No one wants to think about the cost of paying for damage inflicted on someone else’s car. And when insurance companies get involved, they’re sharks out for blood.
Suffice to say, if you were hurt in a car accident, the other side won’t rush to your aid.
A good attorney can help build a strong case, but only if you let them do their job. Unfortunately, many victims make foolish mistakes. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you make the most of your settlement.
1. Watch What You Say
The most important thing to remember is this: what you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.
In a car accident case, determining who pays for damages is usually done by figuring out who was at fault. As such, you have to be careful not to say anything that could be construed as accepting fault.
For example, in the immediate aftermath of the accident, offer to help the other party and be polite, but be direct and concise. Don’t say anything that could imply you’re accepting fault, as in, “I’m sorry,” or, “I didn’t see you.”
Either of these statements implies that it was your mistake, and they will come back to haunt you.
You also need to watch what you say on social media. It’s easy to want to complain about the accident, but, again, what you say can and will be held against you. It’s now common practice for defense attorneys to go through your social media when building a case.
Any and all discussion of your accident should happen with one person: your attorney.
2. Keep Accurate Records
In a legal case, it doesn’t matter what you know. It matters what you can prove. And if you don’t have hard evidence, you can’t prove your case.
To that end, you need to keep thorough, accurate records of your accident.
For example, you need the other driver’s information, police reports, documentation of medical treatment you received, and witness statements, if there are witnesses.
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. A video is priceless. Take photos and record video evidence of the scene in detail.
Photograph damage to the car, skid marks, and property damage. If the other driver was intoxicated, get a video to prove it. This makes it harder for them to change their story later.
You should also take photos of your injuries right away – cases take a long time, so you may heal before your case goes to court.
3. Do Not Accept the First Settlement Offer
Finally, don’t accept the first settlement offer thrown in your lap.
Insurance companies thrive because they accept monthly insurance payments and rarely pay out. So when they offer you a settlement, the offer will be so low-ball it’s almost insulting.
They’re betting on the fact that you’re tired, stressed out, and eager for this whole mess to be over. They’re also betting on the fact that you don’t know what a reasonable compensation number actually is and that you don’t think you’ll be able to fight for a higher number.
A great lawyer won’t settle for the first offer. They’ll fight to get you the results you deserve, as a personal injury lawyer explains.
If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you’re going through a rough time. You have medical bills, missed work, repair bills, and a bit of trauma to work through. But you can recover. You just have to keep your head up.
If you’re looking for more posts, whether you want practical advice or something to brighten your day, check out our blog for more.