Not every car accident requires an attorney. If, for example, you’ve done minor damage to your car by backing into a tree, no other vehicle or pedestrian is involved, you’re not hurt, and you have insurance, you can probably handle things by yourself. On the other hand, the DIY approach is not the best choice if you’ve been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver.
Reasons Not to Represent Yourself in a South Carolina Car Accident Case
South Carolina law allows you to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. However, there are several reasons why you’re much more likely to get the compensation you deserve with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Reason #1: You Don’t Know How to Get the Evidence You Need
The burden of gathering simple evidence like medical bills, wage statements, and accident reports is heavy enough if you are injured, hospitalized, and/or trying to recover from your accident. Different kinds of evidence might also be required, depending on the nature of your wreck:
- Photos of your vehicle and the accident scene
- Witnesses’ affidavits
- Expert testimony
- The at-fault driver’s driving record
- Independent investigation reports
A car accident attorney knows how to collect all necessary evidence thoroughly and efficiently—taking the burden off your shoulders while you’re recovering.
Reason #2: You Can’t Put a Dollar Amount on Your Damages
In order to demand and receive fair compensation, you not only need to add up your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. You also need to put a dollar amount on your:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life and daily activities
- Psychological/emotional trauma
An attorney will be familiar with the complex formulas used to calculate these amounts so that you can seek the award you need and deserve.
Reason #3: An Attorney Is Skilled in the Art of Negotiation
The defendant’s insurance company will have insurance adjusters and lawyers whose job it is to deny or devalue your claim and offer you the lowest possible settlement. This is their job, and they are very good at it. Negotiating with them to get a fair award takes training and experience, as well as information about a variety of factors, such as:
- Settlements and awards for past cases similar to yours
- The defendant’s insurance policy limits
- Whether there is more than one possible defendant
- Your chances of winning at trial
An attorney has access to all this information, some of which can be gotten only with a court order.
Reason #4: An Attorney Understands Lawsuits and the Statute of Limitations
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company disputes your claim or offers you an unfairly low award, you may have to file a lawsuit and go to court. If you don’t have an attorney, you probably won’t know how to file the suit or how to proceed at trial.
A personal injury lawyer will know how to do all these things and be sure you file in the time allowed by the statute of limitations. This is generally three years but can be shorter depending on various circumstances such as:
- An accident that occurred on or damaged public property
- An accident in which someone died, leading to a wrongful death claim
- An accident that involved a minor
Your lawyer will know about all the exceptions and be sure you take the proper actions within the allowed time limits.
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.