Why Do Car Insurance Companies Deny Personal Injury Claims?
After a car accident, it seems like you have to wait for weeks, or even months, and jump through numerous hoops before the insurance company sends you any money. You fill out forms; some of them seem to be duplicates of forms you have already filled out, and this is not just your imagination. You call the insurance company and give a statement about the accident, and then, several weeks later, the company calls you back and asks you questions that you already answered. When a settlement offer finally arrives, it is for a much lower amount than you were hoping to get, not even enough to cover all your accident-related medical bills. As frustrating as it might seem, insurance companies use all kinds of underhanded tactics to justify paying you less; they try to trick you into making all kinds of mistakes that can reduce the value of your claim. As long as you do not sign the settlement offer letter, there is still time to negotiate for a better settlement. The best way to do this is to work with a Columbia car accident lawyer before or after you receive the settlement offer letter.
Uncertainty About Fault
South Carolina is a comparative fault state, which means that you can still get an insurance settlement, or even a damages award in a personal injury lawsuit, if you were partly at fault for the accident. Being partially at fault for the accident reduces your settlement or damages, however. The reduction is proportional to your percentage of fault; for example, if the accident was 10 percent your fault, the settlement can only cover 90 percent of your accident-related losses.
Waiting Too Long to Report the Accident
The longer you wait to report an accident, the more room you give the insurance company not to believe you about it. If several days have gone by since the accident, you should present a police report or other external evidence showing when and how the accident happened. No one expects you to file an insurance claim on the day of the accident if you were undergoing emergency surgery, but you should notify the insurance company about the accident as soon as you can.
Ambiguity Related to Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Car accident lawyers often advise you to go to the hospital emergency room immediately after the accident even if you don’t think that you are seriously injured. It is not because car accident lawyers are in cahoots with emergency room physicians. Rather, it is so you have documentation of the accident and your injuries from an unbiased source. Insurance companies will try to attribute any health complaints you have to pre-existing conditions instead of to the accident; this is why small claims adjusters often make small talk with you about the aches and pains of old age, motherhood, or anything else that could be causing your symptoms. Your best defense is to let your medical records do the talking.
Let Us Help You Today
The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you get a fair settlement offer after a car accident. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.