You should be aware of some of the issues that you are likely to face if you have been in a car accident in South Carolina. Many people are uncertain about what to expect after an accident. We have prepared a video primer in which Joye Law Firm’s Attorney Ken Harrell discusses the common car accident issues that most people have to deal with including proper notification of insurers, medical care, lost wages, uninsured motorists and the fair value of a claim.
Helping people be prepared for the injury claims process and guiding accident victims through that process is what our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm have been doing successfully for more than 50 years. Our friendly and compassionate legal team is concerned about each client’s recovery from serious injuries. Our clients are good people struggling with difficult situations. We consider it a privilege to help. Our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of everyone who turns to us for assistance.
We hope you will find the detailed information in the video helpful. If you have questions about an injury claim, please don’t hesitate to call us at Joye Law Firm. We offer a free consultation to review accident claims and discuss your legal options. We don’t charge a legal fee for handling your case unless we obtain compensation for you. Below are some of the highlights of the points that Ken Harrell’s discusses in the video.
Notify Your Insurance Company
If you have been in an accident in South Carolina, you will receive a green form called an FR-10 from the law enforcement officer who investigates the accident. You are required to turn in this form to your insurance agent. The form must be completed by your insurance agent and submitted to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of the accident to confirm that you have auto insurance. Therefore, it is important to get the FR-10 form to your insurance agent as soon as possible. If you fail to provide the form to your insurance agent, it can lead to your driver’s license being suspended.
The primary goal after an accident is to recover from your injuries so you can move forward with your life. You should get all the medical treatment needed. If you have health insurance, we recommend that you have your family doctor direct your medical care. Your doctor can determine whether you need to be referred to a specialist or need physical therapy. If you do not have access to treatment, please discuss that us immediately. Joye Law Firm can help line up an appointment for you to be seen by a doctor.
It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and keep all follow-up appointments. If there is a gap in your medical treatment, the insurance company may try to make an issue of that and use it to deny your claim.
What About Lost Wages After a Car Crash?
If you are able to work despite your injuries, you should work.
Many people are worried about losing their job because they are unable to work after an accident. If you work for a company with 50 or more employees, you have some protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The law requires companies with 50 or more employees to protect your job for up to 12 weeks if you are unable to work. In order to recover lost wages, you will need a letter from your doctor providing you an excused absence from work because of your injuries.
If your doctor has said you are able to perform light-duty work and your employer has provided suitable work, you should try to work. It is important to try to minimize your lost wages to the extent possible.
Getting Your Car Repaired or Replaced
After an accident, you will need to have your damaged vehicle repaired or replace the vehicle if it is totaled. If your car is repairable, you will be entitled to have the cost of the repairs covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance. Be aware that you may have to go to a body shop approved by the insurance company.
You also are entitled to demand reimbursement for a rental car for a reasonable period of time while your car is being repaired or until you find another car. If your car is totaled, you are entitled to the fair market value of the car. If have questions about what the book value of your car is, you can check the websites of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA ) or Kelley Blue Book.
If your car has been totaled, try to line up a replacement vehicle as possible. Be aware that most insurance companies are allowed to cut off reimbursement for a rental car once a settlement offer is made on your totaled car.
Lessening Your Damages
You have an obligation to lessen your property damages. If you have full coverage on your car and you haven’t heard from the at-fault driver’s insurance company within a few days of the accident, we suggest that you contact your insurance company and get a claim started. Your insurance company can then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance. If you are not pro-active in getting your vehicle repaired, the opposing insurance company may argue that you did not meet your legal obligation to lessen your damages.
When dealing with the insurance company, it is important NOT to discuss your personal injuries with the insurance adjuster.
What’s a Claim Worth?
One of the questions we hear from many people is, “What is my claim worth?” the honest answer is we do not know, especially if your accident has recently occurred and you are still receiving medical treatment. There are several factors that will determine the value of a claim. They include:
- the severity of the crash and your injuries
- whether you are left with permanent or disfiguring injuries
- the amount of your medical bills
- the amount of your lost wages
- whether you are disabled and cannot work again.
Our focus is to seek full compensation that reflects the severity of your injuries.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Here are several reasons why you are better off working with a lawyer if you have been hurt in a car accident.
People injured in accidents who retain a lawyer recover on average three times more than people who settle claims on their own, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council.
Our attorneys can help guide you through the confusing issues that often arise in an insurance claim and help you avoid costly delays.
We can help line up medical treatment for you if do not have health insurance.
Our attorneys will work to get your medical bills paid once you receive a settlement, so you will not have outstanding medical debts. We may be able to negotiate with medical providers to take a significant reduction on their medical bills if there is limited insurance coverage. We look forward to serving you and are here to answer any questions you may have.