It’s not always necessary to hire a lawyer after an accident, so how do you know if you should? There’s no exact formula to this, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself after an accident to determine whether you could benefit from having a legal professional by your side. Most South Carolina personal injury law firms offer free case evaluations to accident victims, so you have nothing to lose by picking up the phone.
Personal injury accidents often leave victims with lots of questions, and among the most popular is the question of whether they should hire a personal injury lawyer or attempt to settle their case on their own.
Every case is different, but here are some great questions that can help determine whether you should hire a lawyer:
1. Is there a liability dispute?
Sometimes it’s obvious who was at fault after an accident. For example, if a motorist is rear-ended while waiting at a stop sign, the driver in the moving car would almost certainly be at fault.
However, it’s not uncommon for at-fault parties and their insurance companies to try to place blame on the victim. Determining fault in these situations can be difficult, especially if there were no surveillance cameras or witnesses at the scene.
Trying to prove the other party was at fault is not something you should attempt to do on your own. An experienced South Carolina accident lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation to determine who was at fault. Once evidence has been gathered and the facts have been determined, they will use that information to build the strongest case possible for you.
2. Are you being accused of partially contributing to the accident?
South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that more than one person can be found to be at-fault for an accident. As long as a person didn’t play more than a 50% role in the accident occurring, they can still receive compensation.
If a person is found to be partially responsible, their award is reduced by the percentage they were found to be at fault. This means that insurance companies often exaggerate the role played by the other side in order to reduce the amount of cash they have to pay out.
For example, if a person was found to be 10% at fault for an accident, their award would be reduced by 10%. So if they were awarded $100,000, they would only receive $90,000.
If the other side’s insurance company is accusing you of playing a role in the accident when you didn’t, or they’re trying to assign an unfair amount of blame, contact a lawyer right away so they can fight for you.
3. Are there multiple parties involved?
The more parties involved in an accident, the more complicated it can be to determine liability and settle the case. Accident cases with multiple parties tend to involve multiple insurance companies, all of which will have teams of powerful lawyers working for them. This is why you’ll need your own legal professional who can look out for your best interests. They will take care of all the communication and negotiations, making sure your rights and interests are protected. This will allow you to skip the legal stress and mountains of paperwork so you can focus on your recovery.
4. Did you sustain a serious injury?
Accident victims often want to settle their case as soon as possible so they can move on with their lives, but that often means they accept low-ball offers without considering the long-term consequences of doing so.
A great example would be if a person broke their shoulder in a car accident. They might assume they will be completely healed after the first surgery, when in reality they might need several more surgeries, physical therapy, and extended periods away from work as a result of their injury.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will look at the entire picture, taking into account the long-term implications of your injury, from the financial cost to the impact it will have on your quality of life and career. This kind of calculation can only be done by an experienced personal injury attorney. They will know how to put an accurate value on the current and future costs associated with the accident.
5. Is the insurance company not playing fair?
You must remember that the other side’s insurance company is not on your side, but they are very good at pretending to be. Many times, they will call an accident victim and feign concern for their well-being, all while offering a low-ball amount that doesn’t even come close to covering the cost of their injuries. They may also downplay the severity of your injuries, claiming they’re actually very minor or were sustained elsewhere.
South Carolina personal injury attorneys know all the tricks that insurance companies have up their sleeves. They know exactly how to respond and they’ll do everything they can to reach a fair settlement after your accident. If a settlement can’t be reached, they’ll fight for you in court.
A personal injury lawyer will also advise you on what to do while your case is being negotiated (such as refraining from posting on social media), and they’ll communicate with you every step of the way. They will serve as your guide and advocate throughout the entire legal process.
Contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates for a FREE case evaluation
If you think you might need to hire a personal injury attorney, call McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates for a free case evaluation. We would be happy to listen to your story and advise you on your next steps. The call is completely free, and there’s absolutely no obligation to hire us afterwards.
McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has been representing personal injury victims in South Carolina for more than four decades, and we have an excellent track record of getting clients the compensation they’re rightfully owed.
We are highly experienced in South Carolina law and truly care about the accident victims we represent. We treat our clients like family and work hard to achieve the best outcomes possible. Our experience means that we know how to place a value on your economic and non-economic damages while also looking ahead to determine how your accident might impact your future.
Our South Carolina law firm understands that personal injury accidents can be extremely traumatic for victims, and that’s why we’ve dedicated our professional lives to helping them receive fair compensation following their accidents. We are excellent negotiators who always keep our clients’ best interests at heart, and we settle most cases outside of court – but we’re happy to stand in front of a jury if necessary.
In addition to representing personal injury accident victims, we also represent families who have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. While we understand that no amount of money will bring a loved one back, we do everything we can to help alleviate the stress caused by unexpected funeral costs and other end-of-life expenses.
McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates has seven offices across the Midlands of South Carolina, in Aiken, Camden, Columbia, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Sumter. Give us a call today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®