Dealing with a car accident isn’t a nice situation to be in, especially if you were injured. Depending on how extreme the accident was, there are necessarily a lot of other expenses that’d come after and so many documentary proceedings. One of these has to do with your claims for compensation for the damages to your car, as well as medical expenses, amount of lost wages, moral and punitive damages, and other costs.
If you’re a victim of a driver’s negligence, you’d want to be sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t immediately give in to the first offer presented to you as you may be shortlisted of the amount you’re entitled to receive. Typically, the best offer and amount should be determined with the help of a trusted personal injury and car accident lawyer.
If you’ve just met an accident and you’re in pursuit of a fair settlement, these tips may come in handy.
- Have A Settlement Amount In Mind
Having a settlement amount in mind can work to your advantage, but this amount isn’t to be decided by you at random. It has to be based on many factors, according to Raphaelson Levine and based on other sources. Generally, a fair settlement for a car accident should take into account the following:
- Property damage or the damage incurred by your car;
- Medical expenses, which covers all your present and future medical expenses resulting from the accident, such as doctor’s visits, medicines, and physical therapy or rehabilitation, if needed;
- Moral expenses if you suffered trauma, anxiety, and sleepless nights because of the accident, which of course have to be proved;
- Amount of earnings lost, which covers the present and future days you can’t return to work as a result of a temporary or permanent physical injury brought by the accident.
- Seek Professional Legal Help
If you’re lucky, the erring party and their respective insurance agents should be easy to deal with. This means they can be reached immediately, they don’t try to evade any responsibility, and they’re willing to pay the amount you’re entitled to get. But while this is ideal, it’s not always the case, especially if yours involves a serious car accident. There would always be parties who are difficult to deal with and would offer an amount lower than what you’re entitled to have.
In this regard, it pays to have professional legal help. Personal injury and car accident lawyers are experts in the field, so they know the ins and outs of negotiating. All the more are they needed if you’ve suffered a physical injury that renders you immobile for a long time. Your lawyer is your best representative and who’d act and decide on your behalf while you’re recuperating in the hospital.
- Initiate A Claim Immediately After The Accident
In law, there’s such a thing as ‘sitting on your right to file a claim or case.’ This means you’ve let time pass before you actually filed your claim.
The danger with statutes of limitations is if you go beyond the period prescribed by law for filing a claim, you’d lost the chance to do so. This prescriptive period refers to the number of days you’re supposed to start filing your claim from the time the accident happened. How long is this period? There’s no absolute number as this could vary from one jurisdiction to another. Hence, there’s the need for you to consult a lawyer, just so you’re sure you’re making your claim within the prescribed legal period.
Also, initiating the claim as soon as possible ensures the accident is still fresh in your memory. It’s easier to prove your points, interview witnesses, and have documentary proof of your claims when the accident just happened.
- Consolidate Your Records
It’d be so much harder for you to negotiate your claim when your records and documentary evidence are all over the place. Be as organised as possible. That way, you won’t lose anything important. It’s a lot more tedious if you have to interview witnesses again or ask for new official copies of police reports or hospital records simply because you’ve lost them. The more organised you can be, the faster you could get the negotiation process over with.
Whether this is your first time negotiating a car accident settlement or not, each experience may be different from the next. Some erring parties may be easier to deal with, while others may be quite challenging. However, you’d be likely to succeed with the tips above.
The most important thing to remember is you shouldn’t feel compelled to deal with the offending party and their respective insurance agents all on your own. You could never go wrong with the help of a lawyer, who’d walk you through the entire process until you’re able to negotiate and receive the settlement you’re adequately entitled to.