In the aftermath of a car accident, you try to rationalize the cause and effect. Maybe you apply for compensation based on your role in the incident. If the situation isn’t as clear cut, then you may have a long legal battle ahead of you.
Accident claims are preferably settled through insurance companies rather than individuals. Achieving a settlement requires the right documentation to back up any testimonies. Going to court may result if the incident is contested by the other party. Resolutions, however, are not that far behind. Coming to a reasonable settlement for your claim will take some guidance, especially if you plan on not hiring a lawyer. Here are some ways you can negotiate compensation for a car accident.
Even in minor accidents, it helps to gather as much info as you can from multiple sources. Police and first responders are vital. The opposing party might try to avoid getting the police involved. This would be a bad mistake not only for your case but your well-being.
Ask any bystanders who witnessed the crash if they would be willing to give a statement to the police. Take as many pictures of the damage as you can. These photos are invaluable evidence to back-up your claims to the insurance provider.
Report Medical Costs
After receiving immediate medical treatment from your accident, start the process of collecting the records. Medical documents, such as bills and doctor’s notes, are great at providing clarity into your physical condition. How these elements factor into your case depends if your state is a “no fault” insurance state.
“No fault” insurance coverage only rewards compensation to significant injuries or medical bills above a set limit. These regulations invalidate claims of “pain and suffering.” All reports to insurance agencies must show valid signs of limited body function due to trauma. That means avoiding engaging in physical activities that would imply you’re committing fraud.
When you come to the negotiation phase of settlement talks, you’ll need to calculate a reasonable estimate. Insurance companies have a predetermined formula worked out. This formula is used as a gauge to weigh against other factors.
Claims adjusters start by totaling medical expenses. Then there are “general damages” that puts a price on any pain, disabilities, and emotional damages. Medical specials are multiplied 1.5 to 5, along with any lost income from missed work. Adjusters will never let you know their pre-calculated formula, so don’t let on about yours.
Accept or Decline
Once the opposing party makes an offer, you have the freedom to accept or decline the offer. Reasons for declining a settlement can be plentiful. If you’ve haven’t hired one yet, then an injury lawyer can advise you through the re-negotiation process for your motor vehicle accident.
Your lawyer will guide you through the process of making a counter-offer. When voicing your demands, present every bit of evidence corresponding to your side of the story. Elaborate on the after-effects of any medical treatment and the costs of future treatment.