South Carolina laws are intended to make whoever was responsible for causing a car accident responsible for paying for all of the harm resulting from the crash. However, it is the responsibility of the injured victims to pursue a claim for compensation.
Our South Carolina lawyers at Joye Law Firm can help you protect your right to full and fair compensation after a car accident. Call Joye Law Firm at (888) 324-3100 or fill out our online contact form. We have offices in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, and Columbia, and we represent people who have been hurt in accidents anywhere in South Carolina.
Maximizing compensation in a car accident case depends on behaving in a strategic and smart way when negotiating a settlement or proving your injuries in court. It also depends on being able to prove how badly you were harmed.
For example, damages in a car accident case may be based on:
- Current, past and future medical bills and costs.
- Lost income, including a lifetime of lost wages if your injury causes permanent impairment.
- Pain and suffering damages for physical and mental harm.
- Wrongful death damages if the victim of the crash has died. These may include payment of medical bills, funeral costs, lost companionship and lost wages.
Maximizing Recovery in Settlement Negotiations
Settling a car accident claim may allow you to recover money for your losses more quickly (in most cases), while avoiding the hassle and stress of court. However, once you settle, you release all claims against the defendant and cannot go back and seek more money, even if you later discover that your injuries were worse than you first believed.
Negotiating a favorable settlement often depends on convincing the insurance company of what you are entitled to and showing the insurer that you have a good chance of winning in court.
Consider the following tips:
- Hire a car accident lawyer to negotiate for you. Not only can a lawyer bring professional negotiating skills to the table, but the insurance company will also know you are serious about your rights if you hire a lawyer.
- Start collecting evidence and building your case right away after the accident. If you have a lot of clear evidence that the other driver was to blame (such as an accident report from the police, eyewitness testimony, or a black box in the vehicle), this may indicate to the insurance company that you will likely be successful in court. This may make the insurance company more likely to offer a favorable settlement to avoid paying legal bills while taking the chance that a jury will award a large verdict.
- Document your injuries and the extent of your losses. Keeping a pain journal, having photographic evidence and having detailed medical records may bolster your case and help the insurance company understand why you deserve the damages you are seeking.
- Consider sending a demand letter. A demand letter to the insurance company asks for a specific amount of money that you believe is fair. A car accident lawyer can write a compelling demand letter that has solid information backing up your request.
- Know the insurance policy limits. If you go to court and are awarded more than the policy limits, the insurance company does not have to pay the excess amount in most circumstances. While you could try to recover additional compensation directly from the defendant, many defendants lack enough assets to cover the losses. This would mean you might actually end up not getting any more than the policy limits even if a jury awards you more.
- Discover all potential sources of recovery. Because many South Carolina drivers carry only minimum insurance coverage – or no insurance at all – it is wise to look for additional sources of recovery. Your own insurance policy may include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). There may also be other defendants who could be held responsible for the accident, such as the bar that served a drunk driver or the maker of a defective auto component.
Maximizing Recovery at Trial
If your case goes to court, the judge or jury will make a determination first on the defendant’s liability and then on the amount of damages you should receive. Juries consider what is reasonable in light of the circumstances of the accident and the amount of losses you sustain. The best way to maximize your car accident compensation in court is to have extensive evidence regarding how badly you were hurt and how much it cost you – physically, emotionally and financially.
Photographs of your injuries, details about how your pain affects your day-to-day life, medical records, expert testimony and work records are types of evidence that you may use to show a jury what a reasonable damage award would be in your case.
Presenting evidence in court is very complicated, as there are specific procedural and evidentiary rules that must be followed. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you successfully make your case in court.
Talk to Our South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Today
Joye Law Firm’s lawyers investigate car accidents on behalf of injured individuals and their families across South Carolina. We move as soon as we are engaged by our clients to preserve, collect and analyze the evidence necessary to develop a solid case for compensation.
It is absolutely crucial to make a decision promptly after a car accident and begin the necessary legal work. A delay could cost you money for your recovery that you deserve.