You may think that you understand everything there is to know about what to do after a car accident. Unfortunately, most “facts” that people think they know about car accidents are actually false. Here are seven common myths about car accidents in South Carolina that you need to know.
1. You are guaranteed compensation for your injuries.
Most people believe that because they carry car insurance — or because the other driver was at fault for the accident — compensation is guaranteed for all damages. While those who cause accidents may be held responsible for paying for them under South Carolina’s at-fault car insurance laws, it is not always that simple. A few things that may affect the amount of compensation you are able to recover after an accident include:
- Whether the other driver was carrying liability insurance at the time of accident.
- Whether you were at fault or partially at fault. An insurance company may try to shift blame for the accident onto you.
- Whether you have any additional supplementary coverage, such as uninsured motorist insurance.
2. A police report is all you need to prove fault.
If you are in a car accident, one of the first things that you should do is to call the authorities and report the accident. The responding officer will compile a report in most cases. Within this report, the officer will likely record information about how the accident occurred – i.e. who was at fault for the accident. While you may believe that this report is enough to prove fault to the insurance company and recover full damages, do not be so sure. The other driver’s insurance company may try to avoid paying the full amount by pinning some of the fault for the accident on you. In many cases, you will need to provide other types of evidence — like eyewitness reports, accident reconstruction, vehicle damage and skid marks — to prove fault.
3. You don’t need a lawyer to handle your case.
Car accident claims often require a thorough investigation, collection of evidence, and multiple negotiations in order to recover fair compensation for the victim. While you have the right to handle a car accident claim on your own, doing so may not end favorably for you. This is especially true in the event that your injuries are severe. The assistance of a professional legal representative who knows the law, your rights, and how to compile a strong case is usually very beneficial. When you hire an attorney, you are hiring an experienced professional who will advocate on your behalf and handle the bulk of the negotiations for you.
4. Fault is always clear in rear-end collisions.
If you have been rear-ended, do not be so sure that the other driver will automatically be held liable. If you were doing something negligent at the time of the accident, such as driving at an unsafe speed, switching lanes in front of the other driver at an unsafe distance, jamming on the brakes for no reason, you may be partially at fault. An attorney can help demonstrate whether the rear-end collision would have occurred regardless of your actions.
5. It costs too much to hire a lawyer.
Some people believe that professional legal representation is an unaffordable luxury. However, at Joye Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we never charge you up front and will not request any payment for attorney’s fees unless a settlement or judgment is recovered on your behalf. In other words, we do not get paid unless you do. You’d only be responsible for your costs. Using a contingency fee-based system allows those who are most in need of legal representation to be able to afford it without worrying about financial strain.
6. The insurance company is on your side.
You pay your premiums on time every month. You have never been in an accident before. You do not even have a speeding ticket on your record. Nonetheless, your insurance company may not be on your side when you file a claim after a car accident. This is because at the end of the day, your insurance company is a for-profit company that does not want to have to pay a large amount of money for your injuries. If you believe that your insurance company — or the insurance company of the other driver — owes you money, an attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
7. You have to accept a settlement offer.
After a car accident claim is filed, the insurance company may offer you a settlement. Do not accept the first settlement offer without the advice of an attorney. If you accept the first offer, you will not have an opportunity to negotiate for more in the future. Unfortunately, most initial settlement offers are much less than the actual value of the victim’s damages. You do not have to accept a settlement, and you do have the right to ask for more to fully compensate you for harm suffered.
Get Help from a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Today
After a car accident, getting help from an attorney is the best thing that you can do to protect your rights. An experienced South Carolina car accident attorney can:
- Perform a thorough investigation of the accident’s true cause.
- Gather evidence to prove fault and the amount of damages.
- File a claim with all potential sources of insurance coverage.
- Negotiate on your behalf.
- Represent you in court if necessary.
Do not be led astray by misconceptions about car accidents that can cost you the compensation you are entitled to. At Joye Law Firm, our team of personal injury and car accident lawyers is ready to get to work on your claim today. If you have been injured in a car accident, call us now to take the first steps toward getting the compensation you deserve.