If you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you’ll have a lot of extra expenses to pay. Before long the medical bills will start rolling in. if you’re temporarily disabled, you’ll have lost wages, and you may have to pay someone to help you with household chores.
Injury related expenses can pile up pretty quickly. If the other guy’s liability insurance company hasn’t offered to take on those extra expenses by the time the first wave of bills hit your mailbox, you should consider finding a personal injury lawyer to protect your interests.
Why won’t the insurance company pay?
The insurance company may have reasons for not committing to pay your claim right away, or for refusing to pay you at all. If they won’t give you a straight answer, won’t talk to you, or you don’t know the right questions to ask when they do call, you may never get the answers you need.
Dealing with an insurance company can make your recovery more stressful than it has to be. Your own auto insurance company may be able to help you sort through some of the complications. But they can’t force the other guy’s company to make a quick decision or treat you fairly when they do. What are the issues?
The South Carolina Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act requires that insurers “…adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation and settlement of claims..” They still have the right to get their insured’s version, talk to witnesses, get police reports, and photograph the scene to determine if their insured is responsible. Unfortunately what might be a reasonable time frame to the insurance company might not be reasonable to you.
The other guy’s insurance company will postpone paying your claim if there are outstanding coverage questions. For a premises case, those issues might involve ownership, tenants, leases, contracts, or divisions of legal responsibilities. If it’s not clear whose property you were on when you were injured, it can present even more coverage complications.
Auto coverage can be problematic as well, especially if the other driver doesn’t own the car he was driving when he ran into you, or if his car isn’t on his insurance policy. When it’s a commercial vehicle, there could be lease agreements, dual coverage, contractual liability coverage, owner/operators liability coverage and many other complications that can keep you from getting a decision on your claim.
You may believe that your injuries are completely someone else’s fault. Perhaps you tripped over a rake that the property owner left buried in a pile of leaves. Maybe the guy in the other car ran the red light and plowed into your car. Under these scenarios, liability might seem clear to you, but the insurance company could see it differently.
South Carolina negligence laws follow the 50 percent rule, which recognizes that more than one person can be responsible for an accident. If the liability insurance company decides that you were greater than 50 percent at fault, they won’t pay you anything. If they deny liability for your claim, a lawsuit might be your only option.
Do you need a professional to help you?
When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, it can be difficult to handle all the complications on your own. Besides, you should be focusing your energies on getting well while you let a professional handle the rest.
A personal injury attorney can initiate an investigation and develop the evidence necessary to prove liability. He can review outstanding coverage issues so you won’t feel like the insurance company has left you in the dark. When the time is right, he can evaluate your case, present it to the insurance company, and initiate a settlement on your behalf.
If you need help coping with the complications of your personal injury case, contact us. We can protect your interests.