Statistics published in the South Carolina Department of Public Safety Traffic Collision Fact Book reveal that there was a car accident in the state once every 3.7 minutes in 2018, which breaks down into 969 fatal crashes and more than 38,00 injury-causing collisions throughout the year. Victims and their families suffer devastating tolls, which is why motorists are required to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance coverage. As such, if you were hurt or lost a loved one in a crash, your first step in the legal process is filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurer.
However, submitting the forms and supporting paperwork is just the beginning of the claims process. The insurance company will conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision, a probe that will likely include a conversation with you. The discussion should not be cause for alarm if you have already retained legal counsel to deal with the insurer, but there are concerns if you try to handle things on your own. Here are a few tips on what NOT to say to the claims adjuster before you hire a South Carolina car accident lawyer to represent you.
I may have been partly to blame for the auto crash. You should never admit that you were at fault or contributed in any way to the accident, since you are essentially giving the insurer grounds to deny your claim or make a lowball settlement offer. Insurance companies are only liable for paying damages in accidents that are caused by their policyholders. You damage your interests by saying you might be responsible.
I can tell you all about my injuries and treatment. While your injuries are a main component of your claim, you should decline to answer questions or provide information about your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Your medical records can speak for themselves in an auto crash claim, and your attorney will provide them when the time is right. If asked about your injuries, state that you are still being treated by a health care provider.
You can record this conversation. Never, under any circumstances, allow a claims adjuster to make a recording of your discussion. You might make statements that could harm your interests, whether you are talking about fault, your injuries, medical care, or other topics. Your lawyer can handle any requests for information in connection with the claims process, as well as discovery and depositions in a civil lawsuit.
I am ready to sign a release regarding my car accident claim. Just as the term suggests, a release is a document that you would sign to give up any rights you have regarding your vehicle crash claim. Usually, the insurer will ask you to sign a release when making an offer to settle: In exchange for a payment, you forego any claim or legal action you might have in the future. The insurance company may also be tricky by asking you to sign in the earliest stages of the claims process, before you know the full extent of your losses.
Unless you consult with a lawyer to determine whether the amount is fair, and know that you will not incur additional losses, you should not sign any document provided by the claims adjuster..
Count on a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney to Deal with the Insurer
As you can see, your conversation with the responsible driver’s insurance company may lead to pitfalls you did not expect. You may reveal too much to the claims adjuster, potentially damaging your rights. Instead of trying to handle the insurer on your own, trust our team at Powers Law, LLC to tackle essential legal tasks. Please contact our office in Greenwood, SC right away to set up a free consultation regarding your options.