When you have been in a serious car accident, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to begin the process of making a claim against the insurance company. Whether you’re pursuing a claim against your own insurer or against the insurance of the driver that caused the wreck, the claims process isn’t something that you should be fearful of. Here are a few legal tips to help you get started with your own car accident claim and seek the fair settlement that you are owed.
Secrets of a Successful Car Accident Claim
The biggest secret to making a successful claim is no secret at all: start your claim as soon as possible. Getting the ball rolling right away is important, as the physical evidence is still fresh, and the detailed memories of the accident haven’t yet faded from your mind—or from the minds of any witnesses. Starting the process sooner rather than later also means that you won’t be fighting legal time limits, and you’ll receive your settlement faster than if you wait, too.
You may also want to:
- Gather your evidence. Photographs are some of the most compelling evidence that you can provide. Pictures from the scene of the accident that capture the vehicles involved and damage done, any injuries, the location, skid marks, and other facts are best. Even if you couldn’t take photographs at the scene of the accident due to injuries, safety hazards, or other conditions, though, pictures can still be helpful. Be sure to get photos of the damage to your car before any repairs are done, as well as your injuries. You may even re-visit the accident scene to look for skid marks or other factors that could have contributed to the crash.
- Keep reliable records. Keep any and all evidence, medical bills, and any other paperwork or documentation of your crash together and organized by date. Make sure it’s readily available when you’re working on your claim, too. You and your attorney will need to refer to it often, especially when you’re at the negotiating table. Good organization will help you argue your case more effectively.
- Decide what you think is a fair claim. Using your documentation and evidence, calculate what you believe is a fair claim. Include every cost or expense incurred as a result of the crash, including your hospital bills, physical therapy or rehabilitation, wages lost due to time away from work, long-term care expenses, repair or replacement of your car and other damaged property, and even your pain and suffering. Having a concrete number in mind can give you a strong claims negotiation starting point.
- Prepare your demand letter. Use your well-organized evidence to create a compelling demand letter to the insurer, explaining the circumstances of the crash, any injuries, and property damage. Lay out in detail how much the crash has cost you and demand the amount of money that you determined is fair.
- Don’t accept a lowball settlement. Insurance companies are businesses, and they don’t make money by paying out on claims. It’s likely that the first offer you receive will be unreasonably low, and you are not at all obligated to accept that offer. Ask for a detailed explanation of the offer and be prepared to refute it point-by-point using your evidence. You may choose to stand firm and wait for a new offer before you consider lowering your initial amount, or you may make a reasonable adjustment and see if the insurer is willing to work with you on a compromise.
If you’ve tried and tried to negotiate with the insurance company but just aren’t getting what you think is fair, it may be time to call for legal help. A car accident attorney with experience handling cases like yours can examine your case, help you negotiate further with the insurance company, and represent you in a court of law if you need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation that you’re due.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve been hurt in a serious car accident and don’t know who to turn to for help, Wayne Wright LLP is here to help you today. Our experienced personal injury attorneys work hard to help you seek the justice that you deserve in a court of law, so that you can get on with the recovery process—and your life.
To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.