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Dos and Don’ts of Automobile Insurance Claims Processing

We all see it every day.  Car and truck wrecks happen throughout the Upstate all the time.  For most of us, traffic delays are the main headache caused by wrecks.  But when it happens to you, it’s a whole different story.  If you’re involved in any kind of accident, we at Trammell & Mills want you to remember some basic dos and don’ts that can dramatically affect your legal and financial outcome.

If you’re in any type of traffic accident—large or small—DO stop and contact law enforcement immediately.  If there are obvious injuries, ask the 911 operator to send medical help.  DON’T ever leave the scene of any wreck, no matter how minor it may seem.  Stay and work through the proper process.

DO exchange insurance information with the other driver.  Even if you’re angry, be polite about it.  DON’T do or say anything threatening.  Trade insurance and registration details only.

DO wait for law enforcement to arrive before discussing who caused the wreck, and only talk about details with them.  Avoid the temptation to instantly replay what happened out loud with the other driver.  DON’T say anything to admit guilt or fault or liability at the scene of the accident.  Police and insurance companies will determine who’s responsible.

DO talk with anyone at the scene who witnessed the incident.  Get their story and their contact information.  Record it on your phone if they agree.  DON’T let eyewitnesses who could be helpful walk away without knowing what they saw.  This could damage or lose your case if you go to court.

DO take photos of the wreck scene from several angles.  Show any damage done to either vehicle.  You never know which photo may help win your case if legal action is necessary to settle a claim.  DON’T be left without any evidence to prove your story…or your innocence.

DO contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after the wreck.  Share your photos so they can see what damage was done.  If you have any injury, see a doctor.  The sooner you start the claim process, the quicker you can get medical bills paid or car repairs made.  DON’T wait too long to make a claim.  There is a time limit in South Carolina to make a claim and you don’t want to be denied money because you didn’t act fast enough.

DO be careful about signing any kind of insurance release or waiver. Such documents can be misleading, and you really need the advice of an attorney before putting your name on any kind of quick settlement.  DON’T be tricked into accepting less than you should from an insurance adjuster who doesn’t want to pay you a proper amount.

DO let an experienced attorney push the insurance company for fair payment.  DON’T take legal matters into your own hands and risk losing money that’s rightfully yours.  The insurance claim process after a wreck can be a nightmare.  Call the local attorneys at Trammell & Mills at (864) 485-8585 to make sure you get a fair insurance settlement