There are a number of steps that are important to take if you have been injured in a car wreck in South Carolina, both for your health and for the viability of any future personal injury case.
- Check for injuries and call 911. First and foremost, you need to make sure you are physically safe and attend to your health needs. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher if you or anyone else might be hurt, or if your car is in a dangerous location.
- Exchange insurance information. If no one has been seriously injured, you should get the other driver’s insurance and contact information. This includes the license plate number of their car, and their insurance policy number.
- Gather evidence. If you are physically able to get up and walk around without worsening your condition, you can begin gathering evidence at the scene of the accident. You should take photos and video of your car, the other car, and the scene of the accident generally. You should also talk to any potential witnesses at the accident scene, and make sure to get their names and contact information for future reference. However, it should be stressed that you should never over-exert yourself if you are hurt. Do not risk worsening your injuries just to collect information. If you are too injured to get up, stay put. You can rely on the police investigation and accident report as well as the further investigation of an experienced personal injury attorney for any information you might need.
- Get medical treatment. When the paramedics arrive, let them treat you. If they recommend that you should go to the hospital, listen and comply. Once you do get medical treatment, make sure to follow all of the instructions given to you by the doctor for further treatment. This may include future appointments and outpatient care. Refusing medical care at the scene and not getting or complying with follow-up treatment can sink your personal injury claim.
How Important is it to Seek Medical Attention Immediately Following a Car Accident for my Horry County or Georgetown County Personal Injury Case?
Medical treatment is essential! Never refuse medical treatment at the scene of an accident. That is not the time to be tough or stubborn. If medical treatment is recommended to you, it is likely because you need it or may need it.
Tell emergency responders about any symptoms you are experiencing, no matter how mild. Not all car accident injuries are obvious, and not all car accident injuries present in full force right away. For instance, pain from injuries like whiplash or head trauma may be masked by the adrenaline rush from the shock of the accident.
Furthermore, if paramedics want to transport you to the hospital, you should go with them. The EMS report from your accident will include a description of your injuries and the medical care they gave at the scene. If you refuse treatment or even opt to go to the hospital on your own, it will also be recorded in your report. This sort of refusal can be used against you in a personal injury case.
If you aren’t transported to the hospital from the scene of the accident, it is essential to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Ideally, you should see your primary care physician. However, if your doctor isn’t available, you can go to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care center. Wherever you go, make sure to tell your treatment provider that you were injured in a car accident. They will write this into your report, which will serve as evidence that you were seeking medical care for injuries caused directly by the accident.
Refusing or delaying medical attention will seriously weaken your personal injury claim. Insurance companies are businesses, and want to get out of paying as many claims as they can. They will be actively looking for reasons not to pay out, and will not hesitate to deny your claim if given any excuse. If you refuse or deny medical attention or treatment, the insurance company can and will argue that your injuries weren’t that severe, or weren’t caused by the collision.
How Long After an Accident do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, you generally have 3 years to file suit against a non-governmental defendant. If a city, county, or state agency is involved, you only have 2 years to file suit. These rules apply to personal injury claims.
Should I Accept the Initial Settlement Offer Made by an Insurance Company in South Carolina?
To put it bluntly, no. You should never accept an insurance company’s first settlement offer.
Generally, one of the main goals of any insurance company is to pay out as little money as possible. That may seem unethical, and may be unethical, but it’s how insurance companies stay in business.
As such, insurance companies make their first settlement offers rather strategically, assuming that the average person does not know better. They will try to lowball you on the first offer, ultimately to make sure that they save their own company as much money as possible.
The insurance company may even have a policy requiring its adjusters to low-ball first offers. For example, an insurance company may require that the first offer be 40% of the value of the case. There is no industry-wide standard on this, and different insurers have different procedures. However, in all likelihood, if the adjuster is dealing with an unrepresented party, their initial offer will be the lowest possible offer they can make.
Do I Need to Hire a Horry County or Georgetown County Personal Injury Attorney for my Car Accident Case?
Yes, if you have been injured in a car accident in Horry County or Georgetown County, you should definitely hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in the ensuing personal injury case.
When facing off against insurance companies—as is often the case in car accident personal injury cases—it is important to keep in mind that the insurance companies have teams of lawyers and adjusters who begin evaluating your injury claim as soon as they are notified about it. They will make it a priority to look for ways to pay you less in any way they can. Therefore, people who have been injured in car crashes need to immediately retain personal injury attorneys to level the playing field.
As a rule, laypeople should never try to go up against insurance companies alone. Showing up without any legal counsel to square off against a team of professional attorneys that work full-time for billion-dollar insurance companies isn’t a wise move. Of course, it is technically possible to go it alone, but without formidable representation, you are literally at their mercy. If they see that you do not have an attorney and therefore have no real way of defending yourself, they will realize how vulnerable that makes you, and will adjust their behavior and offers accordingly. They may give you a thousand dollars, or may decide to knock it down to a few hundred bucks. They may possibly even deny your claim altogether. It is up to them, since you don’t really know what legal rights you have, what alternatives you could use, or what to do to fight them. They spend all day, every day, fighting claims on behalf of their employers (insurance companies), so facing them on your own with no experience has an obvious outcome.
For more information on Auto Wreck Injury Claims In South Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (843) 357-4111 today.
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