There is no such thing as an inexpensive car accident. Even what some people might consider minor damage can result in thousands of dollars of repairs, and property damage is not the only expense that is costly from an accident. All degrees of crashes can cause injuries, and the medical expenses you will incur can quickly rack up. With medical expenses, property damage, and other losses, it is easy to feel overwhelmed about how you will cover these costs. However, in many cases, another party should be responsible for compensating your losses.
But how do you get this compensation and get paid after a car accident? Keep reading for more information and contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your specific situation.
When considering compensation for your car accident, your options depend on a few factors. One factor is who caused your car accident. You must identify the liable parties because they must pay your compensation.
For example, there might have been two drivers who were responsible for your accident. Instead of holding one driver responsible for your injuries, you can also file a claim against the second driver. If a driver was working at the time of the accident, their employer might share liability. Liability is not always as simple as pointing fingers at one other driver.
Liability generally stems from negligence. If a distracted driver cut you off, for example, and that conduct resulted in your car accident, the driver should be liable for your injuries.
Many types of driver negligence can lead to a crash, including:
- Drunk driving
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to yield
- Running stop signs or red lights
Other car accident claims are a little more complex. In some cases, your car accident might have occurred due to a defective part within your or the other driver’s vehicle. This liability is harder to establish. Regardless of the cause of your accident, you need the right lawyer who has handled similar claims before.
Drivers’ insurance policies
One of the primary ways that you can get compensation for your car accident is through the other driver’s insurance policy. Every driver must carry minimum auto insurance that covers themselves and the other drivers in case of a car accident. Various insurance policies cover every type of occasion and damage from a car accident. Insurance coverage can even provide compensation when other drivers do not have proper auto insurance.
Depending on the situation, you will likely begin by seeking compensation from one or more insurance policies.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
Many drivers carry personal injury protection (PIP), and this coverage is even mandatory in certain states. This insurance coverage helps cover the costs of injuries from a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. If you have this coverage, your car accident lawyer can advise you whether this is an appropriate claim to file.
Bodily injury liability
Another common type of coverage includes bodily injury liability. This insurance policy helps cover the injured person’s medical costs in a car accident. You must file a claim for your injury-related losses with the other driver’s bodily injury liability insurance. These losses go beyond medical expenses and include lost income, pain and suffering, and future losses due to your injuries.
Property damage liability
Even though PIP coverage and bodily injury liability cover expenses for personal injuries, they do not provide coverage for any damage to your vehicle or another piece of property. Property damage liability is insurance coverage that covers the costs of repairs for any physical property damage. If a driver causes damage to a home or your vehicle, property damage liability should cover the costs of necessary repairs or replacement.
Uninsured motorist coverage
If the other driver responsible for your accident does not have proper insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage can assist with your payment. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, this can cover the costs of your bodily injuries and property damage, as the other driver’s coverage should. Uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in many states, though it is wise to carry it just in case.
Personal umbrella insurance
Another beneficial insurance coverage is personal umbrella insurance. This insurance policy provides additional coverage if the damages exceed the liability coverage of a driver’s auto insurance policy. Even though this insurance policy is not mandatory for every driver, this coverage can help drivers in several ways.
The compensation you can receive from the other driver depends on their policy limits. If your damages exceed the other driver’s policy limits and no other liable parties can pay you, your umbrella policy can kick in.
Many insurance policies might come into play in your car accident case. The good news is that your car accident attorney will sift through the necessary information and determine which claims to file.
Strengthening your claim
Just because there is insurance coverage available does not mean the insurers will voluntarily pay you what you deserve. The opposite is usually true, as these companies protect their bottom lines by limiting or denying claims.
Insurance companies might challenge your claim by questioning the liability for your accident. The insurance adjuster will argue that you are the one at fault for the accident – or at least partially so.
The best way to avoid such issues is to have a lawyer prepare and file the strongest possible claim. There are many ways a lawyer can strengthen your claim to hopefully speed up the process and convince insurers to issue the payment you deserve. You and your lawyer can work together to take steps that result in a strong and persuasive claim.
Documenting your injuries is one of the best actions you can take to strengthen your claim. You need to present a clear picture of your injuries to insurers to represent the proper value of your claim. Your first responsibility is getting immediate medical treatment, so you have official medical records showing your diagnosis and treatment requirements.
In addition to submitting copies of your medical documents, you should always keep up with any necessary treatment. It will be hard for insurance companies to question the validity of your injuries when there is a consistent paper trail of what treatment you need and the resulting costs.
Collect all expenses
Another action you want to take is to keep track of all expenses you have paid regarding your accident. Your lawyer can advise you of all the documents you need to retain and keep organized. These go beyond medical bills and can include costs of medications, medical equipment, transportation to medical appointments, home health care, and more.
You also want to track all the hours or days you miss from work and the wages you lost due to your injuries. Even if you must use up vacation or paid sick time, you can seek compensation for your leave time.
Another way to strengthen your claim is to gather as many witness statements as possible that can attest to the facts of your accident. Your lawyer can help with this process, as it can be challenging and time-consuming.
In addition to speaking with witnesses who stopped at the scene of the accident, your attorney can collect copies of a police report and any other witness statements. These documents can add credibility to your assertions of liability for your crash.
Be ready to refuse the first settlement
Another action that you will likely need to take is to refuse the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. Insurance companies will try to silence you and resolve your claim by offering a low settlement amount to you. It is common knowledge that the insurance company’s first settlement offer is always lower than what you can actually receive.
Because many car accident victims do not regularly deal with insurance companies and settlement negotiations, insurance companies hope claimants accept the low offer. However, your lawyer may advise you to refuse the settlement and fight for more.
Legal representation can avoid embarrassingly low offers to begin with, as the insurer knows it cannot trick your lawyer into accepting less than you need.
Most importantly, remain patient throughout the claim process. Coming to a reasonable settlement offer or verdict will take a certain amount of time. Insurance companies stall and delay claims as much as possible.
Instead of accepting insufficient compensation, show the insurance company that you won’t back down.
How car accident lawyers help
Whether your claim will result in a settlement or a verdict, you must collaborate with the other driver’s insurance company to receive compensation. Unfortunately, the insurance company is not interested in doing what is best for you. The insurance company is only interested in saving the company as much money as possible.
Having an experienced lawyer on your side can ensure that you get adequate payment for your damages. There are several ways that a lawyer can help you get paid after your car accident.
Establish your claim’s worth
Your lawyer can evaluate the full worth of your car accident claim. While recovering from your injuries, you may forget about all expenses you have had to pay out of pocket related to your injuries. An experienced lawyer can organize your documents and ensure that your claim reflects all expenses. A lawyer can also include expenses in your claim that you may not consider, including intangible losses for pain and suffering.
Advise what to do or not to do
A lawyer can also help devise a strategy for you to proceed in light of insurance company investigations. Insurance companies will be collecting evidence on you from when you file a claim to when your claim resolves. Insurance companies may search your social media profiles without permission and collect video evidence of you. An experienced lawyer can prevent insurance companies from collecting adverse evidence against your claim.
Handle all communications with insurers
One valuable service that lawyers offer is handling all communications with the insurance company. Insurance companies will try to use your own words against you under the guise of “requesting additional information.” One of the most common methods includes requesting a recorded statement from you. A lawyer will advise you to deny all forms of communication with the insurance company and ask them to speak with your attorney to prevent problems.
Negotiate better settlements
Lawyers can also help negotiate for better settlements on your behalf. A lawyer can tell you when the insurance company is lowballing you and negotiate with the insurance company for higher compensation. If negotiations are unsuccessful, having a lawyer means the threat of litigation is real, which can often induce insurers to offer more.
Call a car accident lawyer for help getting payment after a crash
Do not allow insurance companies to fool you or take advantage of you. You can get compensation for your injuries and losses from your car accident in several ways. The other driver’s insurance policy can provide the coverage you need for your compensation; the insurance company wants to avoid paying you out as much as possible. They will not make the process of getting payment easy for you.
When you suffer injuries in a car accident, take all the necessary legal precautions to receive as much payment as possible from your claim. A skilled car accident lawyer can ensure that insurance companies do right by you and pay the appropriate compensation.
Contact a trusted car accident law firm immediately.