If you’ve been in a car accident, you probably have many questions about the claims process and how settlements work. The insurance company and your lawyer negotiate to reach a car accident settlement.
Settling a car accident claim can take time. In South Carolina, the process usually takes 6 to 18 months on average, depending on the accident’s severity and injuries. However, some claims may settle in just a few months, while complex cases can take two years or longer.
The most important thing is that a settlement should fully and fairly compensate you for your losses.
The Car Accident Settlement Process
Before a settlement is made, there are several steps involved.
First, gather any evidence from the accident, like photos of the vehicles, your injuries, witness statements, police reports, medical bills, records of time missed from work, etc. The more evidence you have, the stronger your claim will be.
Contact the Insurance Company
Next, contact the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company as soon as possible and let them know you intend to file an injury claim. Give them details of the accident and your damages. Ask about their claims process and what documents they require. The sooner you start the process, the better, since South Carolina’s statute of limitations is three years for personal injury claims.
Negotiate a Settlement
The insurance company will review your claim and evidence to determine the fault and the value of your damages. They will likely offer you a settlement amount to resolve the claim. You can accept their initial offer or try to get a higher amount.
It’s important to hire a skilled attorney who can negotiate with the insurance company for you.
What If an Agreement Can’t Be Reached?
If negotiations fail and you can’t agree on a fair settlement, you may need to pursue litigation in civil court to resolve your claim. Lawsuits can drag on for years, and the outcome is uncertain. The best approach is usually to settle your claim with the help of an experienced attorney.
Settlement negotiations will continue even after filing a lawsuit.
What Influences the Settlement Amount?
The amount of your car accident settlement depends on several key factors. Insurance companies determine settlement amounts based on the following.
- Liability and fault: The level of liability and fault in the accident is a major determining factor. If the other driver was clearly at fault, especially in cases of serious injury, the settlement amount will likely be higher.
- Injuries sustained: The severity of injuries to all parties involved impacts the settlement amount. Permanent or long-term injuries typically warrant higher settlements. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash or back strain may result in lower offers.
- Property damage: The cost to repair or replace vehicles and other damaged property is considered. Higher costs of repair or replacement due to extensive damage can increase the total settlement amount.
- Loss of income or earning capacity: If the accident victim misses work for an extended time due to injuries, the settlement may include compensation for lost wages and future lost earning potential.
- Comparable cases: Insurance companies review comparable cases with similar factors like location, injuries, liability, and damages to help determine appropriate settlement ranges and amounts.
Reach Out to Our Doctors for Injury Documentation
To properly document your injuries after a car accident, you’ll want to see certified physicians as soon as possible. Our team of board-certified medical practitioners can assess your injuries and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored for you.
At Injury Medicine, we aim to relieve your pain, speed recovery, and work with your attorney on personal injury cases so you have no out-of-pocket costs. Call us now at 864-866-PAIN for an evaluation.
Let certified physicians experienced in accident recovery assess you fully. Our expertise and detailed evaluations are invaluable for both your health and any legal actions you may take.