The average person will be involved in at least one fender bender in their life. And while many car accidents are minor, others are more serious.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re hurt and unable to work, you may need to pursue some sort of legal action to obtain the financial resources you need to recover with dignity.
6 Things to Be Aware Of
As you work through the process of filing a claim and/or lawsuit, there are some important details you’ll need to be aware of. Understand the following:
- Evidence is Paramount
Do yourself a favor and gather as much evidence as you possibly can. The more factual details and objective information you can provide, the more likely it is that you’ll receive a favorable claim.
In addition to gathering physical evidence, it’s helpful to write down everything you can remember. The mind has a funny way of letting key details seep out at the wrong time. Documenting what happened will give you some ammunition in the conversations and negotiations that follow.
- Negligence Isn’t Always Cut and Dry
Negligence is the principle that allows you to sue someone for a car accident that causes you injury. But negligence isn’t – as some people believe – an all or nothing proposition.
“Comparative negligence refers to the assessment of fault on both sides of a vehicle crash,” Will Ferguson & Associates mentions. “Sometimes, you can be in an accident where both parties hold some blame. That doesn’t preclude you from going after the other party for the role they played in the collision. You can still sue the other party because of the law of comparative negligence.”
- Insurance Adjusters Aren’t Your Friend
The insurance adjuster on your case isn’t evil, but he also isn’t your friend. It’s his goal to minimize the payout in an effort to save his company money. Make sure you understand this and don’t get too comfortable. Listen to what the adjuster has to say, but recognize that there will be extensive back and forth negotiations.
- Continue Your Medical Treatment
You obviously sought out immediate medical treatment after you were involved in a car accident. Make sure you continue to seek regular medical treatment and follow your doctor’s advice. This will help you establish a paper trail and show claims adjusters that your symptoms are real and worthy of being compensated. Any sudden stops or prolonged gaps in medical treatment will hurt your case and limit your negotiating power.
- Be Patient, Yet Persistent
Car accidents happen every single day. Attorneys and claims adjuster have hundreds of claims pile up at a time. Make sure you stay patient, yet persistent as you deal with them.
“The old adage about getting more flies with honey than vinegar applies in car crash claims,” AllLaw.com mentions. “If you want to maximize your settlement amount, it is essential you stay on the insurance adjuster or claims attorney’s good side. They hold the purse strings, and ultimately, they decide your fate unless you are ready to bring a lawsuit.”
- Hire an Attorney
There’s nothing easy about the aftermath of a car accident. From the physical and emotional pain you’re dealing with, to the legal challenges that come from processing a claim and navigating insurance laws, it’s helpful to have legal counsel on your side. Hire an attorney to do the heavy lifting.
You Aren’t Alone
As the victim of a car accident, it’s incredibly easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed. However, it’s important to understand that you aren’t alone. Car accidents and fatalities are, unfortunately, still quite common.
According to research published by the Association for Safe International Road Travel, nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year – an average of 3,287 people per day. Another 20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled.
You aren’t alone – but you also aren’t a statistic. You’re a living, breathing person who is going through a painful season of life. Do your best to move through it with purpose and poise. It’ll soon pass, and you’ll find freedom in the new opportunities that come your way.