How Can I Make Sure I Am Compensated Fairly After an Accident?
Following a truck injury accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next, and it may be tempting to accept the first settlement offer the insurance company gives you. However, it’s critical to note that despite any pressure you may be receiving from the insurance company to accept their first offer, it is rarely ever in your best interest to do so.
Instead, it’s best to consult with an experienced truck accident attorney who can skillfully negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive the maximum offer you are entitled to. An attorney will protect you against insurers who only seek to protect their bottom line.
In addition to rejecting the first settlement offer from insurance companies, you can do several other things after a trucking accident to guarantee you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top things you can do to maximize your settlement.
File a Claim Immediately After Your Truck Accident
While you shouldn’t accept your insurance company’s first settlement offer, filing your claim as soon as possible is vital. The sooner you contact your insurance company, the more accurately you will recollect your accident details. The accident details will provide a basis for your case later, so remembering them is extremely valuable. If you cannot contact the insurance company directly following your incident, consider writing down details or making a voice note of the details.
Keep All Files and Paperwork About the Accident
When it comes to maximizing your personal injury claim, you will need to rely on sufficient evidence to prove your side of the case. Documenting and storing your paperwork is one of the most important acts you can do. File away any medical records, police reports, hospital bills, car repair bills, and photographs of the accident in a place where you can easily access them. Having your evidence stored in one location will also ensure the negotiation process runs as efficiently as possible.
Determine How Much Your Settlement is Worth
Before embarking on the negotiation process with insurance, you should know how much your injury claim is worth. To do this, add up the following items:
- All medical care related to the accident
- Lost wages
- The cost of car repairs
- Any other economic damages
In addition to economic damages, you may also be eligible for non-economic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Non-economic damages are much more challenging to estimate accurately, so consulting with a lawyer is the best option for determining the true amount of financial compensation you are entitled to.
Send a Letter of Demand to the Insurance Company
After you have calculated the amount of money you are eligible to be compensated for, you can begin to write your initial letter of demand. The letter should contain a description of the accident, injuries, cost of medical treatment, any related medical impairments, car repair costs, and all other damages you wish to be compensated for. Make sure you can back up your request with physical documentation like receipts since your offer is more likely to be rejected without physical evidence to prove the cost of your damages.
Do Not Accept the First Offer of Compensation by Insurance
As mentioned earlier in this article, it’s critical to never accept the first offer from the insurance company. Insurance companies are looking to protect their bottom line by paying you as little as necessary for your claim, so the first offer is typically far too low as a bid to see if you understand the true value that your claim is worth. A skilled personal injury attorney will significantly help you negotiate with insurance and avoid the pitfalls you may experience trying to settle with insurance on your own.
Once the initial offer is rejected, ask the insurance adjuster to explain why their offer is lower than it should be. After receiving a response from your insurance company, compose a letter refuting those claims and stating you will not accept the offer. After that, the insurance company should present a counteroffer. If the new offer is still too low, you may try to counter that with a slightly lower amount than was proposed.
Focus on the Strongest Evidence in Your Claim
If the insurance company decides to be problematic during the negotiation process, it’s vital to use the most important evidence in your case to support your claim. If there are other aspects of your accident you wish to be compensated for but are more difficult to prove, stick to the parts of your case that have the most substantial evidence in your favor.
Understand When to Hire an Attorney
It’s never too soon to hire an attorney after your truck accident. However, it is the perfect time to seek legal counsel if you are stuck in the negotiation process and cannot seem to come to a fair settlement with your insurance company. A lawyer will know the ins and outs of the insurance company’s strategy and find ways to ensure you receive fair compensation for your claim.
Following a truck accident, there are several steps you can take to guarantee you receive a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. Filing a claim as soon as possible after the accident, keeping all paperwork and records, determining your fair settlement amount, rejecting the first offer of insurance, and hiring a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your settlement is maximized.