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How Does an Insurance Company Determine Who Is at Fault in a South Carolina Car Accident?

Car accident victims and insurance companies do not always see eye to eye, especially when it comes to who is to blame for a crash. So, how do insurance companies determine fault, and what can you do if blame is wrongly assigned to you?

Insurance companies should determine fault for auto accidents by carefully reviewing relevant materials, speaking with involved parties, and conducting thorough investigations. During this time, you can explain what happened to the insurance company and provide any pertinent information about your claim. Unfortunately, insurance companies are often most concerned with reducing damages paid to victims and might sometimes engage in bad faith practices or wrongly assign partial fault to victims. Should this happen, you can take your case to court. Doing so will give you the opportunity to prove the other driver’s fault for your injuries and might result in additional compensation.

To set up a free and confidential discussion of your case with our South Carolina car accident lawyers, call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers now at (803) 451-4000.

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault in South Carolina Car Accidents?

Since South Carolina is a fault state for car accidents, meaning victims file claims with negligent drivers’ liability insurance instead of their own personal injury protection insurance, properly assigning blame is important. Insurance companies do this by reviewing relevant materials and speaking with involved parties.

Reviewing Relevant Materials

When you file a claim with a driver’s liability insurance following an auto accident in South Carolina, hand over all relevant materials that point to the other party’s fault. This might include the police report for your accident, photographs you took at the accident scene, and medical records confirming your injuries. An insurance adjuster might visit the accident scene while processing a claim to better understand the location and road condition. If you do not provide evidence of negligence during this time, the other driver’s liability insurance might not have sufficient information to determine fault. Gathering evidence of negligence immediately after an accident takes place will be important. Call the police, speak with eyewitnesses to get their contact information, and go to the hospital. In the days that follow, our lawyers can obtain additional evidence of negligence and send that to the insurance company.

Speaking with Involved Parties

Insurance companies may also speak with involved parties when determining fault for car accidents in South Carolina. During these conversations, it is important to have our Florence, SC car accident lawyers present. We can help you prepare for an interview by reviewing the facts of your case, including the accident itself and your subsequent damages. Insurance adjusters might ask leading questions or insinuate that you were negligent or acted recklessly, contributing to the accident. Staying calm and asserting your claim at this time will be important.

If eyewitnesses are listed in the police report for your accident, the insurance company might also interview those individuals.

Assigning Blame

Even if there is evidence that proves the other driver acted negligently during an accident, the insurance company might jump at any suggestion of your negligence. Since South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state, insurance companies can reduce damages paid to a victim if a victim contributed to their injuries. Because this is not an option for many victims, we will work to ensure that blame is only assigned to the at-fault party, not you.

Bad Faith Insurance Practices Used When Determining Fault for a Car Accident in South Carolina

Because insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind, it is important to be wary of possible bad faith practices that might interfere with your car accident claim in South Carolina.

Insurance companies might adopt various bad-faith practices to avoid paying damages to victims. If, when processing your claim and determining fault, the insurance company fails to promptly respond to your correspondence, misrepresents coverage limits, pressures you to accept a settlement offer, or did any of the prohibited actions laid out in  S.C. Code Ann. § 38-59-20, you may be able to file a lawsuit.

Looking out for such practices is important, especially if the insurance company is taking too long to determine blame or wrongly suggests you share fault for your injuries.

What if an Insurance Company Wrongly Determines Fault for a South Carolina Car Accident?

If, after an auto accident in South Carolina, the negligent driver’s liability insurance wrongly determines fault or fails to offer you a proper settlement, you can take your case to court.

When an insurance company fails to consider all the evidence before it and wrongly assigns blame to you, you can proceed with a lawsuit. While this can be daunting to victims, it is often necessary, especially if the insurance company’s decision impedes your recovery of deserved damages.

When you take your case to court, you can submit all of the evidence in your favor for consideration by a judge or jury. This will include your medical records, photographs from the accident scene, security camera footage, eyewitness statements, incident reports, and expert witness statements. Because the judge or jury does not have a stake in the game, unlike the insurance company, they are more likely to fairly weigh all the evidence before them when deciding your case.

Dealing with insurance companies can be stressful, and victims might assume that the insurance company’s decision is automatically the right one. This is not necessarily the case. Insurance companies might take advantage of victims in need of immediate compensation and wrongly divide fault between involved parties, ultimately lowering the settlement offered to the victim in South Carolina.

Call Our Attorneys to Discuss Your South Carolina Car Accident

You can call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 to schedule a free case review from our Orangeburg, SC car accident lawyers.