A car accident can change someone’s life in a snap. It’s a life-or-death situation that can be devastating even for those who survive it. If you’re involved in one, it could be daunting, especially if you’ve sustained injuries that can permanently affect your health, lifestyle, and career.
But you don’t need to go through it alone, as you or a loved one can seek legal representation for assistance from a or wherever you reside. You’ll need one to get the compensation you deserve, and this article will help shed some light on how you can increase your chances of winning your case.
- Take The Necessary First Steps
Being involved in a car accident can stress out and confuse anyone, but presence of mind is necessary for such situations. Remember that the first moments following the incident are extremely crucial. Apart from seeking medical attention at the soonest possible time and contacting a car accident attorney Myrtle Beach or wherever you reside, here are vital steps you should take:
- Assess Your Condition And Your Passengers
The first thing to do is ensure you and your passengers are alright. Assuming no one is harmed, pull over to a safe spot to get off the high-speed area. Stay in the car, dial 911, and wait for the authorities. Also, you can see if the other driver or drivers are well enough to exchange insurance information with you.
- Take Photos At The Scene Of The Accident
Snap photographs of the license plates, road conditions (wet, snowy, or icy), the damages to your car and other vehicles, insurance cards of the other drivers, and other factors that contributed to the accident. If possible, set your smartphone to include a date stamp.
- Obtain Police Officer Information
Once the authorities arrive, note the responding officers’ names and badge numbers. You’ll also need to get a copy of the police report to check the accuracy of the events.
- Contact Your Insurance Provider
Regardless of who’s at fault, contact your insurance company immediately. If your provider has a mobile app, you can use it to file a claim. Remember that insurance companies typically have a deadline for filing a claim, which is usually 30 days.
Follow these steps to protect yourself and improve your chances of obtaining a fair settlement.
- Do Not Trust The Insurance Adjuster
It’s recommended not to be too trusting of the insurance adjuster. When making a claim, you’re taking out money from the car insurance company, and the adjuster is trained to converse with claimants to let their guards down. And that could be a fatal mistake because anything you say from then on could be used against you. They will try to reduce or, worse, deny your claim.
Be friendly with the insurance adjuster. While you can speak civilly and respectfully, don’t be fully submissive to them. Keep a professional tone until you can speak to an experienced car accident lawyer.
Furthermore, never give your social security number to an insurance adjuster because they can use it to gain access to your financial history and other sensitive information, which could dampen your case. At the same time, once you’re offered the first amount, don’t accept it right away because it’s likely lower than what you deserve.
- Understand How Your Compensation Is Computed
Should you hire a lawyer, they’ll make calculations to determine the compensation amount you deserve. They’ll factor in your medical bills, pain and suffering, car repair cost, and loss of income if you’re unable to work due to the injuries you suffered.
Moreover, it’s also important to know your lawyer’s billable rate. Some charge hourly, while others prefer to be paid on a contingency basis, which means they’ll only charge you once you’ve successfully recovered your compensation. In this setup, they deduct a percentage, usually around 33%, from the final settlement amount.
- Remain Calm During Negotiations
It’s important to remain calm during the whole settlement process. It’d be best if you didn’t exhibit behavior that can be used against your claim, reducing the compensation amount. Unpleasant behavior can affect the insurance company’s decision. This is why you need to hire an experienced lawyer to do the negotiations on your behalf, as they’re trained and experienced to remain professional and undisturbed even in high-pressure situations.
An accident settlement can be tricky if you’re doing it alone. You can get manipulated into taking a lower compensation to end the case quickly. But choose to have an experienced car accident lawyer with you as they will be your ally every step of the way.
When negotiating a car accident settlement, you must remember to immediately inform your insurance provider about the accident, but never trust them outright, as they’ll try to downplay your claim. It’d also help ask your lawyer how much compensation you deserve and how it is computed. Finally, control your emotions and be calm throughout the process, so they can’t use your behavior to reduce the settlement amount.