approaching the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That means reaching out to doctors, radiologists, chiropractors, hospitals, rehab facilities and any other medical providers that offered treatment following the accident. The medical reports and bills need to be assembled and accident reports need to be collected. Witness statements can be gathered and, in some instances, accident “reconstructionists” may need to be consulted. Once all of this is done, the auto accident attorney has the documents necessary to file a demand letter with the insurance carrier responsible for the damages.
File Demand Letter
The demand letter is an explanation of exactly what happened in the accident and the harm that the accident led to for the plaintiff. The letter should discuss the injuries sustained by the plaintiff, in detail, and lay out all the expenses associated with the injury claim. If there are continuing health problems that will require future care, these too need to be laid out and costs estimated. Finally, the demand letter needs to request an amount of money that will fully compensate the victim for the harm he or she has suffered. Once the demand letter has been sent to the insurance company, a claims adjuster will review the matter and the settlement negotiations process will begin. You can keep in touch with your auto accident lawyer, to monitor the progress, but you will have to be patient as the process may take several months to resolve.
The Settlement Process – Hire a Good Auto Accident Lawyer
As with any important negotiation, the settlement process can take a while and requires the skill of a professional who can go toe-to-toe with insurance claims adjusters. It’s up to your auto accident lawyer to push back against any lowball offers and insist that the insurance carrier properly compensate you for the pain you’ve endured.
A common mistake made during the settlement process is when injured plaintiffs decide to settle to early, jumping at the first offer made by the insurance company. Though it’s certainly understandable why a person would like to finish with a case and move on with their life, the reality is that rash decisions can end up costing you big money in the long-run. A good auto accident lawyer can help you balance impatience with reason. In other words an auto accident lawyer may determine that a few extra weeks of patience and “sticking to your guns” can result in a settlement worth several thousand dollars more in compensation.
A good demonstration of the harm that can be caused by rushing to settle an auto injury case is the following example. Let’s say a person suffered some broken bones, neck and back injuries following an accident. They went to a doctor, underwent surgery on their neck and back and had their broken bones set. It appeared as if the injuries were dealt with so the case moved forward towards the settlement phase. In a rush to secure money and end the matter, the plaintiff accepts the first offer, an amount that compensates the victim for the medical bills to that point.
The problem is that if in a month or two down the line the neck and back pain reemerges, that plaintiff is now out of luck. With the settlement deal signed, there will be no more options to go back and ask for more money, even if there are new medical bills connected to the accident.
It’s for this exact reason that rushing to settle a case can be destructive in the long-term. You need to give yourself time to heal and be sure that there are no ongoing medical conditions that will require further treatment. If there are, the settlement will need to include special allocations of money to ensure that all subsequent surgeries, doctor visits and lost work time are compensated. By rushing, you could end up cheating yourself out of some badly needed money. Let your auto accident lawyer be your guide.
David Aylor has assisted countless injured individuals across South Carolina and helped secure damages for the harms they’ve suffered. David Aylor understands that auto accidents can lead to stress and confusion, leaving injured motorists and their families with expensive medical bills and worry over how to move forward. If you’ve been injured in a South Carolina auto accident and have concerns, feel free to contact David Aylor today. He is a qualified AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER. Call 843.577.5530 for a free consultation today.