Getting into a car accident is a traumatic experience. After the accident, you may be confused as to what to do next. If you've been the victim of a car accident that wasn't your fault, check out these five important tips to help you reach your final fair settlement.
Gather Every Piece of Information
When you've been in a car accident, there is a lot of information to gather. Even if the other driver is also collecting this same information, it is in your best interest to do so as well. Some of the information you should collect includes date and time of the accident, the other driver's information, witness statements, witness contact information and any injuries. At this time, it's also a good idea to contact the police, so the accident is on file. If you do contact the police, make sure to get the case number and the officer's name too. When speaking with the other driver, only get the important facts. Don't make any statements that could indicate you were at fault.
Go See Your Doctor
If you think you've been injured, go see your doctor. However, even if you aren't sure you have an injury, or if you feel your injury is minor, it is a good idea to check in with your doctor. Car accidents are tricky, and minor injuries could turn into something more serious. Your doctor can help you determine if you have more serious injuries, and if you do, the fact that you immediately saw your doctor will play in your favor when you need compensation for your injuries.
Speak With a Lawyer
If you choose to sue, you'll definitely want a lawyer, but even if you don't plan on suing, an attorney is a great ally to get you the settlement you deserve. The lawyer knows how to communicate with the insurance company to convince them to offer you the amount you need. Your lawyer can also help you determine if pursuing a lawsuit is a good idea. It's especially important to hire a lawyer if you have an injury. The damages caused by injuries are not always cut and dry. In some cases, the damages affect your entire life. If this is the case, you deserve money for pain and suffering, which is difficult to prove. An auto accident or personal injury lawyer can help show the judge or insurance company the extent of your injuries and pain and suffering.
Don't Immediately Accept the First Insurance Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are businesses, and like any business, they're out to make money. This means, they probably aren't going to offer you exactly what you deserve right away. The first settlement offer is usually less that what you really need. Unfortunately, many victims accept this offer, not realizing they can refuse it and ask for more. Your lawyer can help determine which amount is fair and help fight for that amount by negotiating with the insurance company and proving your case.
Consider Taking the Other Driver to Court
Sometimes, the maximum payout still isn't enough to cover your injuries and damages, but the insurance company isn't required to pay out any more money. To get more, you have to sue the other driver. If the other driver has a lot of assets or money, this can lead to the payout you deserve. However, if the driver doesn't have much money, you may just be wasting your time. Even if you win, without the money to pay you, the driver could just file for bankruptcy.
After an accident, you need to take action fast. If you are proactive about reporting the accident and seeing your doctor, you have a better chance of getting a fair settlement. If you've been in a car accident that wasn't your fault, contact an attorney in your area today.