Car accidents can be complex affairs; even minor fender benders can result in significant expenses. To effectively pursue financial awards following such an accident, you will require the services of an experienced car accident lawyer.
First and foremost, ensure your own personal safety before calling the police so they can gather evidence to support your case.
1. Don’t Accept an Initial Offer
After being involved in an accident, victims often turn to their car insurance provider to file a claim. This may involve out-of-pocket expenses like rental cars or medical bills as well as claims under their uninsured motorist coverage policy.
Insurance companies will typically assess accidents to ascertain how much compensation should be granted for injuries sustained by victims, but in an effort to lower costs, they may initially make offers lower than what victims expect for compensation.
Be mindful that an insurance company’s goal is to make a profit, so they will work tirelessly to find reasons for claimants to accept their initial offer – for instance by suggesting their injuries have no financial value or the awarded pain and suffering is unwarranted.
Your car accident lawyer has the experience, skills, and expertise necessary to fight back against big insurance companies’ tactics in order to obtain you a fair settlement for injuries and losses sustained as a result of an accident. They know what evidence and documentation are necessary to build a strong case – with more documentation being submitted, it becomes harder for insurers to offer unfairly lowball settlement offers.
2. Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
Be mindful when conversing with the other driver’s insurance company as well as speaking to your own car insurer, particularly your own policy. In general, let your attorney handle communication between yourself and them since insurers don’t have your best interests at heart and could potentially get you to say things that could later be used against you, such as admitting blame for an accident or downplaying injuries and damages suffered as minor.
If it becomes necessary to speak with an insurance company, be mindful not to discuss anything regarding your injuries or the accident itself with them. Instead, stick to discussing basic details, like when and where it happened as well as any witnesses or officers that responded; do not provide recorded statements or allow transcribed versions of them.
Ideally, your insurance company would communicate directly with the other driver’s insurance provider on your behalf; however, this may not always be feasible in all situations. When talking to another insurer on your own, having our experienced car accident lawyer present can ensure you don’t make statements that could later be used against you in court proceedings.
3. Do Your Research
Car accidents can be terrifying experiences and, often leave victims with costly expenses for medical treatment, lost wages, property damage repair, and more. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer will help ensure you receive the justice and compensation that you need and deserve following an incident.
Your attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and outline all available insurance options. Typically, most states mandate no-fault insurance that covers lost income, daily incidental costs, and medical treatment of injuries sustained as a result of an accident; while in other states you may pursue a fault-based claim to seek further compensation from negligent drivers. Your lawyer can outline these choices for you and suggest the most suitable approach based on your unique circumstances.
Skilled lawyers can gather all of the necessary evidence that supports your claim, such as police reports and photos. They may even visit the scene of the accident to assess it firsthand and speak with witnesses; this allows them to build a stronger case that establishes liability.
Your lawyer can also draft and present to the insurer a strong demand letter that can help you negotiate and take your claim through to trial, though most claims tend to settle out-of-court.
4. Don’t Admit Fault
After being involved in a car accident, admitting fault can have serious repercussions – even in no-fault states like New York where compensation will only be available if more than 10% of responsibility has been assessed as yours.
Acknowledging fault on the scene gives insurance companies ammunition against your claim or losses, so if you are injured it would be wise to postpone giving a recorded statement until consulting your lawyer about the case.
Keep in mind that car accidents occur quickly and can create havoc in an instant, with emotions running high at the scene and it often is easier to admit blame than seek compensation from insurance. While it might feel right at the time, this decision could have lasting repercussions for your finances and make compensation difficult to attain.
Your ability to determine who caused a collision does not rest with you alone; that will ultimately be determined by police officers, insurance adjusters, and any parties with financial interests in the incident. Any statements you make at the scene could end up on a police report and could later be used against you in your car accident claim.