Personal Injury FAQs
Most people have some knowledge of what a personal injury claim is. You are injured by what someone else did or didn’t do, and you file a claim against their insurance coverage to recoup your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages they have caused you.
It is certainly not as easy as it sounds. Insurance companies go to great lengths to avoid paying claims. They will try to place fault on your shoulders, minimize the severity of your injuries, and discount the non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
The truth is that insurance companies always have attorneys working for them. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, it is smart to have a lawyer on your side as well to level the field.
At Duncan and Nobles LLC, we know how insurance companies operate. They don’t intimidate us, and we refuse to allow them to intimidate our clients. If you have been injured in Rock Hill, South Carolina, or in Lancaster County or Chester County, arm yourself with knowledge and with our experience.
How Does Fault Work in South Carolina?
The basic question to ask about personal injuries is: Is South Carolina a fault state? South Carolina is, indeed, a fault state. What that means is that state law holds the party that caused your injuries financially responsible for the harms and losses you suffer as a result. In no-fault states, your own insurance coverage is the first coverage you access. In a fault state, like South Carolina, the negligent party’s liability coverage is on the hook.
Fault is based on negligence, which means someone did or failed to do something they owed a duty to deliver. In a car accident, for example, every driver owes everyone on the roadway a duty of care. They must obey all laws, proceed with caution, and be vigilant at all times. If they fail that duty and cause a crash, they are negligent. Those injured by that negligence have a legal right to recover compensation for their damages from the negligent driver.
South Carolina also observes modified comparative fault. You can be up to 50% at fault for the accident and still be able to file a third-party liability claim against the other party. However, any recovery you make will be reduced by your percentage of fault. As you can see, the assignment of fault is crucial to your ability to prevail in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Here are some frequently asked questions about personal injury claims that we are often asked at Duncan and Nobles LLC and answers that address them.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
After an accident, get medical attention right away, even if you don’t think or aren’t sure you are injured. There are two reasons why you should. First, some injuries are not readily apparent, and a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of some injuries can harm your recovery. Second, if you pursue a personal injury claim, there must be evidence that the subject accident caused your injuries. If you delay seeking medical treatment, the insurance company will allege that you injured yourself in some event other than the accident. Time is of the essence for your health and your claim.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster?
The insurance adjuster for the negligent party’s insurance company will attempt to contact you as soon as possible after the accident. This is a tactic they use to assign fault to you and devalue your injuries and your claim. The adjuster also wants to talk to you before you hire a personal injury attorney because once you do, all communication must go through your attorney. Insurance companies can’t “trick” experienced injury attorneys like they can the victims themselves.
Refuse to answer questions other than your full name, address, insurance company, and employer. The adjuster will otherwise ask questions designed to get you to admit fault, provide information about your injuries before you even know their extent, and contradict yourself so you appear to be dishonest.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
In South Carolina, you have three years from the date of the injury-causing accident to settle a personal injury claim with the insurer or to file a civil lawsuit against the negligent party. Once you file a lawsuit, the three-year clock stops ticking. If you let this statute of limitations expire, you won’t be able to pursue compensation for your damages.
Timing is important. You do not want to settle your claim too early before you know the full extent of your injuries. Even though most personal injury lawsuits are settled before trial begins, filing one gives you the time you may need to understand your true damages.
What Happens if the Person At Fault Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Although South Carolina law requires auto owners to carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage, not everyone complies. If you have, you will have the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage under your policy as you carry in liability coverage.
If you have medical payment benefits included in your auto insurance policy, you can access them regardless of who is at fault for an accident. If the negligent driver is uninsured, you can file a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage benefits. Moreover, if the negligent driver has assets, you can file a lawsuit to obtain a judgment against them.
Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
There is no law that states you must be represented by an attorney in a personal injury claim. However, the wise move is to hire one.
We know insurance company tactics. We know how to investigate accidents to establish fault. We are fierce advocates for our clients and tough negotiators. If you need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve, we are aggressive litigators who aren’t afraid to go to trial.
The Answers to Your Important Questions
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you are going to have many questions during the process. At Duncan and Nobles LLC, we know most of the answers and will find the answers to questions that may be entirely unique to your case. Our experience speaks for itself.
Call our office in Rock Hill, South Carolina, now to schedule a free case consultation. Start getting answers today.