After suffering an injury in a car accident, your main concern is naturally your health and recovery, and it is important to follow your treatment plan. However, you also need to pay attention to the legal process because that can result in you receiving the financial compensation you need. Actions that you take and choices you make can directly affect whether you receive a payment and how much you get. With that in mind, below is some information regarding what you might do to get the best possible settlement for your car accident injuries.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Everyone needs a guide to the car accident compensation process, as it can be more complicated than you might imagine. First, you might not have the capacity to handle the legal process if your injuries would prevent you from investigating your own accident, and your physical recovery might take up most of your time and energy. Second, you may not know how to properly deal with the insurance company.
History shows that people who retain an attorney fare far better in the compensation process than those who represent themselves. You are dealing with an insurance company that has far superior knowledge about car accident claims, and their entire business model aims to pay you the minimum possible amount.
Many people do not know their legal options after an accident, and the entire process may be completely unfamiliar, including where to start. Your lawyer will explain everything to you and handle all the details, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have an experienced advocate fighting in your corner. Your attorney could narrow the built-in advantage that the insurance company has over you in the claims process.
Get the Documentation You Need
The insurance company will not pay you a penny more in damages than they think that you deserve. They will do the exact opposite of giving you the benefit of the doubt. If there is an inference that they can draw against you, they will. You need to painstakingly document your claim to show what your true damages are.
Steps you should take to document evidence of your damages include:
Ensuring that the doctors clearly described your injuries in detail
Maintaining a detailed log of everything that you experienced since the car accident
Providing your attorney with detailed information about your earnings before the accident
As you can see, everything is about detail when it comes to proving what financial compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will help by telling you what you need as part of your claim, allowing you to put your best possible foot forward in dealing with the insurance company.
Take the Fight to the Insurance Company
Nothing says that you must accept what the insurance company offers you, as they do not get the final say over the compensation that you legally deserve. You do not have to treat them like the ultimate arbiter of your claim. Instead, you may need to treat them as standing between you and your settlement check.
Remember that the insurance company is a for-profit business. The general formula for how much money they make is the premiums they collect minus the money they pay out for claims like yours. This formula gives them every incentive to minimize how much they pay you.
Don’t be afraid to say no to the insurance company’s first offer or any subsequent offer that does not pay you what you deserve, especially if your lawyer advises you that the offer isn't sufficient. Your lawyer can always file a demand letter for you that sets out what you want in a settlement. The claims process is a negotiation rather than a dictate from the insurance company. They make offers to you because, in the end, the legal right to compensation belongs to you and not them.
File a Lawsuit if Necessary
Most people will end up settling their car accident claim. The prospect of taking the risk of going to the jury and the added time will keep most people from taking their case to trial. However, juries may give plaintiffs more money than they can get from an insurance settlement. This possibility does not mean that you should always take your case to trial. It does mean that you can use the prospect of litigation to motivate the insurance company to offer a more reasonable settlement.
The insurance company also does not want to go to a jury because they have the possibility of paying far more money. It also harms their business reputation, and it runs up their costs. Remember that they are paying their battalion of insurance defense attorneys.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial. Most cases settle before they reach the jury, but it is always a weapon in your arsenal if the insurance company is trying to play hardball. Sometimes, the prospect of losing control of your claim is enough to get the insurance company to move.
To maximize your settlement, you should allow the claims process to play out fully. We recognize that this is easier said than done when bills are piling up, and you are missing work. Nonetheless, your case will most likely settle, though the damages at issue could make the process take longer to resolve. The insurance company will not part easily with a large amount of money.
You should not jump at a bad offer just because it is an offer. You should also not expect to get your money instantly. Brace yourself for a long process and let your car accident attorney do what they do best in standing up for your legal rights. Sometimes, letting the process go on longer can maximize your car accident settlement.
Robert Bohn, Jr.
For more than 40 years, the lawyers at Robert Bohn, Jr. has dedicated their practices to personal injury law, representing people who have been injured or damaged due to the negligence or carelessness of others. For most people, handling a personal injury claim can be complicated and stressful.