A Charleston, South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Make a Fair Recovery

Your Charleston car accident lawyer may do many things to strengthen your case and be sure that all the proper data is in the insurance company's systems when it calculates your award. This may include the following steps.

  • Get statements from witnesses
  • Obtain police reports
  • Gather detailed medical records
  • Provide extensive photographic evidence of your injuries and property damage
  • Hire an independent investigator
  • Collect dashcam or security video footage of the accident
  • Put a dollar value on your damages
  • Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement
  • File a lawsuit and go to court if necessary

While the law doesn't require an attorney to represent accident victims who are considering a settlement offer, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer for the following reasons.

1. Insurance Companies Are Not On Your Side

Insurance companies are out to protect their own interests, and that means providing as little compensation as possible for victims. However, an attorney will be your advocate. They will examine your situation and demand compensation based on your current and future medical bills, lost wages, probable household modifications, pain and suffering, and property damage.

2. Once You Agree to a Settlement It Cannot Be Changed

In most cases, it is impossible to change the terms of a settlement agreement after the fact. Often, these early settlement offers are much lower than a victim deserves. An experienced attorney can gather the information necessary about the accident, as well as the victim's current and future prognosis to determine how much compensation is needed for a complete recovery.

3. An Attorney Can Ease the Stress of the Settlement Process 

While simply accepting the settlement and moving on may seem like the easiest path to recovery, accepting a settlement that doesn't meet your needs can make life more difficult. An experienced attorney can take on the frustrations of dealing with the insurance company while victims focus on what's really important—their physical and emotional recovery.

Steps in a Charleston Car Accident Settlement Process

The process of receiving an insurance settlement has several steps:

1.      Verifying insurance and filing claims. Your attorney will obtain the insurance policy of the defendant(s) in your case and notify the insurance companies that you're filing claims against them.

2.      Conducting an investigation. Your lawyer will investigate your accident and collect evidence.

3.      Waiting for maximum medical improvement (MMI) before filing your claim. MMI is the point at which you've recovered as much as you're going to recover. Only then do you know what your future medical needs and expenses, lost wages, and disabilities might be.

4.      Sending a demand letter. Once you've reached MMI, your lawyer will send the insurance company a demand letter, including evidence of the at-fault driver's negligence, itemized medical expenses, lost wage statements, and a calculation of damages for your pain and suffering.

5.      Negotiating with insurers. Your Charleston car crash lawyer will work hard to negotiate a fair settlement with all applicable insurers.

6.      Filing a lawsuit, if necessary. If the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, your attorney might take your case to court.

It's difficult to estimate how long your particular settlement process might take. Some cases can take much longer, depending on:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Quality of evidence
  • Recovery time before maximum medical improvement
  • Whether there are multiple defendants
  • Whether there is a dispute or denial by the insurance company
  • Whether a personal injury lawsuit is necessary

What Happens After You Settle a Charleston Car Accident Case?

Once the settlement process is complete, the insurance company will issue a check, and another multi-step process begins. Specifically, you can expect:

  • Releases and other documents to be signed
  • Your car accident lawyer to deposit the check in an escrow account and pay your liens
  • Your car accident lawyer to deduct legal fees, court costs, etc.
  • Your legal team to forward a check to you

Although there's no way to say exactly how long it will take for you to receive your check, an attorney will work to expedite the process.

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.