Millions of people are injured in car accidents caused by negligent drivers every year. Many of these victims sustain serious, life-threatening injuries such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries that can impact the rest of their lives. Fortunately, the law allows car accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries from the at-fault party.
It is usually not the at-fault party, but rather the at-fault party’s insurance company, that compensates car accident victims. If you have been injured in a car accident, the first step to recovering compensation is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Here’s how:
Report the Accident
You should exchange information with the at-fault driver at the scene of the accident so you know which insurance company to contact. After leaving the scene, contact this insurance company to report the accident. The insurance company will need basic information, including your name and address, the other driver’s name and policy number, and your phone number.
Turn Down Requests For Recorded Statements
The insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to your claim after they are notified of the accident. The insurance adjuster will most likely contact you within the first few days to discuss the accident. During this call, the adjuster may ask if you are willing to answer a few questions about the accident while being recorded. Do not accept this request. Adjusters will twist your words around and ask misleading questions in order to use your recorded statement as evidence against you. Providing a recorded statement can severely impact the outcome of your claim, so turning down this request is crucial.
Seek Legal Representation
Next, it’s time to find an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you with your claim. Hiring an attorney is not required, however it is strongly recommended if you want to recover as much compensation as possible for your injuries.
Discuss the Evidence
Meet with your attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case. Bring all of the evidence related to the accident to this meeting so you can share it with your attorney. This includes evidence such as photographs from the scene, witnesses’ contact information, the police report, and medical records. Go over each piece of evidence with your attorney so they understand exactly what happened and how badly you have been hurt as a result of the crash.
Your attorney needs this evidence to recover compensation on your behalf. Some of the evidence is used to prove that the other driver was at fault for the crash, whereas other pieces of evidence are used to prove the severity of your injuries. The insurance company will need to see this evidence, but it’s best to let your attorney review everything first so they can decide what to send to the adjuster.
Victims need to know how much their claim is worth so they know how much compensation to expect from the insurance company. Your attorney can calculate the value of your claim after analyzing the evidence in your case. The value of your claim will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, medical treatment, and how the injury has impacted your personal and professional life. Each personal injury case is unique, but in general, car accident victims are compensated for their current and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Demand Compensation From the Insurance Company
Your attorney needs to let the at-fault party’s insurance company know how much your claim is worth since this is the amount of compensation you are requesting from the company. This is usually done with a demand letter, which is a letter written by your attorney and sent to the insurance company.
This letter should outline the facts of the case, including who was involved, when the accident occurred, and what happened. It should also include a summary of evidence that proves the insurance company’s policyholder is to blame for the crash. Finally, the demand letter should include a request for a specific amount of compensation that you believe you are entitled to for your injuries.
The insurance company will not immediately write you a check after receiving the demand letter, however they will most likely make a counteroffer. Thus, the demand letter initiates the negotiation process.
It’s important to remember that insurance adjusters are trained negotiators who know how to settle claims for as little as possible. It’s best to let your attorney handle the negotiations so you can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
About 95% of car accident claims are resolved through negotiations between the insurance company and your attorney. This means insurance companies do not reach settlements with about 5% of claimants. If you are part of this small group, talk to your attorney to discuss the possibility of taking your case to court. Your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance company and let a jury decide how much compensation you should receive. Sometimes, simply filing the lawsuit is enough to motivate the insurance adjuster to reach a settlement with you outside of the courtroom. If this doesn’t happen, your attorney will start preparing your case for court.
Have you been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver? If so, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will assist with every step of the insurance claims process. We will work tirelessly to secure compensation in a settlement with the insurance company. But, if we are unable to reach a fair settlement, we will take your case to court to recover the compensation you deserve.