Shortly after a car accident occurs, drivers are encouraged to exchange insurance information. That way, fault and liability can be determined after the fact, and the proper insurance companies can be placed on notice of the accident and can investigate.
Once the drivers are able, they should file a claim with their insurance companies. To be sure, in order to be compensated for the damages sustained after a car accident in South Carolina, you must file a claim with the relevant insurance company, or file a lawsuit if necessary. While there are some variations in the process depending on the circumstances of each case, in general there are certain common steps to follow when filing an insurance claim.
Steps for Filing Your Claim:
Identify the proper insurance carrier(s)
All drivers involved in an accident have a duty to provide each other with accurate insurance information. Sometimes, however, insurance information is not readily available, or you find out after the fact that it is not accurate. In many cases, the other driver does not have insurance at all, in contravention of South Carolina law. In any of these situations, it becomes critical to have an experienced auto accident attorney by your side to help you track down all available coverage, even potentially under your own insurance policy, if necessary.
Notify all relevant insurance companies, including your own
As soon as things have calmed down and you are able, you need to notify the insurers for all parties involved in the accident about the accident, including your own. Late notice or failure to notify is a defense an insurance company can bring to evade paying your claim, so do not wait to make the initial report. However, you should not give written or recorded statements or statements under oath to any insurance company, your own included, before seeking the advice of an experienced car accident attorney.
Get a full understanding of all damages before settling
Especially in cases where another driver is clearly at fault, an adjuster for the insurer of that party may offer you a quick settlement, with the hopes of not having to deal with your claim in the future. Even if it seems like a lot of money, it is not a good idea to agree to a settlement before you understand the nature and extent of any bodily injury and property damage you may have suffered as a result of the accident. Any settlement is in exchange of your right to sue, so don’t sign your rights away without fully defining the extent of the damages you have suffered.
Evaluate your case
Once you and your lawyer have established liability of another driver for the accident, and before submitting a demand to that driver’s insurance company, you need to determine how much to ask for. There is no pre-set formula used for determining the value of your claim, but there are many factors to consider, including property damage, medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and future medical expenses.
Competent and Trusted South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys
If you have been in a car accident and need help with your insurance claim, we invite you to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney at David Aylor Law Offices. Call or email now for a complimentary consultation, and find out how we can help you file your insurance claim if you have been involved in an accident in the Charleston, North Charleston, or Walterboro area.