What Happens if I’m not at Fault in a Car Accident
Accident settlements come down to fault. Are you the driver at fault? Is the person who hit you at at-fault for the accident? Once you can prove you are not the at-fault driver, you can develop a strategy to win your case.
For this article, we assume you are not the at-fault driver in the car accident. The strategies below use this assumption.
SIX STRATEGIES IF YOU ARE NOT THE AT-FAULT IN A CAR ACCIDENT
#1. Hire a professional
Unless you have a degree in law, it doesn’t make sense to handle your car accident case. There are too many challenges with managing a case as complex as a car crash.
Plus, when you work with a personal injury firm like Levinson Law, you pay nothing unless we win!
#2. Fighting perception
While many factors can affect your case, perception plays a significant role. Sometimes the settlement money is as much about perception as reality. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth 1000 words.
For example, a victim taken away by an ambulance at the scene of a crash can often get more in damages because of the perceived injury.
That is why you need to keep extensive medical records of the ambulance, MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, and doctor records. You go to court to prove your case, and the more files you have, the better case you can present.
Conversely, if you have significant gaps in medical treatment, it could be a red flag for the insurance company as well as the courts.
Finally, the insurance company will take a deep dive into your prior insurance history. If you never had a claim before, they are more willing to recognize the scope and severity of your injuries.
#3. Don’t talk to the other party
Nothing good comes from speaking with the other party in a car accident. Please resist the temptation to blame the other person or exact revenge on them.
You put your case in jeopardy and face potential criminal charges as well. Let your attorney handle the case because they keep a cool head in these situations.
One exception to the rule: you can send flowers and a card saying something like “Get well soon” or “I hope you are feeling better.” Even then, do not mention how they were at fault in the accident.
You can hurt your case, and it is always better to take the high road.
#4. Dealing with the insurance company
The defendant’s and your insurance coverage limit affect the amount you win in most settlements. You cannot control what the at-fault driver has for insurance.
However, depending upon the amount of insurance you have, you might be able to claim the uninsured or under-insurance coverage from your policy to help you have a meaningful economic recovery.
Furthermore, insurance companies use tactics like defend, deny, and delay. Because they have the most on the line financially with a car accident, they want to do their utmost to ensure they pay out the smallest claim possible.
Insurance companies deny fault for as long as they can, so they can hold onto their money longer.
They delay the payment to you for weeks or months on end. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to make a last-minute author before the trial starts. That is because they waited the maximum time to get the maximum benefit.
The insurance company benefits from doing this in two ways.
First, the delay discourages some drivers from pursuing the case.
While not all will do this, some drivers might give up after waiting too long to get their money. Whenever this happens, the insurance company wins.
Second, the insurance companies earn interest while delaying your settlement.
While it might not seem like a mighty sum to you, the insurance companies deal with millions of claims throughout the country at any given time. When you add up all the money in interest, it stacks into the millions.
#5. Track everything
If winning your case is about perception, then you need to put your case in the best light possible. To do that you need records. Make sure to send your attorney all your medical and other relevant records like lost earnings and out-of-pocket expenses.
– Did you miss work because of the car accident? If so, give a doctor’s note stating you needed to be away from work or provide medical records showing you were at the hospital or some other medical facility.
Include how many vacation days as well sick days you used at your job.
– Did you pay for anything related to the case out of your pocket? For example, maybe the doctor told you to get something to help with your neck. Do you have a receipt? What about any hotel, gas, or plane receipts to see a specialist for your case?
Keep your lawyer up to date on your situation. For example, if you move, let your lawyer know your new address. Also, let them know of any new specialists you see or medications you take due to the accident.
#6. Avoid social media
Insurance claims adjusters spend a lot of time on social media. They want to know what claimants are up to with their lives.
For example, if someone had a neck injury, do not post a photo online riding a go-kart. The opposing party could present a screenshot of that photo into evidence and destroy the credibility of your entire injury claim.
Avoid anything athletic to keep your posts clean. You never know how an attorney can use a post against you in court. That is why it is best to take a social media vacation and tell your friends not to snap photos of you either.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
Now that you know what to do if you’re not at fault in a car accident, it’s time to act. If you need an attorney who can help you with your car accident case, call Levinson Law today at (760) 642-5475.