How to Maximize Your Car Accident Settlement
If you’ve been involved in a serious traffic accident, it’s crucial to understand how to maximize your settlement, especially since insurance companies will try everything they have in their arsenal to get out of paying you the amount you’re entitled to.
If you’re unfamiliar with navigating the settlement process, it’s easy to receive less money than you’re owed, which is why having a good injury accident lawyer to guide you through the legal process is so important. If another person’s negligence has caused you pain, suffering, and countless medical bills, then it’s time you receive fair compensation for your automobile accident. Let’s explain how.
What Does It Mean to Settle?
A settlement is a financial payment that the defendant (or the defendant’s insurance company) agrees to pay for your injuries in exchange for you dropping all the legal claims against them. Settlement can occur at any time during the court process, including before filing a lawsuit, during litigation, trial, or appeal.
While you should strive to do everything in your power to win the settlement you deserve, even if that means going to trial, sometimes settling outside the courtroom is necessary.
How Is a Settlement Determined?
During a personal injury case, the defendant’s insurance company and your personal injury lawyer will both analyze your claim. Two factors, in particular, will determine the course of negotiations:
- Liability – In other words, the extent to which you are legally responsible for the accident and;
- The Severity of Damages – How much financial, physical, and emotional damage was done to vehicles, property, and/or human life.
If any of these factors is in question, the insurance company will seek to offer less than the actual amount of financial damages, or they may decide to take the case to trial, hoping to disprove their client’s fault.
At the end of the day, insurance companies have a business to run, which involves paying you the least amount of money possible to resolve a claim. However, you can still take some steps to ensure your case settles for the highest compensation possible. These include:
1. Giving sufficient evidence to the defense’s insurance adjuster or lawyer that proves the defendant is responsible for the accident
This can include official police reports, eyewitness testimonials proving the defendant’s responsibility for the accident, physical damage, and other additional evidence.
2. Providing proof that your requested compensation is justified
It’s important to provide physical evidence to the insurance adjuster which proves that the amount of money you seek matches the amount of damage caused by the defendant. This can be demonstrated through medical bills and paperwork, future medical costs, and testimony about how the accident has impacted your life.
3. Being willing to go to trial in front of a jury
Remember, insurance companies have a vested interest in paying as little as possible, meaning that if they believe you may not win a case (due to not having a lawyer, questionable liability of the defendant, lack of evidence, etc.), then they will likely forgo settlement and proceed with a trial.
To Settle or Not to Settle—That is the Question
Is settling a case a good thing? It depends. If you are offered the full compensation you deserve, then taking a settlement can be a great thing.
However, you should not agree to settle if you are being lowballed or offered less than you deserve. In a scenario like this, it is typically in your best interest to continue with a trial by jury.
How to Maximize Your Automobile Accident Settlement
So what is the best way to maximize the amount of your settlement? Here are some of our best tips and tricks:
Receive Medical Treatment
In order to receive full compensation, it’s essential that you receive any necessary medical treatment over the course of your injuries. This includes accepting emergency care should you need it, attending all follow-up appointments, and undergoing any treatments or surgery that your injury may require. Be sure to save all documentation, as the defendant should compensate you for the entirety of your medical care.
Record Everything on Paper
From the start of your accident, it’s vital to collect and document everything in your case, including photos, names of witnesses, medical bills, and a written account of the accident itself. The more physical proof, the more likely you are to win your case or earn the settlement you deserve.
Don’t Accept Responsibility for the Accident
After an accident, you may be pumped full of adrenaline or in a state of shock. It’s critical not to make any statements that might jeopardize your case, including apologizing to the responsible party or accepting any fault for the accident.
Don’t Flee the Crash Scene
Never flee the scene of the accident. This can indicate probable cause or foul play, and, in most instances, it’s also against the law to leave the crash location before contacting authorities.
Don’t Try to Negotiate with Insurance Companies on Your Own
Insurance companies are skilled at the art of getting you to make statements that may hurt your case, so it’s extremely valuable to have a lawyer before you speak to them on a recorded line. An experienced will be able to negotiate on your behalf and make it possible to recover more money than you would on your own.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s critical to hire a professional who can guide you through the complex legal system. A car accident lawyer will ensure that evidence is gathered correctly and that the insurance company receives a properly worded demand statement.
Additionally, an attorney will navigate the legal process and avoid any missteps that you may make on your own.
An experienced attorney will also be able to help you know if your settlement offer is enough or if you should take the case to trial to get the justice you deserve.
On that note, it’s extremely important to hire a personal injury attorney who doesn’t only want to settle but is also confident going to trial if needed AND has experience with winning in trial.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, there are several ways to ensure you receive the maximum settlement you’re owed, which starts at the time of the accident. By staying at the crash site until authorities arrive and avoiding mentioning anything that may indicate guilt, you’re setting yourself up for success from the start.
Additionally, make sure to get the medical care your injuries need and document any evidence throughout the process which may help your case (including bills, eyewitness reports, photographs, etc.). Finally, don’t try to negotiate with insurance companies on your own–– seek the counsel of a good lawyer first to maximize your compensation.