After a car accident, there are several steps you must take to ensure a smooth settlement process. Unfortunately, car wrecks are extremely jarring and cause lingering effects that can easily distract you and lead to a costly mistake.
The reason for this is that many factors affect the value of your claim. This includes information like the severity of the crash, the extent of your injuries, and how easy it is to prove fault.
Overlooking any of them can result in the other party’s insurance company offering you a low settlement. While this is certainly unfair, they can get away with it if you aren’t informed and prepared beforehand.
Specifically, you’ll need to avoid making any major mistakes after a car accident. We’ll outline what those are below to help you preserve your accident claim value!
Failing to Gather Evidence
To start, failing to gather evidence of the accident is a significant error.
Documenting the scene of an accident is critical for proving who caused it. You may know that you aren’t at fault, but you need to have evidence that backs this up.
After an accident, it’s easy to overlook this because you are shaken up and may be injured. If you can move around, you must take this time to gather as much evidence as possible.
In particular, you want photos of all angles of the accident scene, contact information for witnesses, dashcam footage if you have it, a police report, and the details and insurance information of the other driver.
This is a lot to remember, but the more you record, the better your argument will be if you need to prove the other driver caused the crash.
Neglecting to Document Treatment
Neglecting to document your medical treatment is another glaring mistake.
This is significant for two reasons.
First, documenting your medical treatment establishes that you sustained an injury as a result of the crash. This ties the two together and makes the other party responsible for your injuries.
Second, you’ll need to record your treatment to give a scope on the extent of your injuries. Injuries with higher medical bills and ongoing treatment will require additional compensation.
These points are crucial because the extent of your injuries and how they affect you directly impact how much you receive. Neglecting treatment, ignoring doctor’s orders, or simply failing to keep track of your treatment can all result in a lower settlement offer.
Not Involving Insurance
While it may be tempting, not involving insurance in your accident will also come back to haunt you.
You should always involve your insurance after an accident. The main reason for this is that you don’t know what the other driver will do.
You may make a verbal agreement at the accident, but they may turn around and report the accident to their insurance anyway. This can make you liable for damage done to their car despite them causing the accident.
Alternatively, the full impact of the crash may not be obvious at the scene. You may realize you have injuries later, but no proof that the accident ever happened.
With this in mind, involving your insurance after a crash is critical to ensuring that you are not taken advantage of. You can’t rely on other drivers, but insurance is there to protect you.
Accepting an Early Settlement Offer
Lastly, accepting an early settlement offer is also a blunder.
When the other driver’s insurance company realizes that their insuree caused a crash, they’ll offer you a settlement to compensate you for your losses. This is meant to cover the cost of repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and your suffering resulting from the crash.
It’s extremely difficult to attach a price to an accident, but that’s what insurance companies do when offering you a settlement. Unfortunately, the first offer they make you is rarely fair.
Insurance companies do not want to give you money. They compromise by trying to give you as little as possible.
However, you don’t need to accept a low sum. If you don’t receive the settlement offer you deserve, you can always negotiate with them.
Better yet, find an experienced car accident lawyer to help you navigate your case. Filing a lawsuit may be your only option because this will provide the encouragement needed to receive a higher settlement.
Insurance companies respect lawyers and often payout higher to claimants with legal representation. Don’t settle early or for anything that seems wrong. You are worth more and can get it if you have the patience.
If you ever get into a car accident, try your best to stay calm and assess the situation. Taking quick action and avoiding costly errors is essential to getting the settlement you are owed.
In particular, you should steer clear of mistakes that impact how much you are offered. This includes failing to gather evidence, neglecting to document treatment, not involving insurance, and accepting an early settlement offer.
Car accidents are highly stressful and the last thing you need is an insulting settlement offer. Remember that a lawyer is your best resource for a positive outcome in a personal injury case!
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