What Happens if the Person at Fault in a South Carolina Car Accident Is Underinsured?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you have the right to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once you file a claim, the insurance company will review the evidence of the accident and determine a dollar amount for your claim. Assuming the insurance company approves your claim, they may compensate you for your physical injuries up to the at-fault driver’s policy limit.
According to The Insurance Research Council March 2021 News Release, 10.9% of South Carolina drivers were underinsured for 2019. Given the excessive costs of doctor visits, specialist appointments, and medical procedures if needed, a negligent driver’s insurance policy may not be enough. Medical expenses often exceed policy limits and car accident victims fail to receive proper compensation.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, our Charleston car accident lawyers are eager to help victims establish a proper recovery plan. For over 95 years, we have advocated for accident victims by aggressively pursuing fair compensation. If you were recently in a car wreck and the at-fault driver was underinsured, contact our team today to learn about your options at (843) 720-2800.
If You Have Underinsured Motorists Protection, You May Be Covered
If an underinsured driver has hit you, the first thing to remember is that you may file a claim under your insurance policy. If you purchased Underinsured Motorist Protection (UIM), your insurance company will compensate you for bodily injuries up to your UIM policy limit. According to Allstate Insurance, South Carolina drivers are not required to have underinsured motorist coverage by law, so many drivers decide not to purchase this additional coverage.
Insurance companies, such as GEICO, divide their underinsured policies into bodily injuries and property damages. According to NerdWallet, states like Nebraska, South Dakota, and Maryland require drivers to have underinsured bodily coverage of $25,000 a person and $50,000 for each accident. If a South Carolina driver wishes to add underinsured coverage, they can discuss their plan with their insurance carrier to alter their current auto coverage.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, we regularly represent car accident victims in negotiations with their insurance companies. With decades of experience handling thousands of cases, our attorneys understand how to best communicate with auto insurance companies. If your insurance company is unwilling to settle your claim for a reasonable amount, our experienced litigators will use their tools, skills, and resources to take your case to trial if necessary.
If the At-Fault Driver Has Another Insurance Policy, You May be Covered
In some cases, drivers purchase multiple insurance policies. ValuePenguin states that South Carolina allows residents to stack auto coverage. This means that a South Carolina driver can opt in to have coverage for both underinsured bodily coverage and uninsured bodily coverage.
Unfortunately, not all drivers choose to stack policies. If you are involved in a car wreck, the at-fault driver might only have collision coverage or liability insurance. Under collision coverage, a driver can have their car’s physical damages paid for, but their bodily injury expenses are not covered. For liability insurance, South Carolina law requires drivers to have bodily injury coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, but this is often not enough.
If you were involved in a car wreck, and your injuries are severe, your medical bills can well exceed the $50,000 limit. Or, if there were multiple people in your vehicle and they were all injured, the $50,000 would be split between the injured parties. You can see how this very quickly adds up to not enough coverage. If you are involved in an accident and find that there is not enough coverage, then the next step is to seek help. The dedicated accident lawyers at the Steinberg Law Firm have a deep knowledge of the insurance industry. We can help craft a compelling case by investigating the evidence and speaking on your behalf to the insurance companies.
If the At-Fault Driver Has Significant Assets, You May Be Covered
In most South Carolina car collisions, the default way to collect compensation is through an insurance policy. If the underinsured driver who hit you has enough assets, you can seek a civil judgment against them.
For example, say another driver has an insurance policy with a $50,000 limit for bodily injury liability, and you suffered a total of $100,000 in physical injuries. If their insurance company offers you the total amount under the policy, you are still short $50,000. You do not necessarily have to give up the right to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver by accepting the insurance company’s offer.
After a car wreck, many factors determine how you should handle your claim. Do not make the mistake of listening to an insurance company representative. Instead, reach out to an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer who can explain all your options and help you determine which is the best fit for you.
Have You Been Involved in an Accident with an Underinsured Driver?
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a South Carolina car accident involving an underinsured driver, contact the Steinberg Law Firm for immediate assistance.
At the Steinberg Law Firm, we have the resources and experience of a large firm but provide special attention to each unique case. When you reach out to us, we will review your documents, collect evidence, and craft a compelling case for you.