How to Avoid Being Treated Unfairly by the Insurance Companies After Your Car Accident
If you’re involved in a car accident, in addition to dealing with injuries and the psychological trauma of being involved in a serious crash, you may also notice the bills starting to pile up.
To be sure, a car accident can cost tens of thousands of dollars in the form of property damage expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and more.
If you’re in a car accident that is caused by the negligence of another party, you maintain the right to bring forth a claim for damages against that party’s insurer.
However, be skeptical of a first settlement offer; insurance adjusters are famous for offering claimants less than they deserve. As you navigate the claims process, here are some tips for how to get the most money after a car accident–
Report the Accident in a Timely Manner
In order to ensure that your claim will be processed at all, you need to report your car accident in a timely manner to the police (this is required under California law if the accident results in damages of more than $1,000 or any injury to person, no matter how minor) and report your car accident to your insurer as soon as possible.
If you do not report the car accident to the police and no accident report exists, the insurance company will question whether or not the accident even happened. If you do not report the accident to your insurer within a reasonable amount of time, your claim could be denied.
Gather All Evidence Available
Having as much evidence on your side as possible that speaks to the negligence of the other party, causation (that the other party’s negligence was the direct cause of the accident), and extent of damages will be helpful in recovering your maximum compensation award. Types of evidence that can be used to substantiate your claim include:
- Police reports;
- Eyewitness testimony;
- Photographs of damages and the accident scene;
- Video footage;
- Accident reconstructionists’ opinions; and
- Doctor’s reports and medical bills.
When you have indisputable evidence types, such as a statement from your doctor detailing the extent of your disability, the insurance company will have a hard time denying you your full compensation award.
Know What Types of Compensation Are Available
In order to ensure that you recover your full compensation award, you first need to be aware of the types of compensation available and your right to recover various damages types.
Types of compensation that may be available to you include economic compensation for all of your financial losses (lost wages, medical expenses, property damage expenses, etc.) and noneconomic compensation for your intangible losses, such as the value of your pain and suffering. If you’re unsure how to calculate these damages or what your claim is worth, speak to an attorney before issuing a demand letter.
Negotiate Your Settlement – Never Accept the First Offer
You should absolutely never accept a first settlement offer from an insurance adjuster – first offers are typically lowballed, as an insurance adjuster hopes that you’re either too ignorant or too desperate to ask for more money and will accept anything that you can get.
Rather than accepting an offer as soon as it is made, ask an attorney to review it, and don’t be afraid to exercise your right to reject the offer and negotiate for a larger settlement.
Our Lawyers Can Help
If you’re wondering how to get the most money from a car accident settlement, our lawyers at the office of the Levinson Law Group can help. We have experience investigating and building car accident claims, negotiating settlement offers, and even litigating car accident cases in court.
Please reach out to our experienced California car accident attorneys to learn more about how we can help.