What to Do After a Car Accident that’s Not Your Fault
When someone else’s negligence causes a car accident that injures you, you may not know what to do. You may have some vague idea that the other person needs to pay for your repair bills and other losses, but you may not know how to get started. Fortunately, accident victims like you can retain a car accident lawyer
to protect their rights and make getting compensation easier.
You can do certain things to ensure that your car accident case goes as smoothly as possible. To learn more or discuss your specific case with a legal professional, call a car accident lawyer near you to set up a consultation.
Do Not Speak With Insurance Companies
If another driver reports the accident to their auto insurance company
, you can expect a representative from their insurer to quickly reach out to you. Insurance adjusters want to speak to you first - before you consult an attorney. They do this in hopes that you will not hire a lawyer and instead work directly with the adjuster. This is always a mistake.
Insurance adjusters are never on your side. They are trying to get you to say something against your interests that they can use to minimize your settlement. They have many tactics to do this, and speaking with an adjuster at length can jeopardize your claim.
Instead of agreeing to discuss how the accident happened or the nature of your injuries with an insurance representative, you should politely tell them that you plan to hire a car accident attorney
, and your attorney will be in touch. This helps preserve the full value of your claim.
If you already spoke with an insurance company, inform your lawyer about everything you said. All is certainly not lost if you had a conversation with adjusters or even gave a recorded statement, as the right attorney will know how to set the record straight. Get a lawyer on board as soon as possible.
Never Accept a Settlement Without Legal Advice
Insurance companies have a financial incentive to settle cases for as little as possible. For this reason, they will often start with a laughably low initial offer just to see if victims will take it and move on. In addition, because determining the value of a car accident claim involving someone else’s negligence
involves complicated analysis, you may not know how much you should
For these reasons, consult a lawyer before you accept a settlement offer from the insurance company.
Some other ways an insurance company may try to settle your case for less than it is worth include:
- Giving you incorrect information about your legal rights
- Advising you not to consult with a lawyer
- Requesting to dig through old medical records so they can characterize your injuries as pre-existing
- Asking you to provide a recorded statement
Importantly, once you settle a car crash claim, it is often impossible to obtain additional compensation for your accident-related losses. This fact means that if you discover new damages in the future or simply did not account for the full extent of your future losses, there is likely nothing you can do to obtain additional compensation. For this reason, it’s particularly important to work with a skilled lawyer and economic and medical experts in cases involving long-term medical problems or disabilities
Consult with a Car Accident Lawyer
You should consult with a car accident attorney near you as soon as possible after an injury. Personal injury attorneys
are familiar with the process of obtaining compensation on behalf of their injured clients and handle all of the legal aspects of a claim, so that accident victims do not have to.
After an accident, a car accident attorney can:
- Evaluate your accident and identify any potentially liable parties
- Determine the extent of your economic and non-economic losses
- Submit your car accident claim and demand letter to the insurance company
- Handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf
- Attempt to negotiate a fair settlement offer
- If necessary, file a lawsuit and take your case to court
As a car accident victim, you should be aware that you can enjoy all of the benefits of retaining a lawyer without having to pay legal fees upfront. In addition, you will only have to pay legal fees
if your lawyer obtains compensation on your behalf. This is because personal injury lawyers almost always use a contingency fee arrangement with their clients, which means that their fees are dependent on the outcome of the case.
Focus on Your Medical Treatment
Once you have a lawyer handling the car accident insurance process for you, it allows you to focus on your physical recovery.
Keep up with all of your medical treatment because:
- It helps your overall prognosis and recovery time
- It demonstrates to the insurance company that you are serious about your injuries
Constant medical appointments can be inconvenient, and many people choose to stop physical therapy or forgo follow-up appointments. If you miss appointments or end treatment early, it signals to the insurance company that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. This can result in limited compensation for pain and suffering
or other intangible damages.
When your attorney takes the stress of your insurance claim off your shoulders, be sure to continue with your treatment so you can obtain maximum medical improvement as soon as possible.
Be Patient With the Legal Process
Compensation for car accident losses never happens overnight. If you want a quick settlement check, you are likely receiving less than you need to cover your losses. Having patience and trusting your car accident lawyer to do their job is the best course of action in the weeks and months following your crash.
Even though your financial stress might be mounting, know that you have an advocate fighting for your fair compensation. Start the process with a free case evaluation with a car accident law firm