The most important evidence in the car accidents in Rock Hill, SC are photographs. Photographs speak volumes and oftentimes, can help resolve cases prior to filing a suit. In today’s world, almost everyone has a smartphone. If they do not have a smartphone, they have a phone that has a camera on it. Taking pictures of the accident scene, taking pictures of the defendant’s vehicle, the other party’s vehicle, is important. The at-fault party’s vehicle can be very important, because that may be the last time you have an opportunity to see it, so getting the photos is very important. Also, there are times when the damage to your vehicle may not be bad, but the other car has substantial damage. Having those photos can dispel their argument that it was a minor impact.
Types of Evidence Needed
Witness statements should be taken as soon as possible. Memories fade and people move. If there are any witnesses that have waited for the police, get their name and telephone number and permission to have your lawyer call them at some point. You need to be able to speak with any witnesses to let them know that at some point you may need their help. So photographs of the vehicles, photographs of the accident scene, and getting the names and numbers of any witnesses that may have seen what happened and could give a good statement on your behalf is important. Witnesses should be reached as soon as possible.
It is recommended that you take a few minutes get as much information as possible such as the names other people involved, extent of other injuries and whether or not the other driver was drinking or using a cell phone at the time of wreck. If you are able to do that, there is nothing better. Some people involved in an automobile accident cannot do that, they get put in an ambulance and they are taken away, but as soon as you are able to do any of those things, if you know that the vehicles were all towed to the same body shop, it is important when you go look at your vehicle to make sure you get photographs of both vehicles and speak with the tow truck driver, as well. Find out what they know.
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What is Needed for a Case?
Obviously, damages are the key here. The law requires an at-fault party and/or their insurance company to make whole again the party who was injured because of their insured’s actions. The more serious the injuries the more substantial the damages will be. The more serious the damages are, the higher the settlement should be. We tell people all the time that there is good news and bad news. The good news is we can help you with your case. The bad news is that the value of your case depends largely on how badly you were hurt. A substantial settlement usually is the result of very serious injuries. In a really “good” case, most likely you also suffered serious injuries. So, in a sense, the good news may be that you are not hurt badly, but the bad news is that there may be little or no money involved.
You will not have a viable case if there are no injuries and no medical treatment received. Where there is no damage to the vehicles at all, then probably you do not have a very good case. That is not always the case, but typically, the amount of damages one suffers in an automobile accident or a motor vehicle wreck dictate the value of whether it would be a substantial settlement or not. Total exposure of the at-fault party’s carrier plays a role, as well. Insurance companies have a duty to make one whole again. Juries must be convinces that the damages are substantial. If you are able to convince a jury, an adjuster is likely to take your claim more seriously. They have greater exposure should the case go to trial.
Available coverage can also determine a settlement value. Sometimes, you have serious damages, but then there is little or no coverage available on either of the vehicles involved in the wreck. The minimum liability coverage required in South Carolina is only $25,000 in coverage. A lot of people will carry the $25,000 in coverage, so if you are involved in an accident, the other party only has $25,000 and you have a $100,000 in medical bills, the next place you would look is to your own insurance company. That will determine if you have underinsured motorist vehicle coverage and will, therefore, be able to pursue an underinsured motorist claim, as well. The amount of coverage involved will also dictate or, unfortunately, limit the value of a case.
As discussed, the value of the case largely depends on the amount of damages involved. Damages include everything from medical expenses and lost income to future medical expenses. It could involve pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of society, loss of consortium and punitive damages. Those are the damages in South Carolina and depending on how serious those damages are, these will determine the value of the case. Hiring an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer can best help you determine your case’s value.
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The Importance of Medical Information
Insurance companies are looking for what they refer to as the mechanism of injury. They are looking to see whether or not the wreck was bad enough or that there was enough damage to the vehicle to substantiate or justify the injuries that are being asserted or claimed. Obviously, medical testimony is very important, which is the medical statement from your doctor. Also, whether the injury you have suffered was, most probably, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, caused by the wreck is crucial. However, insurance companies look to property damage, unfortunately, as whether or not the wreck is most probably the cause of the injury. If there is very little or no damage to the vehicle, insurance companies will argue that it is unlikely anyone inside that vehicle suffered any type of injury.
It is a prospective argument to assert that in the event of a very low impact wreck, it is not likely that someone got hurt, but if you have gotten hurt, it is important to make sure that it gets documented properly by medical professionals so the argument can be supported to overcome the insurance company’s unjust assertions.
The other factors they look at are whether or not you contributed. They look at aggravating factors such as whether there was any alcohol involved, distracted driving, excessive speed are other considerations that affect the value of a claim. If the at-fault party was reckless, they were texting while driving or they had been drinking, then that increases the amount that a jury would more likely give in a particular car wreck case. Therefore, an early investigation into why the accident occurred, what the other driver was doing at the time of the wreck is very important. That is why it is advised to call an attorney sooner. An attorney can get much of that information and do their investigation. If these factors are involved, then it certainly adds value to someone’s claim because it would make punitive damages available to the client. Punitive damages are in addition to the actual damages and are designed to punish reckless behavior. Punitive damages can be substantial.
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Alcohol Involvement in Auto Accidents
Not all cases involving reckless behavior result in criminal cases. If it does, you do not have to wait for the criminal matters to be resolved. Evidence of recklessness is something that can be determined prior to the actual trial. If the other party pleads guilty to an offense that is criminal and that offense contributed to the wreck itself, then that is fully admissible. If they pled not guilty and the trial is pending, sometimes it may be better if you are unable to get a fair and reasonable offer from an insurance company to either file suit or allow the criminal case to take its course. However, as far as the criminal matter, if the other driver was arrested for not having a driver’s license or having a license under suspension that by itself did not necessarily contribute to the facts of the accident then it may have little or no impact on case value.
Similarly, if they are caught with marijuana inside the vehicle, but they were not under the influence of the marijuana at the time, then the marijuana itself did not contribute to the car accident, so it has very little or no bearing on the value of the case. It certainly could be admissible in a courtroom, which could have a jury angry at the fault party and result in a better verdict. However, you do not have to wait, but there are some circumstances where it might be better to wait until the criminal case has been resolved.
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Seeking Legal Assistance to Learn Factors That Affect Rock Hill Auto Accident Outcome
A Number Of Factors Affect Outcome In Auto Accident Cases. Call the Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm for A Complimentary Strategy Session at (803) 366-0333 to discuss the important factors that affect the outcome Rock Hill auto accident claims, and to get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.
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