If you or someone you love has been injured by the negligence of another motorist, you very likely face a difficult path forward toward recovery, but obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is the surest way to protect your ability to do so. Car accident claims tend to be complicated, and the process can be lengthy. Having an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney in your corner, however, can help ensure that your claim is handled effectively and efficiently.
What to Do at the Scene of the Accident
While every car accident is singular to its own circumstances, there are some basic first steps that apply to all of them, including:
- Move your vehicle as far out of the path of oncoming traffic as you can.
- Get out of your vehicle and call 911.
- Render aid if anyone needs it if it is possible for you to do so.
- Exchange your contact, car insurance, and driver’s license information with the other driver.
- Refrain from speaking about the accident unless the attending officer asks you direct questions. In this case, you should answer them as truthfully and succinctly as possible.
- Accept medical attention if it is offered. If it is not, seek out the medical attention that you need as soon after the accident as possible.
- Consult with a dedicated car accident attorney.
By following these important steps (as applicable), you help protect your health and your car accident claim.
The Insurance Company
Although the insurance company that is handling your car accident claim is paid expressly to cover the damages that accident victims like you suffer, the company is also driven by profits, which means that it is deeply invested in settling your claim for as little as it can possibly get away with. One important note about this, however, is that one of the tools the insurance company might employ is a very early settlement offer, which can feel like a lifeline when you need it the most. Beware the early settlement offer because it is unlikely to cover your damages in their entirety. In fact, the insurance company may swoop in with an offer (knowing that you are feeling desperate) before you are even fully aware of how extensive your damages are. Other ploys that insurance companies often turn to include the following (all of which can lengthen the claims process significantly):
- Throwing up roadblocks to or complicating the claims process
- Denying your claim from the outset
- Attempting to shift blame onto you
- Challenging the severity of your injuries
Ultimately, your car accident attorney will skillfully endeavor to negotiate just compensation that addresses your complete damages as efficiently as possible. If, however, the car insurance company refuses to negotiate fairly, you may have to take your case to court, which is a lengthier process. Obtaining fair compensation is so important, however, that the extra time involved can be well worth it. Please note, though, that most car accident claims are settled out of court.
Your Accident Claim
The more serious your accident and injuries, the more time will likely be required to build your strongest claim. For example, serious injuries often require ongoing medical treatment and care and can morph into serious secondary health concerns. In other words, settling your car accident claim as quickly as possible shouldn’t be your goal. It’s far more important to move forward with a well-considered claim that addresses your damages in their entirety. However, your car accident attorney will continue to guide your claim toward a beneficial settlement as speedily as it is possible to do so (given the parameters of your claim).
Factors That Can Lengthen the Claims Process
There are certain conditions that can significantly lengthen the claims process. Understanding these from the outset can help you manage your expectations moving forward. Such conditions include:
- The severity of your injuries
- If fault in the accident is in question
- If the insurance company chooses to play especially dirty
- If your claim does not settle out of court
- If accident reenactment is required
- If you need the testimony of expert witnesses
The course your car accident claim follows will be unique to your claim, but your experienced car accident attorney will help you bypass all unnecessary delays and will skillfully fight for fair dealings throughout the insurance process.
Your Physical, Financial, and Emotional Damages
The goal of your car accident claim is to obtain compensation that covers your complete range of physical, financial, and emotional damages, which can include all of the following:
- Medical costs – The medical costs associated with a serious car crash can be astronomical. These expenses can range from emergency care to surgery, your hospital stay, pain management, follow-up care, and much more.
- Lost earnings – While you recover from your injuries, it’s very likely that you’ll experience a decrease in earnings, which can extend to a decrease in earning potential.
- Pain and suffering – Car accidents tend to be violent, frightening affairs that can be emotionally devastating. The physical and psychological pain and suffering you endure can lead to long-lasting emotional effects.
A very important component of your claim is ensuring that your damages are all well represented and getting this right can take some time. An experienced car accident attorney, however, has the skill and legal insight to push forward as precisely and swiftly as possible.
Reach Out to an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorney for Professional Legal Counsel You Need
If another driver’s negligence leaves you injured, it puts you in a very difficult situation, but the trusted car accident attorneys at McCravy Law in South Carolina are well-positioned to help guide your claim as smoothly as possible towards its most favorable resolution. Our dedicated legal team is on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 864-388-9100 for more information about how we can help you today.