FAQ About Auto Accidents
You've been hurt in an auto accident and it's not your fault. What should you do next? The experienced attorneys at the Lourie Law Firm know this can be a confusing time. It's normal to have questions. We are happy to provide answers. Contact our firm to set up a free consultation with one of our auto accident attorneys. In the meantime, here are some common questions people have after they've been involved in an accident.
Do I need a lawyer if my accident was minor?
You are not required to have a lawyer to file an auto accident claim with the insurance company. But it's a very good idea to have one. Keep in mind that insurance companies aren't on your side. They want to make money, not pay it out. They want to make you a quick and cheap offer so you'll go away. You may be eligible to seek compensation that is much greater than the amount they are offering. Our experienced attorneys know how to build cases that insurance companies can't ignore.
Can I sue the other driver?
That could be one option. A lot depends on the circumstances of your case. Our auto accident attorneys have a lot of experience with negotiating settlements with insurance companies that meet the needs of our clients. One of the first things we do is investigate your accident to look for evidence the other driver was responsible. When we can establish negligence, we are in a much better position to negotiate a settlement that meets your needs. But we will be prepared to take your case to court, if that's what it takes.
Am I required to give a statement to the other driver's insurance company?
No. After being involved in an auto accident, the other driver's insurance company may contact you and ask you to answer some questions or give a statement. You are under no obligation to do so. What they really want is to try to get you to say something they can use against you. They may try to trip you up and later suggest that you were somehow responsible for what happened. If you are contacted by the other driver's insurance company, politely tell them that you need to speak to an attorney first. Then contact us.
What if the driver that hit me is uninsured or underinsured?
The way it usually works if you are in an accident caused by a negligent driver is that the driver's insurance company ultimately pays for your claim. But in some accidents, the negligent driver responsible for causing the crash either does not have any insurance, or does not have enough to pay the full value of your claim.
In South Carolina, all drivers have the option of buying UM (uninsured) or UIM (underinsured) coverage on their policy. If you have this coverage and are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, your insurance company will pay at least some of the claim. We recommend that all drivers get this coverage on their policies. If you don't have this coverage, you may still be able to file a legal claim against the other driver. One of our experienced lawyers can go over your options.