6 Tips for Negotiating the Best Possible Car Accident Settlement
Every car accident looks different, but one thing all crash claims have in common is that they are difficult to navigate. Here are 6 important tips that will help you get the best possible outcome for your car accident settlement:
Contact your insurance company immediately.As soon as you can, call your insurance company to let them know the accident happened. Sometimes they’ll deny any compensation if you wait too long.
It’s also helpful to talk to your insurance company right away so that you can more readily recall all of the accident details. Don’t admit fault or give any opinions. Just tell them the facts. The only way to truly protect yourself from saying something that will be used against you later is to consult with an experienced attorney prior to speaking to anyone about the accident.
Don’t be quick to settle.Insurance companies profit by getting you to settle as quickly as possible and for as little as possible. The worst thing you can do is settle before you’ve finished treatment for your injuries or figured out a fair amount for the settlement.
It’s generally not possible to know the total cost and extent of your injuries until your treatment is finished and you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Wait to consider a settlement offer until after your doctor has cleared you, or until you know the amount of all of your medical bills and car repairs.
Document everything.Keep all of your medical bills, car repair estimates, doctors visit details, lost wages and any other relevant information to the car accident. We can’t stress this enough.
It’s also a good idea to keep a journal of how you’re feeling and the many ways the accident has affected you to help calculate your pain and suffering compensation. Having everything documented will help give you substantiated proof for your demand letter.
Calculate all of your bills and losses.After you’ve received all of your medical bills and gotten your car repaired, you can add up the total cost. You’ll also need to include your lost wages and any other losses in the total.
The part where it gets tricky is when you have to factor in things like pain and suffering, future loss of wages and emotional distress. It can be difficult to put a specific number on these damages, and that’s where a car accident attorney comes in. They have the expertise to be able to look at your case as a whole and figure out a fair amount.
Send a demand letter.Once all the numbers and documentation are in-hand, send a demand letter to the insurance company, along with the documentation and any witness accounts. This letter details the accident and the amount of compensation you’re requesting (and why).
A demand letter is also something you might need professional legal help putting together. You’ll likely have to negotiate with the insurance company to come to an agreement, so your attorney can deal with all of that while you focus on treatment and healing.
Hire an experienced car accident attorney.For the reasons mentioned above, and just for the fact that car accident claims can be difficult to maneuver, hiring an experienced attorney can help lighten your load. You’re already dealing with a lot of stress and pain, so hiring a professional to help you navigate the legal maze is often worth it to get the best possible outcome.