When you’re involved in a car crash, typically you or the other party is at fault for the crash. This is important because whoever caused the crash is financially responsible for the damage.
If the other driver is to blame for your accident, then you can receive compensation from their insurance company. This is known as a car accident settlement.
While insurance companies are legally obligated to respond to, investigate, and offer a fair settlement to your claim, this rarely happens. More commonly, you’ll face an extremely stressful process that results in an underwhelming settlement offer.
If this happens, you need a car accident lawyer to protect your interests. Insurance companies do not want to give you a fair settlement and you must work extra hard to acquire it.
Because you deserve fair compensation, we’ll go over a few key steps to ensure it below.
Understand Compensation Factors
You should begin by understanding the factors for compensation in a car accident.
The most relevant factors involve how serious the crash is, the damage it causes to your vehicle, the injuries you sustain, how impactful your injuries are, your ability to work afterward, how much income you’ll lose, and if a death is involved.
Beyond this, there are more obscure factors like your ability to prove fault in the accident, your willingness to fight for what’s fair, and whether you have a lawyer.
Because of this, determining what you’ll receive from a crash is difficult. However, you can estimate a rough value by knowing the details of your crash and how they translate to compensation.
With this rough figure, you’ll know how much to ask for in your demand letter to the insurance company. This also gives you a better understanding of your accident, which is crucial to getting a fair settlement.
A critical point is to collect thorough documentation throughout your entire post-accident journey.
This is one of the more obscure compensation factors touched on above. Specifically, you need thorough documentation of an accident for two reasons.
First, it provides validation to your claims. Insurance companies have no incentive to take your word at face value and they often require thorough proof that their driver is guilty. Documentation that would prove this includes a police report and accident scene evidence.
The other side of this is that documentation can substantiate how much you’re asking for. The extent of your injuries and the damage to your car directly affect how much you’re offered, so proving how extensive they are validates your request.
The more documentation you have of your accident, the easier your car accident settlement process will be.
You should also embrace negotiation when offered a settlement.
As a general rule, you should almost always reject the first offer sent by another driver’s insurance. It is usually a lowball offer sent to see how desperate or naive you are.
This means that the first offer you receive is never fair. Accepting it blocks you from receiving any further compensation and this is exactly what insurance companies want!
Considering this, you must always be willing to negotiate for what’s fair. It is ridiculous that you need to fight for what you deserve, but insurance companies only care only about their bottom line and will make it a true battle to receive a fair settlement
That said, negotiation is required if you want to receive anywhere near a fair settlement.
Unfortunately, if you want the compensation you deserve, then you are unlikely to get it without legal assistance.
Even if you understand the compensation factors of your case, have plenty of documentation, and have the drive to negotiate, you may not be taken seriously by an insurance company.
The primary issue is that many insurers believe they are smarter than you. They’ve spent more time dealing with claims and know the unethical tactics that result in lower payouts. Your average citizen does not understand this and is vulnerable to their shadiness.
On the other hand, lawyers fully understand the ramifications and obligations of a car accident. They know how to pursue legal action to force insurance companies to payout.
Insurance companies fear claimants with lawyers because it almost ensures they’ll have to offer a bigger settlement. Better yet, a skilled lawyer will help you with the three key steps mentioned above to ensure nothing important is overlooked.
This makes a lawyer your best friend during a car accident settlement, and often, the only way to get what is rightly yours.
Getting fair compensation after a car accident should be a smooth experience, but it is usually anything but. Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible and will do whatever they can to accomplish that goal.
Knowing this, there are a few ways to help you get adequate compensation from a crash. This includes understanding your compensation factors, collecting thorough documentation, embracing negotiation, and hiring legal assistance.
As you can likely see, car accident settlements are a game stacked against you. Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of! Seek a highly-regarded lawyer to flip the odds and get what’s rightly yours!