Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is often frustrating, stressful, and altogether confusing.
Ideally, you would receive a quick, and fair, settlement offer from the insurance company. Unfortunately, all too often, insurance companies look for any way they can find to drag their feet and to try to pay you as little injury compensation as possible. Ultimately, obtaining a fair car accident settlement offer requires persistence and a carefully assembled case. If you have been injured in a South Carolina car accident, please contact an experienced Charleston car accident attorney for immediate legal assistance.
Take Immediate Action
It is best to initiate your car accident claim as soon as possible. South Carolina has a three year statute of limitations for car accident injuries. This means you have three years to take legal action, or you could forfeit your legal rights. However, the sooner you act, the better. You are often more likely to receive a favorable result if you start the process immediately after an accident. A big advantage of quick action is that it makes it much easier for you to recall specific details, and track down important evidence.
Know Your Obligations
You need to understand the role of the insurance company, and your legal obligations to them. You will need to report your accident, but you are not required to have long conversations with insurance adjusters. The insurance company is not on your side. Fundamentally, they will never be a truly neutral party. It is critical to remember this because insurance adjusters are trained to sound disarming and accommodating over the phone; they want to get you talking as much as possible about your accident. Many times these conversations will have a casual, even friendly, vibe. However, if you say something, even informally in passing, that can be used against you, you can be sure that the insurance company will use that information to their advantage. They will try to reduce your settlement offer. Let an experienced car accident attorney talk to the insurance company on your behalf. Never sign anything, whether it is a settlement agreement, or a waiver to release your medical records, without first speaking to a car accident attorney.
One of the biggest errors injured car accident victims make is failing to understand the true value of their claim. Proper preparation is necessary to get a fair settlement offer. The professionals at the insurance company will no doubt be prepared to work to limit your settlement offer. Never talk to any insurance company representative without first knowing the true value of your damages. You need a legitimate starting point for your case. Otherwise, the insurance company will attempt to frame the negotiation process at a compensation point that is far below the fair value of your damages. It can be difficult to undo this framing. If you are unsure how much your claim is worth, you should consult with an experienced Charleston car accident lawyer.
Evidence is Key
Ultimately, evidence is the key to every successful car accident injury claim. You need to keep all of the records and documents that are relevant to your injury in an organized file. This should include everything from the police report to your medical records. This evidence will provide the foundation for your case. Your attorney can help you assemble this evidence in a compelling manner. Some specific things that will help you reach a fair settlement offer include:
- Photographs: Pictures are one of the most powerful forms of evidence. Ideally, you will want photographs of the accident scene, the damage your vehicle sustained, and of your injuries. It is best to continuously take as many photographs as possible. You will never know which specific pictures will be the key to pushing your claim towards a favorable settlement.
- Eyewitness statements: If your car accident claim involves a dispute over negligence, supporting statements from third party eyewitnesses can be extremely compelling. In some cases, your the testimony from an eyewitness might directly back up your side of the story. In other cases, this testimony can introduce additional information that can help give your claim further support.
- Testimony from medical professionals: In somes cases, a full and fair settlement offer is held back by a disagreement over the exact extent of your injuries. It is critical that you receive a comprehensive evaluation from a qualified medical professional soon after your accident. Supporting testimony from a doctor can help clearly establish the full extent of your injuries so you can recover the compensation you deserve.
It is a natural human impulse to want to settle a car accident injury claim as soon as possible. Unfortunately, large insurance companies fully understand this instinct, and they will try to use it to their advantage. This means that the initial settlement offer you receive from the insurance company will almost certainly be below fair value. Further, when the insurance company tries to push aggressively for you to settle, that usually indicates that their offer is unfair. This is especially true if you have not yet had your case reviewed by an experienced attorney. The insurance company wants to push for you to settle before you have an opportunity to realize the true value of your case. Always be patient; a fair settlement offer can take time. Finally, if you were seriously injured in a car accident, never agree to a settlement offer without letting an experienced attorney review the agreement.
Need Legal Assistance?
At the David Aylor Law Offices, our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys have helped many injured victims receive full and fair settlement offers. Our team has the knowledge, and experience, to help you build your case and move the insurance company towards a timely, and favorable, resolution of your case. We know how to negotiate with the insurance company, and we know when to be aggressive. If you have been injured in an automobile accident in the Charleston area, please do not hesitate to contact our firm today to schedule a free review of your case.