Getting into a car accident can have serious repercussions in your life. Even if you don’t sustain any severe injuries, the memory of such a traumatizing event can take a toll on your mental health. And if you do get serious injuries, it’s not only your physical health at state—it can also affect your livelihood.
No one wants to get into a car wreck, but it pays (quite literally) to be prepared with knowledge in case you do. If you get into a car accident caused by the negligence of another, here’s what you can do to maximize the settlement you can get from their insurance company.
Gather every type of relevant documentation that you can get on the scene of the accident and the time thereafter until you get your settlement. During the incident, take down every bit of important information, including the other party’s name, insurance company, contact number, and plate number. Taking pictures is also important. Take photographs of the scene, the state of both cars, your injuries (if there are any), and other things that seem relevant at the time.
If there are witnesses, it helps to take down their contact information in case you need them to give their accounts. Ask for the information of the officers that arrive on the scene as well, like names and badge numbers.
The more complete your documentation is, the stronger your case will be against the person at fault. However, it doesn’t end once you leave the scene of the accident—be sure to gather documentation about your injuries, hospital visits, workdays lost, and other ways the accident has affected your life.
Hire a reliable attorney
Some people choose to file insurance claims on their own, but this may only be effective for minor incidents. And even then, DIY claims may not result in a maximum settlement.
If you want to attain the highest possible settlement you are entitled to, hiring a lawyer for auto accidents can help. This type of lawyer specializes in car accidents and can help you maximize the value of your claim—but within reason, of course. They can also help you navigate the insurance system so that you don’t have a too difficult time filing a claim with the insurance company.
Visit a doctor
After you get into an accident, it is crucial that you visit a doctor to give you a health assessment. Even if your injuries are minor, the doctor’s report can help you attain fair compensation for the accident.
If you physically feel fine after the accident, it is still important to go to the doctor. The adrenaline may be hindering you from feeling underlying injuries. Some injuries may even show up days or weeks after the accident. And if you have preexisting conditions exacerbated by the accident, the doctor can document how the accident made your conditions or previous injuries worse, which can help you raise the value of your settlement.
File a lawsuit
Insurance companies are inherently businesses. Most will try to get out of paying victims full compensation amounts if any at all. If you receive a settlement offer that you feel is unfair or unacceptable, notify your attorney immediately. They can help you file a lawsuit against the insurance company and get you the compensation you deserve.
There are also insurance companies that try to make it difficult for filers to receive fair compensation. Some use tactics like delaying the settlement for too long to force the victim to accept their initial offer, while some go as far as making threatening statements. These are examples of bad faith insurance practices. Apart from the unfair settlement offer (which is a case of bad faith in and of itself), you can also sue the insurance company for using unscrupulous tactics on you.
Ask the adjuster to justify their offer
When you file a claim, the adjuster will usually lowball your offer. They usually do this as a tactic to see if you know what your settlement is worth. After they make an offer, ask them to explain the reasons why the value is so low. Take down these reasons and then respond with a letter that explains why you deserve a higher amount.
If they do not budge, you can seek help from an attorney.
It is common practice for insurance companies to lowball their offers on settlements. If you want to get what you truly deserve for the car accident, heed these tips and work with the right professionals.