If you borrowed a car, truck, or motorcycle and got hurt in a South Carolina car accident through no fault of your own, you may wonder how borrowing the vehicle may impact your legal rights. You've got the same rights to a South Carolina car accident settlement as any other victim.
The next question is, how do you get that settlement? I'm here to show you my law firm's process to get South Carolina car accident settlements for folks who get hurt when they borrow a vehicle.
Part of that answer naturally includes asking if hiring a car accident attorney for your case is worth it. I've answered the question when you need a South Carolina car accident attorney, and I go even further to tell you WHY. You'll be confronted with a professional insurance adjuster who's trained to lowball you into a cheap settlement any way they can. And the truth is, folks like you don't know how to value a settlement to make sure you don't get shortchanged.
That's why I've dedicated my career to you as a Spartanburg, South Carolina, car accident attorney. But I'm not here to force you into hiring me. I want you to get your questions answered before you ever hire me. That's why I wrote my FREE BOOK on South Carolina car accident cases.
I'll answer your questions for free, too. Call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now Form to get your questions answered in a FREE, NO PRESSURE strategy session with a Spartanburg, South Carolina car accident attorney.
Here's the process I use to help my clients get settlements when they borrow a car and get hurt in a car accident.
First Things First
If you're seriously hurt in a South Carolina car accident, one of the first things we need to know is how much insurance is available to pay a settlement. That's where settlements come from since most people can't afford to pay a big settlement to a seriously injured victim. The sources of insurance potentially available to a borrower may surprise you. Here are a few examples:
- Liability insurance. This is the insurance carried by the at-fault driver to pay for your injuries. Sadly, South Carolina law requires only a minimum of $25,000 insurance, which often comes nowhere near paying a settlement for a seriously injured victim.
- Underinsurance (UIM). This insurance allows a bigger settlement when there's not enough liability insurance if the car's owner or you has it on your policy. You can get this coverage from the vehicle you borrowed. Better yet, you might be able to get even more if you have UIM on vehicles you own. And if you borrowed the car from a relative who you live with, you might be able to use multiple policies until your settlement is fully paid or you use up all the coverage.
Let me bust a myth about UIM. Just because you paid for the coverage doesn't mean your insurance company will help you—quite the opposite. First, you can't count on them to contact you to volunteer that you even have the coverage. Second, when you attempt to use it, your own insurance company turns against you, defending the at-fault driver.
Finding UIM and using it is tough and highly complex, especially if you're a wounded amateur. Sadly, the “friend” or family member who lent you the car may refuse to help when you tell them you might need to use their insurance. Getting yourself out of that situation may be enough to justify hiring a Spartanburg, South Carolina, car accident attorney.
Making sure you've got all the available coverage for UIM is awful tricky, and it's got to be done right. When I review cases for UIM coverage, I am extremely cautious to review all possible insurance policies and insurance law to be certain I know exactly how much coverage you've got. If I'm a professional and I've got to be this cautious, this is just not a job for the inexperienced. And that's who insurance companies love—because adjusters take advantage of ignorance to cheat victims out of settlements.
Don't fall prey and risk cheating yourself out of many thousands of dollars you may need. Call me toll-free at 888-230-1841 to get your questions answered and discuss the possible insurance to pay a better settlement in your South Carolina car accident case.
Spartanburg Car Accident Attorney’s Six-Point Process to Negotiate a Settlement in a South Carolina Car Accident Case for a Car Borrower
Here are the steps we take to help our clients get car accident settlements:
1. Prove You're Not at Fault for the Crash
We get a clear understanding from you of how the wreck occurred when we meet for our strategy session. Then we begin gathering evidence to prove the at-fault driver caused the accident, including:
- The police report. It's not the report you get at the scene. We have to request it from the state. For car accidents involving DUI drivers, we go a step further and get the entire police investigative file to include the dashcam video, so we can prove just how drunk or high the at-fault driver was, to help prove why you should get punitive damages.
- Pictures of the crash, if possible. Sometimes our clients have them, and sometimes it's in the police file. If not, hopefully we at least have access to pictures of the crashed vehicles after they got towed away. Tow yard pictures are almost as good as pictures from the scene.
- Witness statements. Independent eyewitnesses can provide all the proof of fault you need. If we can contact them to help your case, that's what we do.
2. Get Medical Evidence and Use it to Prove Your Injuries
Since getting medical records and bills is such a complicated, frustrating process, I have a dedicated staff member whose entire job is doing just that. It often takes multiple follow-ups over several weeks to get the records and bills in.
I don't just get records and sling them at the insurance company, letting them figure out what they mean. We analyze your records to point out how they prove the severity of your injuries. That gives us a full understanding of the impact of the injuries. And we let the insurance company know that we know what they say, as I send a summary of the records to the insurance company.
In some cases, I may go even further. I often meet with doctors for a discussion of your injuries and their impact—especially if they require future medical care. This often results in me developing a brief, high-impact exhibit called a medical questionnaire. In it, the doctor checks yes or no questions to paint a powerful picture of the treatment and harm your injuries caused you and what kind of care you need in the future.
3. Prove More Than “Pain and Suffering”
Just about any car accident victim in South Carolina needs to know how much they can get for pain and suffering. But that's actually the wrong question, since South Carolina law allows car accident victims to be compensated for more than that. That's why I call it human loss.
Another myth busted. There is no “pain and suffering calculator.” You are not an algorithm—You're a person, and all people are different. The law takes that into account, including how any person can be uniquely affected by different injuries.
This is one of the most important—and hardest—parts of your case. I make sure to have a thorough understanding of everything you've been through since day one, so I can do the truly hard legal work to evaluate your human loss settlement amount.
You can get lost income in a South Carolina car accident settlement. We work to help you account for all the income you lost, even helping your employer verify it.
Husbands and wives of victims have a claim too. This is called “loss of consortium.” This settlement is for the damage to your marriage. It's the law's way of accounting for the fact that your injuries caused your spouse to miss out on the most precious relationship in all of your life.
4. Determine How Much We Should Ask for in a Settlement and Discuss it
Despite all our work and pride in it, you are the most important person in your case. Once we have all the evidence, I review all the relevant factors for a settlement evaluation. I share my honest assessment in writing, including the facts that are against us. Once we discuss it, we set a settlement goal and go for it!
5. Send a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company
This is our formal settlement offer, which usually spans several pages, to justify the insurance company paying a good South Carolina car accident settlement. For especially serious cases, it may take the form of several letters over time, tracking your medical progress and skyrocketing medical bills. This prevents shocking the insurance company with a massive demand package, which then delays your settlement for them to review it.
Basically, the demand letter sets out why fault is clear, highlights the medical treatment you got, and summarizes your human loss, including permanent injury and future medical care, if that's part of your case. Often, it's the end result of hours and hours and hours of legal work.
6. Negotiating With the Insurance Company and What We Do if They Won't Help
I will keep you updated with every offer and counteroffer from the insurance adjuster as negotiations move forward. I will get your input on how we will respond each time. Hopefully it ends with a successful settlement, as in most cases.
But sometimes the insurance company just won't do the right thing. That's where an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney can easily take the next step, pursuing a lawsuit. If we file suit, we have done most of the work to get it ready for trial. It's largely up to me to push it through the legal process and continue working to convince the insurance company to pay a proper settlement. In most cases, their lawyer helps them and us reach a legal solution to your problem through a South Carolina car accident settlement.
If You've Been in a South Carolina Car Accident, You Don't Have to Do it Alone
I might make this process look easy, but it's because I created it. And parts of it can still be challenging for me, even though I'm a professional. For seriously injured car accident victims, let me be honest: it's just too much. The work is hard, complex, tedious, and boring. It's enough to make you give up way before the many months it can take to get a settlement. That's exactly what the insurance company wants.
But it doesn't have to be that way. I'm a Spartanburg, SC car accident attorney and I'm here to help. Make a simple toll-free phone call at 888-230-1841 to get your questions answered and get some peace of mind. Let us take over the dirty legal work so you can focus on getting better and getting back to living.