What’s the Procedure for a Car Accident Claim?
Have you recently suffered property damage or personal injury as the result of a car accident? If so, you are probably wondering about a potential claim. You know you deserve some sort of compensation, but what steps will you need to take to obtain it? Would it help to hire an attorney?
The first thing you need to realize is this: When it comes to adequate representation, the insurance company with which you’ll be dealing is sure to be well-equipped in the legal department. In addition, the insurance company does not want you to hire an attorney- their main concern is to offer you as little compensation as they can. To succeed in winning a claim on your own, you will have to:
– Contact the other driver’s insurance company and do your best to work up a good rapport with their adjuster. Unless you were the one at fault, this is where your compensation will be coming from.
– Gather the evidence you’ll need to prove the other driver’s liability. This will entail speaking to witnesses as well as documenting all damage with clear photographs of the accident scene and vehicles involved. You’ll also need to gather all available accident reports and speak with the police investigators who worked on your case.
– Obtain and organize all bills and medical records pertaining to your claim. This may not be as easy to do as you think. While medical facilities are required by law to provide you with this information, doing so rarely tops their lists of priorities. Worse, unless you have followed their preordained procedures, they may ignore your request altogether.
– Follow up with doctors and other medical professionals to ensure that they have provided the evidence you’ll need to prove damages and liability. Even after you’ve obtained some documentation, the records you get may be lacking in descriptions of causation, disability and prognosis, all things for which you’ll need the doctor’s opinion when pursuing a personal injury claim.
– Negotiate with lien holders. Any insurer who has already paid you disability, health or workers’ compensation benefits will now have a claim on any settlement you may later receive. This means that after you have received your compensation, it will expect you to pay them back. If you want to maximize your benefit, you will have to do everything in your power to reduce the size of these liens.
Negotiating Your Settlement
This could be the hardest part of the process, and it is the one in which you will most appreciate the assistance of a personal injury attorney. The insurer has just one intention: to offer you the least amount of compensation possible. A practiced personal injury attorney, on the other hand, will have a greater understanding of what your case is worth and will use that knowledge to your monetary benefit. He or she will understand all of the ways to help get you the most money, such as stacking of policies and bad faith setups. Through skillful negotiation, your lawyer will see to it that you end up with every cent that you deserve.
Handling Your Own Car Accident Claim
If your case is a small one and you feel comfortable with obtaining the evidence, gathering documents and discussing the terms of an appropriate settlement, you might be able to handle a car accident claim on your own. However, are you certain that your case is as small as you think? The truth is that in any situation where you have lost more than one week of work or your medical bills exceed $3,000, you want to consider turning over the job to an experienced personal injury attorney.
For one thing, your case may be complicated in ways beyond any that you first imagined. Fault may be an issue, with the other driver claiming a complete lack of responsibility. Unusual weather or traffic conditions may have played a role, and if the accident involved more than two vehicles, things are bound to get far more complicated. This is particularly true if several people suffered injury and some of them choose to point the finger at you instead of at the driver whom you have deemed to be the culprit.
If you still want to go it alone, take care to leave no stone unturned in your investigation. Be mindful of the things you do and every statement you make. Take the time to figure out the difference between the amount that the insurer offers and the compensation that you know you deserve. Remember that the insurer’s initial offer is bound to be too low, so be sure to understand what your case is worth, and don’t take no for an answer.
Better yet, don’t leave it up to chance. A skilled personal injury lawyer from Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys will know how to get you the largest possible settlement while keeping you on top of things every step of the way. Why not call for a free consultation and let Lloyd Baker’s powerhouse team of injury attorneys start working for you today?