Insurance companies are notorious for not giving victims a fair offer in car accident claims. The insurance adjuster may downplay the severity of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the question their insured’s liability in the accident. As a result, you may settle for a much lower amount than what your claim is actually worth. The following are some of the ways of improving the settlement of your car accident case.
- Gather Evidence
It may be advisable to write a detailed account of the events that lead to the accident. Taking pictures of the scene and identifying witnesses is important in strengthening your claim. Sometimes police reports include inaccurate information, if the police have no proper account of what transpired during an accident. Insurance adjusters normally rely on police reports to allocate liability, and to arrive at a settlement amount. Ensuring that the police have a comprehensive account of the accident may help you negotiate with the insurance provider for fair compensation.
- Get Proper Documentation
After you have decided to make a car accident claim, you should gather all the relevant documentation to support your case. Important documentation includes police reports, a letter from your employer detailing the time you have lost away from work, medical records, and damage quotes for your car. Inquire from your insurance adjuster what information they require, and try to obtain it. Having all the necessary documentation could accelerate the proceedings, and gives the insurance adjuster no excuse to give you a low settlement.
- Seek Medical Attention
Many people try to avoid going to the hospital, and instead try to recover on their own by using over-the-counter medication. Failing to go the hospital after an accident can be a mistake, especially if you delay for a while before seeking medical attention. The insurance adjuster may argue that the gap between your accident and when you went to hospital is proof that your injuries are not serious. Furthermore, the adjuster may claim that your injuries were sustained from a source other than the car accident. Reporting to the hospital immediately after a car accident creates a record of your injuries, and may help you to secure your claim.
- Note Any Statutory Limitations
All personal injury lawsuits must be filed before the statute of limitations expires to secure your right to seek compensation. Each state has its own time limit for filing personal injury claims. To ensure your insurance adjuster gives you fair compensation, victims of car accidents should file claims before the statutory limitation period lapses.
- Don’t Rush to Reach a Settlement
Many car accident cases take several months before they are concluded. It may be advisable to avoid settling your claim too quickly, because it could take a long period for severe injuries to be discovered, or for surgery or other advanced treatments to offer the maximum benefit to the victim. You should take time to allow for a conclusive analysis of your injuries, and for other damages associated with the accident to be properly determined before agreeing to a settlement.
- Know When to Hire an Attorney
If negotiations are not progressing as you hoped, it may be advisable to consult a car accident lawyer trusts. You may wish to consult an attorney under the following circumstances:
- When you are seeking to be recompensed for injuries that are beyond several thousands of dollars. Insurance adjusters often do not take unrepresented claimants seriously.
- When seeking future damages. If you are seeking future damages such as lost income, or medical treatment that will be required later on, you may need an attorney to incorporate this into your settlement.
- If liability is questionable. If the insurance adjuster raises questions on the validity of your case or your liability for the accident, you may need a lawyer to present a compelling argument for you.