A car accident can often leave the victim upset, fearful, confused and even injured, especially if it occurred as a result of another person’s negligence. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may likely wish to file a personal injury claim. However, in certain cases, your insurance company may deny part of the claim and offer significantly less than you feel you deserve. In cases such as these, your next best option is to negotiate a settlement.
Steps To Successful Car Accident Settlement Negotiation
The settlement negotiation process is often daunting, especially for anyone who has decided to pursue this option for the first time. Following your car accident, it’s important that you take all the measures that will help you obtain the most equitable offer possible.
Below are four key steps to a successful automobile accident settlement negotiation.
Enter The Settlement With An Amount In Mind
After you sustain injuries due to a car accident, you are typically allowed to recover certain basic damages, including medical expenses (physical therapy, ambulance fees, in-home services, etc.) and property damage. Once you have compiled all receipts and calculated the total sum of these losses, set your desired payment range (minimum and maximum). Do not share this figure with your insurer, keeping in mind that most claims adjusters will rarely offer you more than you demand. Therefore, you should aim high.
Take The First Offer To A Personal Injury Attorney
If you are uncertain about whether the first offer you receive is fair, show it to a personal injury attorney. A seemingly low initial offer may simply be a negotiating tactic. A reputable attorney who has experience with car insurance negotiations — and who can accurately understand the nature of your injuries — will be able to assist you with the process of deciding how much you may claim. This professional can also estimate the cost of bringing your claim to court, should this ultimately be necessary in your case.
Make Sure You Have Documentation Of Losses & Expenses
As with any other type of legal settlement, you should ensure that you have proof of all your losses and expenses in the form of documentation (receipts, medical bills, etc.). These documents serve as hard evidence of the types and amount of damages you sustained as a result of your accident. If necessary, make copies of these records so that you and all parties involved in your case, including your attorney, are privy to this information.
Have Copy Of Police Report & Witness Statements
In addition to receipts documenting your losses and expenses, there are two other forms of evidence in car accident cases: witness statements and the police report of the incident. Both of these typically describe the circumstances of the accident, such as when and where it occurred, how many vehicles were involved, injuries and property damage sustained and road and weather conditions, in detail. Collect all witnesses’s names and contact information. Additionally, be sure to verify that all witness statements are accurate and consistent with the police report. If they are not, this may create problems for your case.
Ultimately, it’s important to be patient but persistent when negotiating a car accident settlement. Although it may understandably feel like an eternity if you are undergoing physical rehabilitation to recover from your injuries and/or waiting for your vehicle to be repaired, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Be sure to remain in constant communication with both your representation and your insurance company.
Speak With An Experienced Car Accident Settlement Attorney
In car accidents, final settlement amounts are typically based on several factors related to the incident as well as out-of-court negotiations. Given this, it is critical to fully understand the circumstances of your accident and to gather all relevant evidence so that you are fairly compensated. Many things must be taken into consideration in order for a settlement to be deemed “fair,” including any issues pertaining to fault or legal liability. A car accident settlement typically includes compensation for economic damages (medical expenses, property damage, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.).
Reach out to the experienced attorneys at Parnall & Adams Law in Albuquerque for more information on how to negotiate a settlement following a car accident. As a prior federal prosecutor and career civil litigator, we know that each case is unique which means that we will always be prepared to address your needs regardless of the characteristics of your case. Call us today at 505.886.4446 or contact us online to request a free consultation or to learn more about our legal services.