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How Long Does it Take for an Insurance Company to Decide Fault in South Carolina?

Insurance companies that procrastinate handling claims can cause serious headaches for car accident victims in South Carolina. If you were recently hurt in an auto accident, knowing how long it might take an insurance company to decide fault in your case is important.

While South Carolina does not specifically dictate how long insurance companies have to decide fault for accidents, taking too long to process a claim could be considered an act of bad faith. If an insurance company refuses to settle or process a claim in a timely fashion, you can compel them to speed things up by providing clear evidence of the at-fault driver’s negligence. If things are dragging on for too long and you are being delayed access to compensation, it may be time to take your case to court. In doing this, you open the door to the possibility of non-economic and punitive damages in addition to economic damages.

Call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 to set up a free case review with our Columbia, SC car accident lawyers.

How Long Do Insurance Companies Have to Decide Fault in South Carolina?

While insurance companies do not have a timeline to abide by when deciding fault for accidents in South Carolina, they do have to handle claims with reasonable promptness.

When deciding fault for an auto accident in South Carolina, a negligent driver’s liability insurance will examine several pieces of evidence, including the police report for your accident and your medical records. The insurance adjuster might take a long time to process this information, especially if they are not urged to come to a decision by our lawyers. This is typically done so that victims who are waiting for compensation will jump at accepting the first settlement offers put forth by insurance companies.

When accidents are not so cut and dry and victims do not provide considerable proof of a negligent driver’s fault, insurance companies might reduce the settlement they provide to victims. In order to speed up this process, send all pertinent information regarding your case to an insurance company and apply the necessary pressure so that they properly assign fault.

Because all accident claims differ, the length of time it takes for insurance companies to decide fault can also differ. While it might be a matter of days in some cases, in others, it might be weeks or months.

How to Make an Insurance Company Decide Fault Faster in South Carolina

You can apply pressure on an insurance company to decide fault by presenting it with clear evidence of the other driver’s negligence in South Carolina.

Dealing with insurance companies can be a stressful process for victims. To make the process go as smoothly as possible, our Sumter, SC car accident lawyers will investigate your case and uncover compelling evidence of the other party’s fault. Photographs, eyewitness statements, and surveillance footage can show that the other driver is wholly responsible for causing your injuries, making the decision easier for insurance companies.

Insurance companies often want to attribute fault to victims so they can pay lesser damages. To do this, insurance companies often try to turn to South Carolina’s modified comparative fault laws, which lower a victim’s damages proportionally to their percentage of negligence. Giving insurance companies any reason to believe you share fault for your injuries might make for a longer negotiation process. Because of this, it is important for victims to leave all correspondence with negligent drivers and insurance companies to our lawyers. Even something as simple as saying you are sorry might be used against you in an insurance claim or future lawsuit.

File your claim immediately after an auto accident and get medical attention for your injuries right away. Suppose you wait to do either of these things. In that case, an insurance company might contest your claim or argue that your injuries were caused by another incident altogether, not the negligent driver’s recklessness.

What if an Insurance Company Takes Too Long to Decide Fault in South Carolina?

If an insurance company takes too long to decide fault, you might have to file a lawsuit. Insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind, and you should not accept that an insurance company is delaying deciding fault because the accident itself is complicated.

When insurance companies use delaying claims as a bad faith tactic to get victims to give up or accept a lowball settlement offer, you can take them to court. Bad faith practices are defined in S.C. Code Ann. § 38-59-20. Going to court over an auto accident is possible for all injured victims in South Carolina. When you go to trial, you can present all your evidence to a judge or jury and have them decide fault.

Because insurance companies are incentivized to deny claims or pay less than victims deserve, they might weigh evidence differently than a judge or jury. Because of this, it might sometimes be easier for victims to prove that a negligent driver caused their injuries in court rather than in an insurance claim.

Furthermore, when victims go to court, they have the opportunity to recover compensation not provided in an insurance claim. For example, non-economic damages are typically available to accident victims who sue. And, if the at-fault party was grossly negligent in causing your injuries, you might be able to recover punitive damages as well.

While an insurance company taking too long to decide fault can be upsetting for victims in South Carolina, it does not mean they will be unable to recover compensation. Knowing when to move on to a lawsuit is crucial, as you will only have three years to sue for injury.

Call Our Attorneys About Your South Carolina Accident

Call (803) 451-4000 to reach Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers and schedule a free assessment of your case with our South Carolina car accident lawyers.