If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Charleston, South Carolina, then why should you hire a personal injury lawyer? Whether it’s a minor fender bender, a serious accident involving a pedestrian, a motorcycle crash, or a tractor-trailer wreck, the insurance company starts working on the case right away. If you are in a car wreck and think you have a personal injury claim, there are several things you should be aware of before you consider speaking to the other driver’s insurance company to try to settle the claim yourself.
The Insurance Adjuster is NOT Your Friend
The person who is the primary contact with the other driver’s insurance company is called an “adjuster.” Usually there will be two adjusters on the case for that company: one to handle the property damage claim and one to handle the personal injury claim. Remember one thing, the adjuster is not your friend. As friendly as he or she may be on the phone, they have ONE JOB: TO PAY AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE ON YOUR CLAIM.
The adjuster will often tell you that they need to take your statement before processing your claim. Actually, in most cases, they can process the claim based upon the accident report and the statement they take from their own insured driver. They will be looking for things in your statement that may assist them in denying or devaluing your claim. They will look for things to use against both in saying the accident was partly your fault and in saying that you are not as hurt as you claim to be. When adjusters ask us if they can take our clients’ statements, we often reply by saying we’d be happy to allow it if they allow us to take a statement from their insured. We have never had them agree to this request. We see no fairness in allowing our client to give a statement if their driver won’t give one to us. Overall, any statements you give to the insurance company could hurt you a lot more than they help you.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Value Your Claim
Handling a personal injury claim such as an automobile accident is often more difficult than people realize. For example, it may be tough to figuring out what your case is worth. You may forget to include your lost wages. You may not know exactly how much pain and suffering you are entitled to. You might not realize how important your medical records are in building your case, and you might even have difficulty reading the records. You might not realize that a case in one county of South Carolina is worth a totally different amount in another county because the jury pools in two neighboring counties can be completely different. The tendencies of the jury pools are huge factors in driving case value.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Understand Insurance
As another example, handling personal injury claims takes experience in knowing the laws of insurance. Some policies offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Sometimes there may be others at fault that you didn’t realize. Sometimes the other driver’s policy limits are not enough to compensate you for your injuries, and you need to know what else might be out there. For example, there may be more than one insurance policy that covers the accident. In this situation, we’re trained to identify insurance coverage that can be “stacked” between policies. The law regarding stacking of insurance is, in a word – complicated. For example, a common mistake is to settle with the other driver and then try to go after your own underinsured motorist policy for the difference. If you don’t use the right language in the settlement paperwork, you can actually prevent yourself from being able to pursue your own insurance policy.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Understand the Law
Knowing personal injury laws takes experience. Unless you’re a personal injury professional, you may be unfamiliar with all the laws that pertain to your claim. In other words, because you probably don’t know what you are legally entitled to, the insurance adjuster will probably take advantage of you. For example, in South Carolina, if you’re injured then your spouse also has a claim for “loss of consortium” because you may be unable to help around the house with chores, taking care of children, and more. An insurance adjuster won’t tell you that your spouse is entitled to compensation. Insurance companies profit by under compensating injured persons, so some companies will offer a lower settlement to you if you don’t have a personal injury lawyer on your side.
FREE Consultation with Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Charleston
Adjusters will often tell you to take whatever money they are offering because if you get a lawyer involved, the lawyer will take a fee and cause you to actually get less money. This statement is false. Actually, the lawyers at Futeral & Nelson do not charge a consultation fee on personal injury cases. So, you get to decide at the free consultation whether you think it is worth your while to have an attorney on board. In all the years our lawyers have been handling personal injury claims in Charleston, there are very few times when we believe the insurance company’s offer to settle has been fair. If it is, we’ll tell you so for free. If not, then you can decide what is best for you – settle the claim or hire us to represent you. If, after the consultation, you think you can handle the case on your own, you owe us nothing but probably have at least gathered some pointers and information from our meeting. If you were in a car wreck, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, pedestrian accident, or boating accident, call Futeral & Nelson and schedule your consultation today.