Delayed Injuries: Why You Should Wait to Settle Your Car Accident
Delayed Injuries in South Carolina
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury is three years. That means someone can bring action against (sue) a party for injury arising from an incident anytime within three years of the incident. In some cases, it can be within three years of the time that the person should have known there was injury. (The exception is certain cases of medical malpractice, where the statute of limitations is only two years.)
Examples of delayed injuries – injuries that don’t appear immediately at the time of the incident – include joint and muscle pain, like whiplash; back pain; and even traumatic brain injury. Evidence of these injuries may not show up until several days after the accident and may take long-term treatment to remedy.
Delayed injuries are frequently seen in motor vehicle accidents. The car insurance company of the driver at fault often wants to settle as quickly as possible, but that may not be in the victim’s best interest.
Don’t settle immediately after an accident
Imagine that you’re in a car accident that’s serious enough to warrant a trip to the E.R. After receiving medical care there, you settle with the car insurance company, which has paid medical expenses up to that point. But a few days later, you start feeling pain in your neck and shoulder that will need long-term care. Can that medical care be covered by the car insurance of the driver at fault?
No. Once you’ve settled, you cannot pursue further damages from the same accident. That’s why it is so important to wait before settling and to contact an attorney first.
Working with an attorney after your accident
While the car insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible, your goal, if you’ve been injured in an accident, should be to have the costs of your medical care covered fully. When do you know that you’ve reached a point where it’s time to settle?
Your personal injury attorney will likely recommend that you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), which means that either you have completely healed, or you have gotten to a plateau where additional medical treatment won’t substantially change your physical or emotional health. At that point, you can settle with the car insurance company, as you know the full extent of your bodily injuries and medical expenses.
If you do get long-term treatment, be wary of taking breaks during your treatment plan. This can look like the injuries aren’t substantial enough to need continuous care, and may make it harder to have all treatment covered.
Speak to a personal injury attorney before you settle your case
Don’t wait to contact a personal injury attorney after your accident. The personal injury attorneys at The Carolina Law Group can help you navigate the legal process after your accident and make sure you don’t settle too soon. Contact The Carolina Law Group today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices across South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville* (call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer* (call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg* (864.312.4444). Call to schedule your consultation with a local personal injury attorney today.
910 E Washington St
Greenville, SC 29601
210 W Poinsett St
Greer, SC 29650
7612 Asheville Hwy
Spartanburg, SC 29303
West Greenville Office
6304 White Horse Rd. Suite B-6
Greenville, SC 29601