Top 3 Myths that Can Reduce Your Car Wreck Compensation
If you believe one of these myths, you could end up with less car wreck compensation than you’re entitled to.
I can rely on the police report to show who was at fault in the wreck.
If the police report from your accident clearly states that the other driver broke traffic laws, then that should be sufficient to prove their guilt in court and secure a victory for yourself, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Under most circumstances, South Carolina law bars police reports from being used as evidence in a lawsuit. The police report, instead, helps the car insurance companies determine how to pay, but it’s still only part of the picture.
In short, you can’t rely on a police report to determine your liability, but you will need to develop a stronger case with more evidence. Record the names of any witnesses that are at the scene, and make sure to obtain their phone number and/or their addresses so that they may be contacted in the future if the need arises. Take pictures of the crash, the location and any visible damage to the vehicles involved. A car wreck attorney can help with establishing liability but may not be able to obtain important information only available at the scene.
I feel fine after the accident, so I don’t need to see a doctor.
Many symptoms associated with car accidents, like headaches, body aches, and whiplash, can appear several days or even weeks after the accident. Still, it’s smart to see a doctor as soon as possible after any kind of car accident, even if you aren’t feeling any symptoms. Though this may sound like a waste of time and money, there’s a good reason for it.
From a legal point of view, it’s important because most insurance companies put a high value on whether you saw a doctor within 72 hours of the accident. The amount of possible compensation you can receive may be significantly lower if you take a “wait and see” approach and go to the doctor well after the date of the accident. If you don’t develop any symptoms later, you can be grateful for your good health. If you do, you’ll be glad you saw a doctor so soon after the accident.
I will end up with more money in my pocket if I work things out with my insurance directly rather than hire an attorney.
While there may be a few cases in which this was actually true, the vast majority of the time it’s not.
First, an insurance adjuster is not your advocate, and is not interested in the best possible outcome for you. They are there to resolve the claim quickly, typically without considering what is truly in your best interest. Furthermore, if they know you’re trying to settle your case without an attorney, they will likely offer a lower settlement amount, because they know that most of the time, you’ll accept it. That doesn’t happen when the insurance company knows you’re working with an experienced attorney.
Second, remember Myth #1? Proving fault in a car accident case can be tough, but it’s crucial in assigning liability in order to determine compensation. An attorney who can show the other driver has higher liability is putting money in your pocket.
There’s Nothing Like Experience
Hopefully, this will be the only time in your life you will need to go through something like this. For an experienced personal injury attorney, however, this is something they’ve done many times before. Even considering the standard amount that personal injury attorneys receive of the settlement, 33-40%, in the majority of cases you will still walk away with more money at the end of the day by working with an attorney than by trying to do it yourself.
Work with Greenville Car Accident Attorney Andrew C. Barr
Personal injury attorney Andrew C. Barr of Fulton & Barr has experience helping those injured in a car crash recover compensation for injuries, lost wages, and more. Call today if you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident and want to discuss it, at 1-800-868-2110 or contact us online today.
Attorney Andrew C. Barr’s practice areas include personal injury, workers’ compensation, and product liability. Andrew graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law and has been practicing law since 1989. He has represented persons in all courts including family court, circuit court, magistrates court, property damage arbitration, mediation, federal court, the SC Court of Appeals and the SC Supreme Court.
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