When you’re seriously injured in an auto accident, getting the compensation you need can be more difficult than it should be. Insurance companies are known for being unwilling to pay out what you deserve, often making the process of negotiations long and frustrating. However, if you know how to effectively communicate your needs and work with the insurance company to solve problems as they arise, you can achieve a satisfactory settlement and move on with your life.
Step 1: Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You
Under no circumstances should you ever handle auto accident compensation negotiations alone. When you’re injured, you probably don’t have the energy or desire to think about legal proceedings and negotiations, which is why a good car accident lawyer is worth their weight in gold. A personal injury lawyer is able to take over the negotiations with insurance companies, while you concentrate on healing. They can keep you abreast of your legal rights and options, as well as handle all the paperwork for you. When choosing an attorney to represent you after an accident, make sure they specialize in car accident compensation claims. A good personal injury lawyer will not only have the knowledge and experience to get you a more favorable settlement, but they should also have a proven track record of success.
Step 2: Document Everything
After being in an accident, your mind may be on fire with thoughts about what just happened and how the accident will affect you down the road. However, in order to get the compensation you need, it’s essential you calm down and take the time to document everything. This includes keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings about what happened before, during, and after the accident. If you speak to any law enforcement officials or medical professionals, make sure you write down their names, badge numbers, and the full names of any witnesses to your accident. If possible, also take a picture or video of the scene as it is right now, before anything changes.
Step 3: Be Willing to Negotiate
The type of settlement you receive after being injured in an accident is often directly related to your willingness to negotiate. Before communicating with the insurance company, sit down with your attorney and discuss what you’re willing to accept. Don’t let legal jargon intimidate you – it’s actually very simple to determine what constitutes a fair offer. You should think about how you’ve been affected by the accident and make a list of all your injuries, both physical and emotional.
If you’re overwhelmed by medical bills from doctor visits or medications, include that in your list as well. Your car accident lawyer will be able to help you determine how much money is reasonable for these damages. After making a list of everything you want, you and your attorney will discuss what kind of offer would be fair under the circumstances. You can also use this conversation to talk about which injuries are more important than others and how long you expect treatment for each injury to last.
Step 4: Fight for Your Rights
If the insurance company’s initial offer is underwhelming, let them know you’re willing to go to trial. This may make them more willing to come up with a better offer or push negotiations along faster. However, this isn’t always true – sticking to your guns can backfire on you if the insurance company thinks that you won’t accept a reasonable offer, so be smart and fair.