In South Carolina, accident victims can file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for their injuries if someone else was at fault for an accident. Too often, people file these claims on their own only to later learn that they made some mistakes with their case. Ultimately, these individuals end up losing out on the fair compensation they deserve. This is one reason it’s so important to work with a personal injury attorney if you have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence. An attorney will help you avoid these common mistakes, so you get the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Relying Too Much on the Accident Report
In South Carolina, you must immediately report any accident that involves injury or death. A police report is a valuable tool in a personal injury claim, as it can help establish fault and other important facts of the case. However, there are certain things that a police report may not include. These are pictures of the accident scene, names and contact information of witnesses, and the insurance information of the at-fault party.
It’s easy to forget to document these things at the scene of the accident, but it’s critical that you do. Neglecting to collect this information can have a negative impact on your claim in the future. It’s also very difficult to track down this information in the days, or even hours, following the accident.
Saying Too Much
You should definitely cooperate with any officers that arrive at the scene, and answer as many of their questions as you can. However, you also don’t want to volunteer damaging information. Even apologizing at the scene is dangerous, as the insurance company and at-fault party may misconstrue your words and take them out of context. If that happens, it can hurt your claim for compensation. Remember to speak solely about the facts and if you don’t know an answer to a question, don’t guess.
Not Seeking Medical Help Right Away
Your first priority after an accident should always be your health. Seeking medical treatment immediately following an accident will help ensure your injuries don’t worsen. It also means that your medical condition after the accident will go on the record, as medical reports are very detailed. Failing to get the medical attention you need can not only harm your health, but it can also greatly hurt your case. The insurance company will surely argue that you weren’t that injured because you didn’t even seek treatment after the accident.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies don’t want to lose any more of their profits than is absolutely necessary. As such, they’re generally very quick to offer accident victims settlements. They do this early on in the claims process because you don’t yet understand the full extent of your injuries, or how much they’ll actually cost to treat. Once you accept the settlement, you have no recourse if you discover you require more compensation in the future. An attorney can review all settlement offers with you, and advise on whether or not an offer is fair.
Waiting Too Long to Speak to a Lancaster Personal Injury Attorney
It is true that a Lancaster personal injury attorney can take on your case even if you’ve already filed your claim. However, your case has the best chance of success if you’re represented by a lawyer from the very beginning. At that point, an attorney can still collect evidence, perform a full investigation, and speak to witnesses while their memory is still fresh.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was the fault of someone else, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm at (803) 599-3080. We are a law firm passionate about standing up for the rights of accident victims and helping them through this very difficult time. Time may be running out on your claim, so don’t wait. Call us or fill out our online form for your free consultation today.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.