After you are involved in a major car accident, you will have to settle with the responsible party. A personal injury claim is something you can pay a lawyer to help you with, or you could try to settle the case on your own. Settling it on your own has its benefits, but it can also have its downsides. Here are three of the best tips to use if you decide to handle this alone.
The Insurance Company's Final Offer Is Not Necessarily Final
One of the most important things to understand when settling a car accident claim is how the insurance company handles offers. If you were not at fault for your injuries, the other person's insurance company will be handling the claim. This insurance company will assign an adjuster to work with you to settle the case. The adjuster's goals are to settle quickly and for the lowest amount possible.
When you begin negotiating, you may find that the insurance company does not want to budge. They may give you a counter offer, but at some point they will tell you this is the final offer they are willing to give you. While this can sometimes be the final offer, in many cases it is not. In many cases, there is still room to bargain.
You should try to find out what the insurance company's final offer is before you are willing to settle for an amount, and you can do this simply by talking to the adjuster several times. When you know this amount, you can use it to bargain even further.
Make Sure You Fully Understand The Extent Of Your Injuries
The second tip to help you get a fair settlement is making sure you fully understand how severe your injuries are. The effects of long-term injuries do not always show up right away. In fact, it can take months or years in some cases to fully understand how these injuries are impacting your life. While you only have a certain amount of time to settle a claim, you should not rush into it.
If possible, wait a few months before you agree to settle the claim. By this time, you may know more about the severity of your injuries, and whether or not they will be long-term or permanent.
Know Exactly What You Are Entitled To
Finally, if you are settling a case on your own, you should fully understand everything you may be entitled to receive compensation for. Here are the basic things that you can seek damages for after a car accident:
- Personal property damage – If your car was damaged in the accident, you have every right to seek money to repair or replace the car. This is the most common form of compensation in car accident cases.
- Medical bills – The second most common form of compensation is designed to cover medical bills. If injuries took place, you can ask for compensation to cover every single medical bill you incurred. In addition, you can also ask for future medical bill compensation, if you expect to need medical care in the future for your injuries.
- Pain and suffering – Going through a car accident and the aftereffects can be overwhelming, scary, and painful, which is why you may want to seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Loss of wages – You can seek money for loss of current wages as well as loss of future income. You will have to calculate how much you expect to lose in the future and add in how much you have lost due to the accident.
Handling a car accident claim on your own is not always easy, but it can save you money by doing it yourself. In most cases, having a personal injury lawyer fighting for you is the better option though. A lawyer will probably be able to negotiate for a settlement amount that is 10% to 25% higher than the amount you could get on your own. To learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help you, contact one and make an appointment today.