The tips here don’t just apply to negotiating car accident settlements; they apply to any form of contractual negotiations in general.
When you’ve just been in a car accident, one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to go through is the aftermath. Depending on the extent of the accident, your car may not be the only thing damaged, but you may have also suffered injuries. This may be a harrowing event, but it also entitles you to just compensation for the injuries, damages, and all other expenses you incurred for your recovery.
While being compensated for injuries you suffered is a legal right, unfortunately, a decision in your favor to claim what’s rightfully yours may sometimes be difficult to achieve. This process entails a lot of negotiations with the insurance company, and sometimes, the negotiations can get challenging.
If you’ve been in a car accident, you’ll need all the help you can get. That said, here are five expert tips for negotiating a car accident settlement.
- Gather Enough Information About Your Accident
You can’t have strong basis for your car claims if you don’t have enough information gathered on your accident. For this reason, while you’re still at the accident scene, if you’re able, ask for as much information as you can. Take pictures of your car, the other party’s car, or all those involved. Your lawyer will need those too, as evidence.
If you’re unable to physically move, then have a family member or anyone close to you come and do it. The more information and documentary proof you can show to the insurance company and the erring party, the harder your case becomes against them to show that you indeed have a valid claim.
- File a Claim ASAP
Immediately after the accident, be sure that you also file a claim as soon as you can. Don’t let time sit on your rights to file or claim. In fact, the earlier you file your claim, the more time and leeway you have to negotiate with the insurance company and the other party.
This is where the expertise of a lawyer comes in. Especially in instances where you may not be able to move physically, your lawyer can file the claim and negotiate on your behalf. Most importantly, the sooner you file your claims, act on it, and negotiate it, the more accurate your recollection will be. This makes it easier for you to negotiate based on facts, strengthening your claims even more. That being said, if you need to get in contact with the best Oceanside car accident lawyer click here, especially if you’re located in California or any other area.
- Have a Settlement Amount in Mind
Deciding on the settlement amount you’re entitled to or you’ll agree to doesn’t take a lot of guesswork. In fact, it’s very objective. Your lawyer can lay out the types of expenses you’re entitled to compensation for, which include:
- expenses to your vehicle,
- medical expenses for your healing and recovery,
- financial expenses due to the days you’re unable to work;
- expenses relating to any moral anguish or anxiety gone through after the accident; and
- other expenses incurred in the claims and negotiation process like lawyers’ fee and filing fee.
When you have a specific range in mind, this should make it easier for you to decide on a settlement amount that you feel you ought to receive.
- Seek Medical Treatment
There’s very little to negotiate or to prove your claim if you don’t seek medical treatment. If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for your hospital bills, you shouldn’t be. Your bills form a bulk of your claims for your settlement, so these will all be reimbursed anyway.
If you don’t seek medical treatment, however, it’ll be difficult to prove your claim that you needed to see a doctor for injuries that you suffered. It’s only through showing your medical records that you can prove the extent of what you’ve suffered because of the accident.
- Send a Detailed Demand Letter
Your lawyer will usually be the one who’ll draft your demand letter, given the expertise they have on the law. This letter is often the best starting point to call the attention of the insurance company that you have claims for the accident you’ve just gone through.
The detailed letter should contain the following pertinent information:
- A thorough description of everything that transpired during the car accident.
- Any losses you may have incurred, due to the accident.
- The medical treatment you’ve received and other health issues you now suffer from.
- The extent of the damage to your vehicle.
Whatever you’ve included in your demand letter, be sure you have proper documentation to back those all up.
By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can put yourself in a more favorable position to get the best settlement from the insurance company. In fact, the tips here don’t just apply to negotiating car accident settlements; they apply to any form of contractual negotiations in general. The most important thing to remember is, if there’s anything you’re unsure about, you don’t have to go through the motions all by yourself. You can always ask for the legal advice and expertise of a lawyer.