Getting what is rightfully yours in a car accident personal injury case can be challenging. Insurance companies and everyone in the at-fault side would do all they could to lower their costs. You need to know how to negotiate your car accident claim if you want to bring home what is due to you.
While you heal from the injuries caused by the crash, you also have to handle medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and other expenses. Fortunately, you can seek compensation for the damages.
However, claiming your restitution can be challenging. You have to fight for your rights as a car accident victim. To negotiate for a fair settlement, you have to do the following:
- Refuse the initial settlement offer.
- Collate necessary documents related to the accident.
- Calculate the damages.
- Send a demand letter.
- Fight for your rights.
Read on to learn more about how to negotiate car accident settlements successfully.
How To Negotiate A Car Accident Settlement?
In settlement negotiations, you may encounter challenges that hinder you from claiming the total value of your compensation. So, it is essential to learn how to deal with car accident claims and negotiate for restitution from the collision. Follow these five steps to negotiate a car accident claim successfully.
STEP 1: Do Not Accept The Initial Offer
Sometimes, the driver responsible for the vehicle collision will offer you cash at the scene. It is acceptable to offer money in accidents with damages under $500. However, taking this compensation isn’t always the best option. When you accept the initial offer, you will have to shoulder the remaining balance if the damages cost more than $500.
Instead, you may do the following to respond accordingly:
- Refuse the initial offer.
- Call 911 immediately.
- File an initial accident report.
- Seek legal advice from experts.
Moreover, the other driver’s insurance company can also pressure you into accepting a settlement amount in the early stages of the accident claim. While this may seem more than the cash from the driver, you should also decline this due to the following reasons:
- you have not settled the total amount of your repair costs and hospital bills yet;
- you have not considered the medical costs of late-appearing injuries; or
- you have not calculated other expenses such as lost wages, pain, and suffering.
When accepting a settlement, you must examine other factors that can increase the value of your compensation. This can be overwhelming, especially if you have limited knowledge of accident claims. You should, then, seek the advice of a legal expert when doing so.
STEP 2: Collate Necessary Records About the Accident
You must keep all necessary records related to the accident. This will help you calculate the total damages and receive full restitution from the auto collision. You must collate the following documents:
- police accident report, if there is any;
- doctor’s prescriptions,
- hospital bills,
- medical treatments or rehabilitation,
- car repair expenses and others.
STEP 3: Calculate The Damages
After gathering all records related to the accident, you can now calculate the actual total damages. Car accident settlements heavily rely on the amount of damages. When calculating, make sure to be accurate and detailed about the factors you will consider, such as:
- medical bills and other health-related expenses,
- lost wages,
- pain and suffering,
- emotional distress,
- property damage, and
- wrongful death.
Take note that you should settle on an amount that covers all the expenses. When this is challenging, you may contact a lawyer with expertise in calculating total car accident settlements.
STEP 4: Send A Demand Letter
A demand letter is a written document highlighting the conflict between two opposing parties. You may send a demand letter after deciding on a fair settlement amount. When an individual receives a demand letter, they are compelled to take action about the dispute.
A demand letter should be specific and concise about the following details:
- description of the car accident,
- list and severity of bodily injuries incurred from the car crash,
- property damages,
- proof of bills and other expenses,
- the settlement amount you are seeking, and
- the due date of payment.
This will help you create an effective demand letter to claim your total compensation. In addition, make sure that you make duplicate copies of these documents for your reference when you send a demand letter to the at-fault party.
We understand that this can be overwhelming on your part. Contact an accident attorney if you need help in dealing with demand letters.
STEP 5: Negotiate A Fair Car Accident Settlement
In most cases, the other driver’s insurance company will decline the initial settlement amount you are asking for. They will find ways to reduce the compensation by:
- denying that the driver caused the accident and blaming you instead;
- downplaying the severity of your physical injuries;
- delaying the settlement negotiation process; or
- taking advantage of your injured state
Sometimes it may seem impossible to contend for your rights, especially if you have limited knowledge of accident claims. When this happens, you should contact a legal expert who will help you defend your case.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Help Me Negotiate A Car Accident Settlement?
While it may seem possible to pursue a claim on your own, it is always best to seek legal guidance from attorneys with experience and expertise in handling such cases. Hiring an accident lawyer lets you focus on your health recovery rather than the claim.
An injury lawyer can do the following for you:
- Explain the settlement negotiation process in a simple and understandable manner.
- Communicate the necessary information and options for you.
- Prove who is responsible for the accident.
- Maximize all possible areas to cover when calculating the damages.
- Keep up with the deadlines.
- Defend your case to the best of their ability.
If you are searching for an attorney with whom you can work, The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker has the best and most reliable injury lawyers with a winning history in car accident claims.
We provide the utmost quality service and fight for our clients’ rights to the best of our abilities. Schedule a free legal consultation or contact us at 866-311-2457 to know your legal options and receive the total value of your compensation.