The smell of burned rubber and leaking oil are still fresh in your mind as you carefully brush the broken glass from your hair and brace your already stiffened neck. The police lights are blinding you as you sit on the curb, waiting for the ambulance to arrive and your adrenaline to finally wear off. Luckily, you and the driver who caused the accident are able to walk away from the crash, but that does not mean real damage was not done that night.
The scene of an accident is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure. Besides the physical shock of the accident itself, the stress that comes in the hours and days after can be equally distressing. The cost of damages to your vehicle, medical expenses and lost wages while recovering can all weigh heavily on the shoulders of accident victims, especially when negotiating your accident settlement with an insurance company’s adjuster.
We hope to help take some of that intimidation and stress off of your shoulders so that you may focus on what is really important after a car accident — getting healthy and returning to work.
How Can I Receive the Accident Settlement I Deserve?
The unfortunate stance of insurance adjusters is one diametrically opposed to yours when attempting to receive a reasonable settlement. Their job is solely focused on ensuring that you receive as little as possible for your injuries and losses. They are not above intimidating and pressuring car crash victims into an accident settlement that is far too low to feasibly cover all costs incurred after an accident. We have represented several clients who came to us after signing a settlement release based on misrepresentations of the law by the insurance adjuster. Luckily, each time we were able to rescind the settlement.
Since the deck is often stacked in the favor of these insurance companies, which have years of experience and countless resources at their disposal, you should follow the following tips that may help you avoid being pressured into an accident settlement designed to get the insurance adjuster a raise and leave you with unnecessary debt.
- Know Your Number: Although we recommend that you never attempt to settle your injury claim without the assistance of a competent attorney, if you choose to do so on your own, before jumping into negotiations with an insurance adjuster, do your research and decide on a minimum settlement amount that you are willing to live with based on sufficient information you gathered to determine what you are entitled to under the law. Do not disclose this number to anyone, but go into your initial settlement demand letter knowing your limits. This way, if they come back with a number far below your minimum, you can avoid jumping on what appears to be a good deal but really is not.
- No Comment: A piece of advice that we regularly share — never, and we mean under any circumstances, speak to the other driver’s insurance company, insurance adjusters or attorneys without first consulting an attorney of your own. Speaking to others, especially in recorded statements, can lead to misquoting and more ammunition against your accident settlement case. Always consult an attorney before making a statement — period.
- Gather Evidence ASAP: As soon as you are safely out of your vehicle and you and other accident victims are clear of the accident and active roadway, do your best to photograph the accident scene to included skid marks or any other road marks. Include damage to your vehicle, visible injuries and the overall scene of the crash. Provide all photos to your attorney, who then can use them to defend your accident settlement. The same goes for your healthcare. Ask your doctor for the medical records pertaining to all accident-related injuries and provide them to your attorney.
- Consider Taking it to Court: Though no one wants to take a case to court if it can be reasonably settled, sometimes it is the best option for winning the accident settlement that is appropriate for injuries and losses suffered.
There are many ways to handle your accident case, but the greatest advice we can share is to always consult an attorney after an accident. Note that not all insurance adjusters will seem overly aggressive or out to get you. In fact, many are quite pleasant and amiable when discussing your case. However, they have a job to do and their employer, job and career to protect. The adjuster is not looking after what is best for you. A practiced attorney can provide you with the insight and experience that is so often needed to see through the smokescreens and facades at play when dealing with a system that is built to get you as small a settlement as possible.
If you need help defending your accident settlement, contact our car accident attorneys today for the help and guidance you need. As we mentioned above, so often, the deck is stacked against you after an accident. We will fight to ensure that you are never taken advantage.