How To File A Car Accident Claim In Indian Land
Most drivers in Indian Land take great care not to cause an accident. However, all it takes is one reckless driver for an innocent person to be seriously injured in a crash. In situations like these, accident victims have legal rights to compensation from the negligent driver.
South Carolina car accident victims can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But getting compensation is often an uphill battle. Even in seemingly simple accident cases, it’s all too common for insurance companies to look for reasons to deny legitimate claims.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident, it’s a good idea to seek legal help. At David Blackwell Law, we know what it takes to build a strong case that stands up to any tactics that insurance companies to try and block your claim.
It costs nothing to find out if you have a case. We offer a free consultation to clients so that they can make informed decisions about their next steps, with no strings attached.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Types Of Car Insurance In South Carolina
In South Carolina, drivers are required to carry three types of auto insurance. These are:
- Bodily injury liability insurance: South Carolina law mandates that all drivers carry a minimum of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, and $50,000 for all individuals injured in the same accident. These claims provide coverage for expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and more.
- Property damage liability insurance: This provides coverage for any property damage incurred during a crash. That includes vehicle damages as well as damage to other property, such as fences and walls. South Carolina law requires all drivers carry a minimum of $25,000 in property damage insurance.
- Uninsured motorist insurance (UM): Sometimes drivers are in accidents where the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance. In this case, S.C. policyholders are required to purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for personal injuries and property damage The minimum amount of UM coverage is equal to the minimum amounts of bodily injury liability and property damage liability (25/50/25).
An important — but optional — type of auto insurance is also available in South Carolina. This is called underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).
UIM protects policyholders if they are injured in accidents where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover the extent of the damages. Crashes involving serious injuries often exceed the at-fault driver’s minimum insurance policy limits. With UIM insurance, injured motorists are further protected through their own policies.
However, it’s important to remember that UIM coverage only extends to the policy’s limits. If the policyholder’s injuries go over the limits, then he or she will be responsible for the remainder of the costs.
It is mandatory for S.C. insurance companies to offer UIM coverage to drivers. The attorneys at David Blackwell Law strongly encourage all drivers to purchase this insurance.
Steps to Take After Car Accident in Indian Land
The steps you take following a car accident will affect not only your health, but your personal injury claim as well. There are several simple steps that you can take to protect your case and get the proper help you need, including:
- Calling 911: Calling for emergency help will get you the medical attention you need, and allow you to report the accident. If you do not need emergency treatment, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out any undetected injuries.
- Taking pictures: Cell phone pictures will do.
- Exchanging information: Write down the other driver’s name, contact information, license plate number and insurance information.
- Obtaining witness information: If there were eyewitnesses to the accident, write down their contact information. This is also important evidence.
- Calling a qualified car accident attorney: There are many legal issues that crop up during an accident case. A lawyer help you overcome these issues work toward a positive outcome.
If you were too injured at the scene to collect this information, don’t worry. The attorneys at David Blackwell Law can obtain this information for you during a thorough investigation of your case.
When Should I File a Car Accident Claim in Indian Land?
In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. However, it’s recommended to get an attorney working on the case as soon as possible because there is a lot of legal legwork and decision-making that needs to be done to get the claim underway.
- Your legal team will need time to conduct a thorough investigation, review medical records and collect evidence before it is lost or disappears.
- You will need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you file your claim. This term means that your injuries are not expected to get any better (or worse) and is decided by your doctor. Once you have reached MMI, your attorney will be able to place a full and fair value on your claim so that you can demand maximum compensation.
Even if you have not reached MMI, it is important to consult with a lawyer as soon as you can. If the statute of limitations expires before you file a claim, you will likely be barred from receiving any compensation at all.
How Insurance Companies Investigate Car Accidents
Once you have filed your personal injury claim with your insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. The adjuster will contact you, and may even visit you while you’re still in the hospital. He or she may also conduct an investigation by visiting the accident scene, contacting witnesses and even asking for a copy of the police report.
No matter how friendly the insurance adjuster seems, know this: he or she is looking for evidence to show that you were partly or fully to blame for the accident. If the adjuster is successful, they will claim to have grounds for denying or reducing your claim for compensation.
For this reason, it’s important you have an attorney working on your side to refute their claims so that you are treated fairly.
Determining Fault In An Indian Land Car Accident
Determining who is at fault for an accident is a critical factor in deciding how much compensation you will be entitled to after a wreck. That’s because South Carolina assigns fault according to a system called modified comparative negligence.
Under this system, a plaintiff can still collect compensation from the at-fault driver as long as you are not found more than 50 percent responsible for the crash.
Because compensation is so dependent on being assigned a fair portion of fault, having an attorney to evaluate your claim can make sure that you are not being unfairly blamed for the crash.
Appealing an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident
Most car accident cases settle out of court. But occasionally, an insurance company fails to make a fair settlement offer to accident victims. In those instances, accident victims may benefit from taking the case to trial.
Going to trial has risks and benefits. Before making that decision, our attorneys will sit down with you to explain the pros and cons before taking any next steps.
How David Blackwell Law Can Help
At David Blackwell Law, our Indian Land car accident attorneys will hold insurance companies and irresponsible motorists accountable for the harm they have caused to you and your family.
Call or contact us to arrange a free consultation today.