When you’re in an accident, it would be so nice if things were cut and dry. The responsible party would step up to the plate, admit their accountability and pay for the damages. Unfortunately, this isn’t how things always play out. Often you’ll need to fight not just the other driver, but their insurance company, your insurance company and, it seems, everyone else in the world. Learn these helpful tips for getting repairs after an accident, and how a car accident attorney can be your best ally in this fight.
Determining Fault and Liability
The first step in getting your car repaired following an accident is to determine whose responsibility it is to pay. South Carolina is a “tort” state, meaning that one or more parties can (and usually will) be found liable for an accident. The key to this is determining negligence — that one party did not obey their duty of reasonable care while on the road. Often, you will need help proving this, which is where an attorney can come into play.
Insurance Policy Limits
Regardless of fault, the other driver’s insurance company will only pay up to their policy limit for the accident, or the fair market value of your car. This means even if they were completely liable and you suffered $10,000 worth of damage, if they only have $5,000 worth of liability insurance, their policy will only pay you $5,000.
In addition, if you suffer $10,000 and your car is only worth $8,000, the insurance company will pay you $8,000 and take your car in exchange. The idea behind this is that the payout will be enough to buy you a new, comparable car. The value of your car is usually based on Kelley Blue Book listings.
Using Your Coverage
Many drivers carry additional coverage on their own car, just in case this sort of thing happens. There are three kinds of extra coverage you might have. These include:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Coverage;
- Collision Coverage;
- Comprehensive Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured coverage kick in if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your car’s damage. Collision coverage will pay for damages to your car if you were partially (or entirely) at fault for the accident. Comprehensive comes into play if your car was damaged while parked.
South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
There are many things that could go wrong during this process. You may not agree with the damage estimate offered by the insurance company. The insurer or other driver may refuse to pay for damages, or may claim that they weren’t responsible. In this case, you’ll need to file a lawsuit to get compensated.
A South Carolina car accident attorney is your best ally in the fight to get compensation. These legal professionals know how to stand up to bullying and strong-arm tactics employed by insurance companies and will fight for your rights every step of the way to get you the money you deserve.
If you’ve been in a car accident, don’t wait. Read more about our auto accident services, and give the people at Harris & Graves a call to discuss your case, today.