Dealing with an Insurance Company After an Accident
Even the safest, most experienced drivers can find themselves involved in motor vehicle accidents. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major collision, any type of car accident can result in serious and potentially debilitating injuries. In the aftermath of an accident, you are required to notify your insurance company, and will likely be contacted by an insurance claims adjuster representing the at fault driver. Regardless of the extent of the damages you suffered, you deserve to receive compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, while many people hold the mistaken idea that insurance companies have their best interests at heart, nothing could be further from the truth. When dealing with potentially serious car accident injuries, it is important to be aware of how insurance adjusters review claims, and the factors that could influence your settlement amount.
Filing Your Insurance Claim
All licensed drivers in the state of South Carolina are required to carry automobile insurance coverage on any vehicle they own. According to the SC Department of Insurance (DOI),drivers are required to carry, at minimum, bodily injury liability, which covers the costs associated with injuries in an accident, property damage liability, covering damages to your vehicle or other property, and uninsured motorist coverage, which covers you in the event your accident was caused by a driver who was uninsured. When reviewing your claim, your insurance adjuster should assess the following factors in determining a settlement amount:
- Medical expenses, including costs for ongoing care.
- Lost wages resulting from your injury, both now and in the future.
- Costs associated with repairing or replacing your vehicle or other property damaged in the accident.
- The pain and suffering you endured as the result of your injury.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often undervalue these amounts, or exclude categories such as pain and suffering or future losses and expenses altogether. One tactic claims representatives frequently use is to make a low settlement offer soon after the accident occurred. This offer may come at a time where you are still recuperating and not fully aware of the extent of your injuries. Remember that you do not have to accept an immediate settlement offer, and it is within your rights to contact an attorney for help in negotiating your claim.
Dealing With the Insurance Adjuster
When dealing with an insurance claims adjuster, it is important to be aware that these employees are often overworked, and their job depends on paying out the lowest possible amount in claims in order to ensure their company is profitable. According to an Edmunds report on dealing with insurance adjusters, factors that could influence your settlement amount include the following:
- Not conducting a thorough investigation into your claim;
- Undervaluing the cost of replacing or repairing your vehicle;
- Undervaluing the extent of your injuries or the amount of time you will need to recover; and
- Attempting to deny or diminish your claim by blaming you for the accident.
It is important to be aware that you have one shot to get the compensation you need, as once you sign the settlement agreement, you will be unable to claim additional damages in the future.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a car accident, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm first, before making any statements or accepting any settlements with the insurance company. Our experienced South Carolina accident attorneys understand the long term ramifications that can result from your injuries, as well as the tactics insurance companies use to deny or undervalue claims. We can advise you on the best course of action and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.