Getting your injuries covered after an accident can be incredibly difficult. Insurance companies often claim to cover damages, but when you actually file a claim, you might find that certain areas of damages are excluded, or the insurance company seeks to undercut your damages and pay far less than what they owe you. This is especially true with whiplash injuries.
While insurance companies are supposed to cover whiplash injuries in South Carolina, they may fail to cover your damages in full. It is always a good idea to work with a car accident lawyer who can negotiate with insurance companies and help provide proof of your damages to get the cost of your whiplash covered in full. If that fails, you can always file a lawsuit to get the damages you need.
For help with your car accident case, call the South Carolina car accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000. We offer free case evaluations.
Does Insurance Cover Whiplash in a South Carolina Car Accident Case?
Insurance companies generally cover any injuries that result from a car accident. However, getting them to follow through is another issue entirely. In most cases, you should never accept damages without consulting with a Columbia car accident lawyer to ensure that your damages are properly covered.
In personal injury cases, there is a doctrine called the “eggshell plaintiff” doctrine. This rule essentially says that you deal with the plaintiff as they are, not as you’d want them to be. So, no matter how vulnerable to injury the plaintiff might be (like a fragile eggshell), the defendant who causes the accident needs to pay for whatever damages they cause. If that means that you suffered whiplash in the accident while a passenger in your car did not, it doesn’t matter; the defendant should still be on the hook for your whiplash damages.
Insurance companies work under a contract with their drivers to cover any injuries resulting from the accidents the driver causes. In at-fault insurance states like South Carolina, the insurance company will pay damages instead of the defendant no matter what injuries they caused. However, policy limits often cut off what the insurance company covers and how much the insurance company covers. This usually means insurance companies will not pay if the injuries were caused intentionally or if they are more than the policy limit – which would be the only acceptable times that an insurance company would not cover whiplash.
Getting Whiplash Damages Paid for in a South Carolina Car Accident Case
While insurance companies are supposed to pay for whiplash, that doesn’t mean that they will do so without a fight. In many cases, handling this fight means sending in your Sumter, SC car accident lawyer to fight the case for you.
Before insurance companies pay any damages, they need proof that the damages were their driver’s fault. This means that you need to prove that the other driver caused the crash by committing some type of traffic violation or otherwise driving unsafely. If the insurance company refuses to believe that their driver was at fault, they might blame you for the crash and refuse to cover your injuries. Your attorney can step in and provide the proper evidence to prove your case – and if they still refuse to accept blame, your lawyer can take them and the driver they represent to court.
The other way insurance companies fight payouts is by fighting the amount of payment. Whiplash injuries can be worth quite a bit of money, all things considered. Many whiplash victims do not face substantial medical expenses, but they may face lost time at work because of the injury. They could also face ongoing effects of the injury that could last months or even years, requiring therapy or other treatment. Some victims never fully heal from whiplash, justifying surprisingly high pain and suffering damages.
If the insurance company sees that you are claiming years’ worth of pain and suffering, they may refuse to cover the damages at the value of your claim. In that case, you might need to go to court to have a judge and jury approve your damages at their full value.
Will My Own Insurance Company Cover My Whiplash in South Carolina?
As mentioned, South Carolina is an at-fault insurance state. This means that most car accident claims are paid by the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident. If you are the victim, your insurance company does not pay anything – the other driver’s insurance pays for your injuries.
However, drivers may be able to add on first-party benefits that protect them in case of an accident. This additional coverage may allow you to make a claim with your own insurance company to help pay for your whiplash injuries regardless of who caused the crash and who the court finds at fault.
Additionally, your own insurance might include uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. This coverage kicks in when the other driver is uninsured or when their insurance is too low to cover your injuries. If you received a whiplash injury in a hit and run accident or in a crash where the other driver did not have insurance, your South Carolina personal injury lawyers might be able to get your whiplash injuries paid through your UM/UIM coverage. If the other driver’s insurance limit is too low to get your whiplash damages paid in full, your UM/UIM coverage might also kick in to help you get the additional payments you need for whiplash.
Otherwise, the other driver’s insurance will typically be the one to pay for your whiplash injuries.