Knowing how to navigate the first days and weeks after a traffic accident can make all the difference. You must take specific steps to protect your right to seek compensation and recover fair and just damages. Enlisting the help of car accident lawyers as early as possible can allow legal professionals to guide the process and handle your case. Until then, it pays to be mindful of what you say to the insurance companies, beware of low settlement offers, and take other essential steps to protect your case like hiring a car accident lawyer.
After an auto accident in Myrtle Beach, knowing what you should do next and looking out for your best interests can prove challenging. You need to understand how saying or doing the wrong thing could significantly affect your ability to recover fair damages and get justice. Consider these five mistakes that could hurt your case:
Watch What You Say
After an accident, discuss it with no one outside your home and trusted loved ones. Do not post about it on social media, do not discuss it with acquaintances or witnesses, and never agree to speak to the insurer representing the at-fault driver. Anything you say could hurt your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Insurance companies have all the information they need about a collision from the police report, their policyholder, and other evidence. They do not need you to offer a recorded statement about what happened. However, they often request one. They want to have you on record so they can compare this to future statements or see if you make mistakes telling what happened. This will not help your case, but it can significantly damage it.
The insurance representatives often search for reasons to reduce your compensation or deny your claim, and saying the wrong thing—even if they take it out of context—could give them that reason. Our attorneys handle all communication on behalf of our clients to prevent this from occurring. They cannot use your words against you if you never speak to them.
Social Media and Car Accident Compensation
Use caution with social media posts following a crash. Even with strict privacy settings, insurers could still learn about your posts. Avoid posting about the crash or giving updates about your injuries.
Any post in the weeks and months following a crash could affect your case. For example, a post about a day at the beach could threaten your claim if the insurer learns you took a walk at low tide looking for shells. The insurance adjuster may question your claims of serious injury and lasting disability because you took a stroll.
The best way to protect yourself from this type of concern is to avoid social media for the time being. However, this can prove difficult when many rely on online connections for business and social support. Carefully screen who you share anything with and never post about the accident or your activities until the case closes.
Do Not Accept an Early Offer
In some cases, insurers of at-fault drivers may extend an early settlement offer. If an insurer makes an offer before you file a claim, this can signal a red flag. They know that their policyholder likely bears liability, and they want to convince you to settle before you have a chance to discuss the case with an attorney. For this reason, you may want to have a car accident lawyer review any offer you receive.
Additionally, when you get an early offer, you likely do not yet know your case's worth. While a check for $25,000 might seem tempting, what if you eventually require $50,000 in medical bills? You should not pay out of your pocket for any of your injuries from an accident someone else caused. However, you would in this situation.
As a condition of receiving a settlement check, the insurer will require you to file a release that prevents you from pursuing any additional compensation or taking legal action against their policyholder in the case. As a result, you only get one chance to get the money damages you need to cover your accident-related expenses and losses.
Avoid discussing settlements with the insurance company until:
- You reach maximum medical improvement or understand your prognosis.
- You know how much your treatment to date costs.
- You document your other damages.
- You have estimates for future or ongoing care costs.
- Your attorney helped you determine the value of your non-economic damages.
This generally occurs after several weeks or months, not in the first few days or weeks following a crash. Therefore, when the insurance company extends an early offer, it is likely much lower than you deserve. Contact a law firm to discuss your options instead. and get compensation after a car accident.
Understand Your Expenses and Losses Before Negotiations
Unless you understand a fair potential settlement range for your car accident case, there is no way to know if the insurance company makes a fair offer. For this reason, you must determine the expenses and losses incurred as a part of your case before you can negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement.
If you work with a lawyer who regularly handles these cases, they will manage this process for you. In most cases, this can prove helpful because determining a monetary value for some types of recoverable damages requires knowledge of similar cases, experience with personal injury settlements, and other information.
Putting a potential value on a car accident case requires:
- Identifying your expenses and losses
- Valuing future and ongoing costs
- Putting a price on your non-economic damages
- Calculating the total damages incurred
While the potential value of your financial recovery is unique to your case, most victims of Myrtle Beach crashes seek similar types of damages.
This could include:
- Medical bills and related expenses
- Future or ongoing care costs
- Income losses for time missed at work
- Diminished earning capacity for lasting injuries
- Property damage
- Other expenses, with receipts
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible damages
As you can imagine, determining the value of some of these damages can prove much more complex than others. Of course, we can first calculate the total of your current medical bills. However, estimating your future care needs and valuing your non-economic damages can take more effort. Most individuals do not have much experience handling these tasks and accurately estimating their case’s value on their own.
Unless you know Myrtle Beach auto accident cases, you could struggle to pay your medical bills and cover future care expenses by taking an insufficient settlement. Enlisting the help of an attorney can ensure you pursue fair damages and do not sell yourself short.
In addition, your attorney can handle the claims process. This can prove especially helpful when you are still undergoing treatment and recovering from your injuries. You likely do not want to try to manage your legal case while also going to doctor’s appointments or completing physical therapy.
Do Not Miss Applicable Deadlines
State law sets important legal deadlines for car accident cases. Failing to act before the legal deadline for your case could result in losing your right to sue and recover compensation. Under South Carolina law, you may have up to three years to begin the lawsuit against an at-fault driver or another liable party. However, some exceptions could apply to this statute, which could change the deadline in your case.
To protect your rights, you may want to work with an attorney to ensure your case moves forward at the proper speed. Also, consider getting started as soon as your injuries allow. Starting early allows for the identification and preservation of more evidence than if you get a late start.
Some types of evidence disappear quickly after a crash, such as:
- Surveillance video from local businesses
- Hazards at the accident scene
- Eyewitnesses, in some cases
- The damage to involved vehicles
When you enlist the representation of an auto accident law firm, they know how to preserve this evidence, determine the deadline for suing in your case, and develop a plan for your case that ensures you meet all applicable timelines. This could include additional or shorter deadlines under certain circumstances, such as if the driver of the other vehicle was a city employee and the liable party was a municipal agency.
You may want to connect with a car accident law firm in Myrtle Beach as soon as your injuries allow you to do so. You can discuss your case and learn more about your rights during a conversation with a knowledgeable legal team member who can explain your next best steps. If you choose, you can hire an attorney to represent you while you continue to focus on your physical injury recovery.
Consider Getting Help With Your Case
Many people do not know where to turn for help, support, or information after a Myrtle Beach collision. They don't know how to file an insurance claim and recover fair compensation in their case. A car accident attorney can provide the services they need and take on their case, handling it from start to finish. This includes protecting their rights, handling all communication with the insurer, and negotiating for a fair settlement.
You can get a free consultation with most personal injury firms to understand your rights and learn more about your legal options. They provide these discussions so you can learn more about your case, potentially available damages, and how they can help.
Once you decide to work with a law firm, you can expect your attorney to:
Communicate With You About the Case
Your attorney should provide you with regular case updates. While they handle your claim or legal case, you will be undergoing treatment or returning to your normal activities. The law firm should inform you about any changes with your case, answer your questions, and provide guidance and support.
Fight for Fair Compensation
Your attorney can aggressively pursue the compensation necessary based on the facts of your case. They can develop a strong case, support their claim, and negotiate with the insurance company to recover the payout you deserve. Then, they can file a civil suit for you if necessary.
Support Your Best Interests
An attorney’s goal is to get justice for their clients. For example, justice generally comes from fair compensation to cover related damages in a car accident case. Your attorney should understand your needs and work to meet them through the outcome of your insurance claim or law firm.
Most personal injury law firms represent clients based on contingency fees. This means they will not charge a retainer or any other upfront costs. Instead, their attorney’s fees come from the money they recover for you. In your case, you only pay these fees if you see a financial recovery—a settlement or verdict.
Discuss Your Rights With an Auto Accident Attorney’s Team in Myrtle Beach
Most traffic accident law firms provide free case reviews. You can speak to a team member for an assessment of your case and to get answers to your questions. They can also help you understand your next steps, services, and fees. These initial consultations are confidential and free. You have no obligation to sign a contract or hire that firm to represent you.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer for free today. You could get help with your Myrtle Beach auto accident with no upfront fees. Your attorney can protect your rights and help you seek fair compensation in your collision case. Contact us today to get your consultation.