If you’ve experienced an accident in South Carolina and suffered a personal injury, you could be eligible for an insurance settlement. An insurance settlement is a monetary offer of compensation in response to a person’s claim of financial damage.
If you are eligible, the insurance company will send you the first offer of compensation. With all that you are going through, you may be tempted to accept it. However, you should not accept the first offer of compensation. In some cases, accepting the first offer might be a good idea, but, generally speaking, you’ll want to negotiate for a better personal injury settlement.
You may be wondering if you have any right to compensation in the first place. According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance (SCDOI), you are eligible for an insurance settlement if your accident involved a bodily injury. This includes car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.
If you’ve recently had an accident and sustained a personal injury, you’re undoubtedly dealing with many stressors. With the trauma of the accident, the pain and suffering of your injury, the mounting medical expenses, as well as the likelihood of missing work to deal with it all and recover, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind.
It might be tempting to accept the insurance company’s first offer and put the whole incident behind you. Still, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer here at the Hammack Law Firm. We can help you to get the insurance settlement that you deserve.
What to Consider
Keep in mind insurance companies are looking out for their best interests instead of your own. They would much rather attempt to settle your personal injury claim quickly here, including the severity of your injury and both economic and non-economic factors. You should carefully consider each one before accepting any initial offer of compensation. Here’s a brief primer on what each one entails:
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The Severity of Your Injury
The severity of your injury will affect how much you can expect from your claim.
If you suffered a minor injury and your treatment was short-lived, accepting a smaller settlement that covers your immediate medical expenses could be the right move. However, if you suffered a more severe injury and need long-term treatment, negotiating for a larger settlement is in your best interest. It’s important to make sure that any settlement you receive will fully cover any current and future medical costs. You should also be aware that some injuries can have long-term effects that aren’t immediately obvious and may show up years down the road.
No matter the case, seek professional medical attention immediately and get your doctor’s medical advice in written form. Be sure to share this information with your lawyer.
Economic damages are any financial losses you endured due to your accident and injuries. These include:
- Repair costs
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost Income
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If you suffered from mental or physical harm, you might also be able to recover non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include:
- Lost quality of life
- Pain and suffering
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What Happens if I Accept the First Offer of Compensation?
Should you accept the first offer of compensation, your claim will be settled and the insurance company will consider the matter closed. You will likely have to sign paperwork that waives any further rights to file a legal claim or to ask for additional compensation. While it is your decision to make, we still strongly advise speaking with a lawyer before signing anything.
What Happens if I Don’t Accept the First Offer of Compensation?
Insurance companies expect to negotiate when making the first offer of compensation, which is why they often offer a small amount. This way of thinking can confuse people who have never dealt with insurance companies before. Bear in mind that insurance companies are businesses, and businesses don’t like giving money away. Their major priority is keeping their business afloat, and your own well-being likely does not align with those goals.
If you choose to deny their initial offer, you must then make a counteroffer. You can decide to do this on your own, but it is not recommended, as negotiating with an insurance company can be complicated and time-consuming. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. If you connect with a dependable personal injury lawyer, you can negotiate with confidence.
Here at the Hammack Law Firm, we deal with insurance companies regularly and know the ins and outs of the process. We will do all of the legwork while keeping you in the loop. This process includes gathering documents, testimonies, and any further evidence needed to build a strong case. You can be confident that we will get you the insurance settlement you deserve.
What if They Don’t Accept my Counteroffers?
While it is common for insurance claims to be settled outside of court, some cases do still go to trial. It’s important to note that you always have the power to settle your claim at any point throughout the process. However, if the insurance company still doesn’t offer you the compensation you feel that you deserve, you can choose to take them to trial. In this case, it’s extremely important to enlist the help of an experienced lawyer.
If you have a solid case to support your claim, it is not unheard of for insurance companies to settle to avoid going to court. Likewise, the insurance company may decide to settle outside of court if your witness’ testimonies proved convincing enough.
Whatever your situation may be, trust in your lawyer’s legal advice. They regularly deal with insurance companies and know when it’s time to settle and when it’s time to go to trial.
If you do decide to file a lawsuit, be sure to get started as soon as you can. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in South Carolina in most cases is three years, according to S.C. Ann § 15-3-530. In order for your case to be valid, it has to begin within that time frame.
Call the Hammack Law Firm for Help Today:
Negotiating with an insurance company may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. At the Hammack Law Firm, we are committed to getting our clients in the Upstate of South Carolina the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (864) 740-8858 for a free consultation.
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