Settling an injury claim is a legally complex process. You have to prove liability and negligence, and if the at-fault party denies fault or offers a low settlement, you may have to take the case to trial.
As the Department of Motor Vehicles explains, a small mistake during the settlement process could cost you thousands, or make it difficult to recover any compensation at all. Common errors include:
1. Talking too much;
2. Making recorded statements;
3. Being too friendly;
4. Lying or exaggerating;
5. Providing your Social Security number;
6. Signing a general release without an injury lawyer’s approval;
7. Giving the contact information of friends and loved ones;
8. Answering all questions
9. And assuming you will settle.
If you were injured by a negligent driver in South Carolina, contact the Churdar Law Firm. Doug Churdar is an injury lawyer in Greenville who can evaluate your case to determine if you have grounds for a claim. He can handle settlement negotiations on your behalf and fight for the highest possible payout. Call 864-233-0203 to schedule a consultation.
Until then, read on to learn nine mistakes to avoid when negotiating compensation for personal injuries:
1. Talking Too Much
Over-explaining could harm your credibility. Loading your explanations with opinions can create factual contradictions. Just stick to the facts such as the date, time and location of the crash.
2. Making Recorded Statements
Giving recorded statements is unwise unless you have the approval of an accident attorney. The defendant’s injury lawyer or the insurance company may ask leading questions or use negotiation tactics to pressure you into making statements that threaten your interests.
3. Being Too Friendly
Although you should be polite during settlement negotiations, you do not have to be overly friendly. Be firm and professional, and demonstrate that you have confidence in your claim.
4. Lying or Exaggerating
If you are caught lying or exaggerating, you will immediately lose credibility. This will cast doubt on everything you have said about the facts of the claim. Although you do not have to provide unnecessary details, you should never lie during settlement negotiations.
5. Providing Your Social Security Number
If the insurer requests your Social Security number, you do not have to provide it. Your SSN will give the insurance adjuster access to your personal records, which may work against you.
6. Signing a General Release without an Injury Lawyer’s Approval
If you sign a general release, you may not be able to pursue further compensation for injuries, property damage and other losses. Sometimes insurance companies offer quick settlements, but you should not accept this without the approval of an injury lawyer. According to the South Carolina Statehouse, your doctor should decide when it is safe to sign a release.
7. Giving the Contact Information of Friends and Loved ones
If you willingly provide the contact details of friends and loved ones, the insurer or defendant’s attorney may reach out to them and look for evidence against you.
8. Answering All Questions
You are under no obligation to answer all questions that the insurer or defendant’s attorney asks. In fact, you should never answer questions without the approval of your injury lawyer. If you do not know an answer or you cannot remember, then do not answer.
9. Assuming You Will Settle
There is no guarantee that your claim will settle out of court. You may have to go to trial, so be punctilious in how you behave until your claim is finalized. For example, do not write posts on social media about your case.
If you have questions about injury claims in South Carolina, contact the Churdar Law Firm. Doug Churdar is a Greenville accident attorney who can help you navigate the legal system. Call 864-233-0203 to schedule a consultation.