If you are involved in a car accident, especially one that leaves you with injuries, you may need to consider filing a personal injury claim.
When you sustain injuries resulting from the negligence of another driver, you are legally entitled to receive compensation, even if this takes months or maybe years to resolve.
Learning how to get the most money from an auto accident is straightforward and should help you recover the costs incurred following a car wreck.
Retain an Attorney
The process of obtaining the car accident compensation you deserve can be more complicated than you imagined, so you should retain an experienced car accident or personal injury attorney. A good lawyer will guide you through unfamiliar terrain.
Not only may you not have the time or energy to investigate your own accident when you are physically and mentally recovering, but you are also unlikely to know how to deal with the insurance company efficiently.
Data shows that those who retain an attorney get superior compensation for accident injuries than those who represent themselves. As a civilian up against an entity with a business model based on offering you the minimum possible amount of compensation, you stand far less chance than a qualified attorney who does this every day.
Getting the right attorney can at least help to narrow the inbuilt advantage enjoyed by insurance companies in the claims process.
Chart All Your Expenses and Medical Bills
If you were involved in an accident and you sustained injuries caused by the recklessness or carelessness of another driver, the most crucial part of maximizing your compensation is to keep track of all your medical bills, as well as all accident-related expenses.
After an accident, you can pursue compensation for any or all of the following:
- Initial emergency room visits
- Ambulance ride from accident scent to hospital
- Ongoing specialist medical care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Post-surgery hospital stays
- Durable medical equipment
- Transportation between appointments
- Mobility-related home modifications
- Care providers at home following surgery
- Mental health treatment for emotional anguish
You should also be able to claim the expense of replacing or repairing your vehicle through the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. You can also claim for the cost of a rental vehicle.
Missing time from work after being injured in a car accident can generate a financial burden. Record the hours and dates of all time missed at work for accident-related reasons. While proving lost income can be challenging, an experienced attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve.
File a Claim Against Every Entity Contributing to the Accident
An experienced car accident attorney will gather evidence related to your auto wreck and will also connect you with expert witnesses who can help evaluate the accident and better determine fault.
Ideally, liability will rest with one or more of the drivers involved in the accident. The theory of ordinary negligence applies when the unsafe actions of a driver lead to an accident. All this means is that they did not take reasonable precautions behind the wheel.
Multiple drivers can be at fault in accidents involving several vehicles. If your attorney is able to bring all these drivers into the case, you get access to multiple insurance policies from which to seek compensation.
Get Ready to Negotiate
If an insurance company makes you an offer for a personal injury claim, you are not obliged to accept this offer. Indeed, you should not accept the offer unless you and your attorney feel it is fair and reasonable.
Do not view the insurance carrier as the arbiter of your claim. Instead, view them as a potential obstacle between you and the settlement check you deserve.
Bear in mind that the insurance company is operating a for-profit business. The formula underpinning the profits they make is simple: the premiums collected minus money paid out for claims just like yours. They have a clear financial incentive to minimize the amount they pay for any claim.
If the initial offer you receive from the insurance company is unsatisfactory, your lawyer can draft and file a demand letter. This letter will set out what you expect in your settlement.
Rather than thinking of the claims process as a dictate from the insurer, think of it as an ongoing negotiation. While you might feel confident of dealing with this yourself, retaining an attorney will streamline every step of the process. Ultimately, hiring a lawyer to help you file a personal injury claim is an investment, not an expense.
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