Several factors could affect how long after a car accident you can claim an injury. In general, you should act as soon as your injuries allow. Working with a car accident lawyer is the best way to safeguard your rights and ensure you understand the value of your related expenses and losses.
If you have reason to believe you may have sustained injuries after a crash, see a doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible. The sooner you get a diagnosis and begin treatment, the better. In addition, your physician will document your injuries and tie them to the collision if you get care quickly afterward.
Do Not Let Your Rush to Get Compensation Hurt Your Claim
After a car accident, victims generally want to settle their claim as soon as possible. It is only natural to want to get back to your family and loved ones and the life you enjoyed before the crash. However, you should not let this desire – or mounting medical bills – get the best of you.
You will want to wait to settle your claim until you have a good idea of your prognosis and future care needs. If you work with an attorney, they will investigate the crash and prove negligence and liability. However, they will likely wait until you reach maximum medical recovery before they demand a payout from the insurance company because either:
- Your injuries have healed, you have returned to work, and you are at or near 100 percent recovery. You can enjoy the same activities as before the accident; or
- You are unlikely to improve further. Your doctors are aware of your limitations and impairments, and you are learning how to work around them and live with them.
This distinction is important because there is no way to have a complete picture of your recoverable damages until this time. In addition to your to-date medical care, you can recover money for your future treatment, therapy, equipment needs.
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Each State has a Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit After a Car Accident
While there is not always a deadline for filing an insurance claim, there is a timeline that affects these cases. This deadline comes from the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in the case. In South Carolina, you generally have up to three years to sue the liable parties responsible for your crash under S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530.
Missing this deadline would mean losing the right to sue. Therefore, ensuring you either settle or begin a lawsuit before this deadline is essential. Having the right to take the case to trial is important to your claim because it provides leverage for a fair settlement. If the insurer knows you cannot sue their policyholder, they have little incentive to offer you adequate compensation.
Insurance Companies Are Not on Your Side
It is critical to understand the tactics insurers will use to minimize how much they must pay you, especially if you do not have an attorney yet. Insurance adjusters are not on your side, even if they say they work for your best interests. Their primary objective is to pay out as little of their company’s money as possible.
First, you must beware of adjusters who try to settle early. This tactic is common. They want you to accept a cash settlement that sounds like a lot of money but is unlikely to cover your entire range of damages.
Also, be careful of what you say. If possible, do not provide any recorded statements and limit the information you give the insurer. Talking with them will not help your case, but they may use anything you say against you.
Waiting Too Long
Lastly, they might try to run the clock out on you. They could delay a settlement until the statute of limitations expires if you are not careful. Your attorney will work to prevent this outcome.
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An Attorney Will Protect Your Rights and Fight for Fair Compensation
Discussing your case with an attorney is the best way to determine when you need to file your claim or take other legal action after a South Carolina traffic accident. Most personal injury firms provide complimentary consultations. They can assess your case and explain how they would approach the claims process.
If you hire a car accident attorney, they will develop a strategy to prepare, value, file, and negotiate your claim and seek a fair payout for you. If they cannot, they will sue the at-fault driver on your behalf.
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You can talk with a team member from Hammack Law Firm about your case today. We offer a small firm feel, but our client reviews show that our big firm experience wins cases like yours all the time. Call (864) 326-3333 now to get started.