woman inspecting her car and calling insurance company

Our car accident attorneys often remind clients that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. It’s part of their business model to try to underpay accident claims.

Our attorneys have seen many examples of how insurance adjusters work car accident claims to the advantage of the insurance company. If you are dealing with a serious injury, you are at a disadvantage when trying to settle a claim with an insurer on your own. You need knowledgeable guidance.

For over 50 years, Joye Law Firm has helped South Carolinians recover appropriate insurance payments after being injured in car accidents. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, contact Joye Law Firm. Having a strong lawyer standing up for you is the quickest way to stop insurance companies from playing games with your claim.

Five Signs of a Car Accident Claim Going Wrong

Car accident claims are typically paid by the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance. But for-profit insurance companies make money by paying out less in claims than they take in from insurance premiums. The insurance company does not welcome your car accident claim, particularly if you have suffered a serious injury.

You have to protect yourself after a car accident. Otherwise, the auto insurance company will seize the opportunity to save money on your case.

Here are five signs of potential problems with your claim.

1. There’s no police report.

Police respond to most car accidents in South Carolina and file a report. A police report documents the basic facts of the accident and may indicate who was at fault. Without a police report, if the other driver denies fault or blames you, the insurance adjuster has reason to question your account of the accident and your claim.

It is important to summon police to any car accident. Ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report. Get a copy of the police report as soon as possible. If your injuries prevent you from attending to this, then ask a friend or family member to contact the police on your behalf and ask for a copy of the report.

If the police did not respond to your accident, and there is no police report, contact an experienced attorney right away. There are alternative forms that the attorneys at Joye Law Firm can assist you in completing to help preserve the viability and strength of your claim.

2. You are asked to provide the insurer with a recorded statement.

The insurance company does not need a recorded statement from you to process your car accident claim. This is a gambit to see whether you will say something that damages your claim. You might say something the insurer can use to imply that you were at fault or contributed to the accident. You may say something innocently that the insurance company can twist and use against you in an effort to minimize your legitimate injuries and damages.

These kinds of tactics complicate your claim and wear you down.

If you are asked to record a statement, politely but firmly decline to do so. If you are on the phone, hang up – because they are probably recording you regardless of what you say. Contact an experienced attorney who can help protect your right to be fairly and properly compensated.

3. A third-party appraiser is handling your claim.

This is the insurance company telling you that they want to keep the response to your claim at arm’s length. Instead of handling the claim themselves, they’ve called in an independent company whose decision they’ll have to go by.

An insurance adjuster’s or claim appraiser’s job is to get the claimant to accept the lowest settlement offer possible. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about a third-party appraiser’s low-ball settlement offer other than to reject it. Let them do their bit and give you the settlement offer, but DO NOT SIGN anything. Tell them you’ll consider the offer, and promptly contact a lawyer.

4. A quick settlement offer.

If you have significant injuries and the other driver’s insurance company makes a quick settlement offer, you should have an attorney review it. Typically, quick settlement offers are attempts by the insurer to close a claim and limit their liability before the true costs of the medical treatment are known.

If you accept an insurer’s offer, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money later if your medical expenses exceed the settlement. Before accepting or signing anything, have an experienced lawyer evaluate whether the offer is reasonable based on the severity of your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm can review a settlement offer, the circumstances of the car accident, and the extent of your injuries and discuss your legal options. If by chance the settlement offer is fair and reasonable, we’ll tell you that.

5. The claim starts to drag on.

Delay tactics are common. Meanwhile, you have bills piling up. The insurance company is hoping that as you experience financial stress from unpaid bills, you’ll be willing to accept just about any offer simply to move on.

An insurance company acting in good faith can wrap up a fender-bender case with out-patient injuries in about 30 days, or a crash with injuries requiring a short hospital stay in about 90 days. For an accident with serious or catastrophic injuries, the claim could take a year or more to resolve as the accident victim recovers.

During a more complex claim, what matters is the insurance company’s responsiveness. It should always be prompt. If you have a hard time contacting the insurance adjuster or the rep assigned to your case, that’s a red flag. An attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery.

Our South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

If an insurance company is disputing your claim or trying to settle the claim for less than fair value, you should seek an attorney’s guidance about the appropriate response. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you shows that you are serious about being treated fairly. You don’t have to bow to an insurance company’s pressure tactics.

Our car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm can investigate the circumstances of your car accident and gather evidence to support your claim. If someone else was at fault, we can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance and be ready to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf if necessary. Because of our skill and experience handling personal injury cases in South Carolina, we are often successful at negotiating a fair car accident settlement without going to court. That allows you to receive the money you need more quickly. Our attorneys do not charge a legal fee unless we secure compensation for you.

Just call Joye. Contact us at (888) 324-3100 or use this online contact form for a free case review today. We know just what to do when insurance companies act in bad faith, and we know how to secure for you the proper compensation you are legally entitled to and deserve.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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