If you have been in a car accident, your insurance company will be required to pay to pay you a fair settlement. The problem is that insurance companies often try to pay as little as they can possibly get away with. People are often forced to turn to a good car accident attorney to get the financial compensation the deserve. Here are some things you need to do with or without the help of a car accident lawyer.
1. Get treatment for your injuries. If you need medical treatment for your injuries, you need to get that as soon as you can. This is for a few reasons. The first is that medical professionals can do more for your situation the sooner they see you after an injury. The second reason is that you will need to be able to document the extent of your injuries. If you end up talking to personal injury lawyer and you do not seek out care right away, it can look like you purposely did not seek out care to make your injuries look worse and that is something that the courts frown upon.
2. Get your claim in as soon as you can. As soon as it is feasible, any injuries you suffered should be tended to before you contact your insurance carrier, you need to get your claim into your insurance carrier. You want to fill out everything when the details of the accident are fresh in your memory. You will need to tell them about your injuries and the damage to your car or other property that was caused by the accident. If you have a car accident attorney, they can help you with this.
3. Get the details of your accident on paper. Write your version of what happened. Get that information from any witnesses. If the police were called, get any report they may have made. If you can, get photos and video of the aftermath of the accident. You need as detailed and accurate records of the accident as you can get. This will bolster your case and help your car accident attorney, should you hire one.
4. Decide what you want. Go through your expenses and decide what you think would be a decent settlement. This needs to include:
- The costs for the medical care you need to treat your injuries.
- The wages or income you have lost.
- Some amount to cover your pain and suffering.
- The damages to your vehicle.
5. Send a letter to the insurance carrier. This is really more of a package. You need to send in the amount of money you are asking for, detailed records from the accident, descriptions of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle and include how much you have lost in lost wages and income. The more supporting documentation you have, the better your chances will be.
Remember, the first offer you get is neither their best, nor their final, offer. You never want to even consider accepting the first offer you get from an insurance company. It will be too low.
6. Make sure you get everything in writing. You never want to talk through a settlement offer unless you have a copy of it in writing. Make that clear when you are talking to your insurance carrier. When you are talking to them on the phone, you cannot legally tape the conversations in many places without getting permission from the person you are talking to (you can look into this option) but you can take notes. Do that. Keep any correspondence they send on via email or regular mail.
7. Talk to a car accident or truck accident lawyer. The time may come when your negotiations with your insurance carrier break down and you need to get help from a car or truck accident attorney. The goal of the insurance company staff is to keep their costs as low as possible. That may mean their offers are far lower than they need to be to cover your expenses. If you cannot get the settlement that you need, a car accident attorney may be able to help.