If you’re injured by a negligent driver in a Horry County car accident, you should do the following three things, in this order:
- Stay at the scene, call 911, report the accident, and gather evidence.
- Seek medical attention/treatment.
- Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Why You Need an Attorney as Soon as Possible
South Carolina law allows you to file a claim against the at-fault driver for your damages:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Even if your claim is valid, however, there is no guarantee that it will succeed. The insurance company’s adjusters are trained to dispute claims in order to save money for the company. They are likely to offer you a quick settlement that will not compensate you adequately for your medical and car repair bills.
Getting a fair award depends upon gathering strong evidence and presenting it convincingly to the negligent driver’s insurance company (or in court if you end up going to trial). Because car accident evidence can deteriorate or be lost over time, you need an attorney who can:
- Quickly get footage from any nearby security or red-light cameras that might have recorded your wreck
- Contact witnesses and get their statements before memories get fuzzy with time
- Check immediately for evidence from the towing company that removed the car(s) from the scene
If you happen to have been hit by any kind of commercial vehicle (such as a taxi, delivery van, or truck) there might be an electronic data recorder or “black box” with evidence that is crucial to your case. Your lawyer will know how to get a court order to obtain the black box data from the company that owns the at-fault vehicle. Because black box data is generally erased every 30 days, your attorney can send a spoliation letter requesting that the company preserve that data and other evidence related to your crash. This needs to be done quickly.
Other Reasons To Hire A Horry County Car Accident Lawyer
To avoid making common mistakes.
Many accident victims make the mistake of talking to insurance adjusters or giving recorded statements, either of which can hurt their claims. If you hire an attorney as soon as possible, you can refer the insurance company’s representatives to your lawyer until the claim is settled.
To strengthen your case.
Your lawyer will know how to retain medical witnesses to testify about your injuries, recovery time, prognosis, and possible disabilities. An accident reconstruction professional is someone else your attorney can call in to reconstruct your accident and show that the other driver was at fault.
To stay within deadlines.
If the insurance company denies your claim or offers an unacceptably low settlement, your lawyer will file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
To evaluate your claim and stand up to the insurance company.
Your attorney can put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering, evaluate your injuries to determine what a reasonable settlement would be, and negotiate with the insurance company to get you a fair award.
To make use of your medical records.
Very soon after you’re injured, you could have an avalanche of bills and receipts for hospitalization, ER treatment, physical therapy, prescriptions, and assistive equipment.
Rather than try to keep track of all this evidence for yourself when you’re injured and recovering, you can turn it over to your attorney, who will organize and present it to your advantage in negotiations with the insurance company.
How Comparative Fault Affects Your Settlement
In South Carolina, if you’re found more than 50% responsible for your own accident, you may not recover any damages at all. When the insurance company starts trying to claim you were more than half responsible, you’ll need a seasoned attorney on your side to prove that you were not.
Have You Been Injured In A Charleston South Carolina Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you should speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.