Most drivers are aware of what is supposed to be done after a serious automobile accident. As instructed by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, all drivers should: stop their vehicle as quickly as is safely possible, help anyone who needs emergency medical assistance, remain at the scene of the accident until officers arrive and exchange all important personal identifying information. Key information includes your name, your address, an updated contact method and details of your insurance coverage. Unfortunately, you may encounter a situation where the other driver does not have valid insurance coverage. This makes an already stressful situation even more frustrating and confusing. All drivers need to know what to do in the event that an uninsured motorist causes their accident. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, an experienced Charleston auto accident lawyer can help.
South Carolina: Insurance Is Required
Under South Carolina law, all drivers are required to have a certain level of insurance coverage. Legally required insurance coverage can be broken down into different categories. First, all drivers must have personal liability coverage. This ensures that drivers will be able to cover accidents for which they are found to be at fault. Under the law, it is required that all drivers carry at least $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person involved in accident. All drivers should carry a minimum of $50,000 for total coverage injury per accident. Further, each driver must have at least $25,000 in liability coverage for accident related property damage. Finally, all drivers are also required to carry some form of uninsured motorist coverage.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Unfortunately, not all drivers will follow the law and carry the active insurance that they are required to have. Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to help protect you in the event that you are involved in an accident with a driver who fails to keep their insurance active. In this situation, you will generally be forced to recover accident compensation from your own insurance company. Depending on your damages, it is possible that your uninsured motorist coverage will, by itself, be sufficient to cover the full extent of your losses. However, in many cases, especially in cases with serious injuries, your uninsured motorist coverage will prove to be inadequate. It is a good practice to know exactly how much uninsured motorist coverage you have. You may wish to obtain additional coverage.
How Common Are Uninsured Motorists?
Uninsured motorists are more common than you might expect. However, South Carolina is one of the better states when it comes to people obtaining required insurance coverage. According to data compiled by the Insurance Information Institute (III), 7.7 percent of all South Carolina drivers do not currently have active insurance coverage. That is the ninth lowest rate in the entire country. Further, it is significantly better than other states in the southeast. As a comparison, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee are all states in which more than 20 percent of the drivers lack any insurance coverage. That being said, even though South Carolina is doing relatively well by this metric, there is still reason to be concerned. 7.7 percent of the state represents tens of thousands of drivers. You undoubtedly pass many drivers each day who lack proper insurance coverage.
Recovering Compensation From Your Own Insurance Company
Recovering the full and fair compensation that you deserve from a large insurance company is never easy. This is true even if you are dealing with your own insurance company. You might think that your own insurance company should be looking out for your best interests, but generally that is not the case. You need an aggressive lawyer by your side who can help ensure that the insurance company is kept honest. Uninsured motorists claims are notoriously complex. When you are dealing with any insurance company, even your own insurance company, you need to remain vigilant. The following is a list of five tips that will help you make an effective South Carolina uninsured motorist claim:
- You need to be sure to report your accident as soon as possible. Your insurance policy likely contains some type of accident reporting requirement. If you fail to report the accident in a timely manner, you could put your right to recover compensation at risk.
- You do not owe the insurance company long, detailed, conversations about your accident. While you may owe your own insurance company a description of what happened, it is your right to not go over every small detail over the phone. Insurance companies train their agents to come across as friendly, casual and disarming, but they are always keeping their eye out for any piece of information that they can use against you.
- You should be very skeptical of quick settlement offers. If an insurance company is trying to aggressively push you into a settlement, that should raise a red flag in your mind. Often they want you to settle quickly because they believe that they can get away with a lowball offer. If your insurer is pushing you hard towards a settlement, you should speak to a lawyer.
- Never release your old medical records without speaking to a lawyer first. If your insurance company wants your older, pre-accident, medical records, that means they are at least considering denying your accident claim.
- Finally, if you have suffered serious injuries, never sign any agreement without letting an lawyer review it first. Ultimately, it is best have a lawyer by your side throughout the whole claims process.
Contact Our Experienced South Carolina Auto Accident Lawyers Today
There is always a risk that a negligent uninsured motorist could cause an accident. Uninsured motorists claims can be challenging. However, a knowledgeable South Carolina auto accident lawyer can help. At David Aylor Law Offices, our lawyers have extensive experience handling all kinds of South Carolina auto accident injury cases, including uninsured motorist claims. Please do not hesitate to contact our team today to schedule a free review of your case. Our firm protects the rights of victims throughout the Charleston, South Carolina region.