If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, you are no doubt reeling from the wide range of negative consequences you’re facing, and you may have no idea what the best way to settle the matter is. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate the difficult path forward on your own. In fact, the best way to settle your car accident claim is with a trusted Austin car accident attorney on your side.
What’s in This Guide
- Know What Your Car Accident Claim Is Worth
- Beware the Early Settlement Offer
- Ask the Adjuster to Explain the Low Offer
- Emphasize the Emotional Damage You’ve Suffered
- Wait for a Well-Considered Response
- Know When to Reach out to an Attorney
- Make Sure Your Settlement Is in Writing
You’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, and it leaves you in a very vulnerable position. While identifying what your car accident claim is worth can feel out of reach, it needn’t be, and it is an important task that will help to ensure you’re able to reach your most complete physical, financial, and emotional recovery. Identifying the value of your car accident claim is a job that your skilled car accident attorney is well prepared and well positioned to take on. While your claim will be unique to the circumstances involved, the basic categories of legal damages include:
- Property damage to your car
- Your medical expenses, which can extend into your future
- Your lost wages, which can segue into lost earning potential
- Your physical and emotional pain and suffering
Before moving forward with the settlement process, it’s important to have an overall value of your claim in mind.
The insurance company that is covering your claim is motivated by its own bottom line, which means that it is going to do what it can to settle with you for as little as possible. One technique that it might employ towards this end is offering you an early settlement (that is likely woefully inadequate in relation to the losses you’ve experienced). The insurance company is well aware that you are in a financial bind – watching your medical bills mount while your earnings decrease – and the idea behind an early settlement offer is that you will accept in response to your financial need. Never sign off on a settlement offer before getting the go-ahead from your experienced car accident attorney.
[LEARN MORE]: How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work?
If the adjuster handling your car accident claim provides you with a lowball settlement offer, you have the right to request justification for the amount provided. Once you have the adjuster’s reasoning in writing, your car accident attorney will be in a better position to respond in kind. It is difficult to challenge an offer when it represents only a value, but with a statement regarding how the insurance company arrived at that value, you’ll have a better perspective on how to strategize effectively and on what your next move should be.
In response to the adjuster’s reasoning regarding the low settlement offer, it’s important to clarify your economic damages (including careful documentation that addresses your medical expenses and lost wages), but you should also highlight the serious emotional consequences you’ve suffered. Dramatic photos that illustrate the violent nature of the accident and the physical damage you’ve suffered – including a written explanation of the psychic pain you continue to endure – can go a long way toward supporting the value of your claim. The fact is that juries – being humans themselves – tend to recognize just how debilitating physical and emotional pain and suffering can be, and the insurance company may be motivated to make a better offer as a result.
Allowing the insurance company some time to consider the information you’ve provided and to respond accordingly is an excellent idea. While you don’t want the claims process to drag out any longer than it needs to – or than it should – you want to allow the insurance company to think about what you’ve had to say and the possible implications involved. Many insurance companies fear taking car accident claims that involve considerable pain and suffering to court, and allowing the insurance provider involved in your claim a bit of time to stew over the matter can be a good thing.
While there is no requirement that you hire a practiced car accident attorney, your ability to obtain a just settlement can hang in the balance. The truth of the matter is that the right time to reach out and consult with an experienced Austin car accident attorney is as soon after the accident as possible. Car accident claims are complicated matters, and the decisions you make early on are likely to reverberate throughout your claim, which makes having an attorney in your corner from the get-go the way to go. Your dedicated car accident attorney will ably take on all the following important tasks:
- Collecting all the relevant evidence in your claim, including evidence that showcases the inherent emotional damage
- Skillfully negotiating with the insurance company for fair terms that adequately address each category of your damages
- Ensuring that the insurance company engages in fair dealings and adheres to the rules, restrictions, and regulations that guide the industry
Once you’ve come to a settlement agreement with the insurance company, it’s a good idea to get the matter nailed down by putting it into writing. This generally means penning a letter immediately after the agreement has been reached that confirms the terms you’ve resolved. The letter doesn’t have to be long or fancy, but it should clearly state the amount to which you’ve settled, the damages that have been covered, and the date by which you reasonably expect to receive payment.
What Is the Best Way to Settle a Car Accident?
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Austin Car Accident Attorney Today
A car accident can lay you low, but if this is the difficult situation you find yourself in, the trusted Austin car accident attorneys at The Patel Firm are on your side and are well prepared to help. Your case is important, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information by contacting or calling us at 361-400-2036 today.