If you’ve experienced injury in a car accident, the best-case scenario is that the relevant insurance companies will willingly pay fair claims so that you can get back on your feet — and back to normal — with no negative financial consequences. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible; especially if you’ve had to stop working for a while, getting auto accident injury attorneys involved may be your only option for covering your costs.
Car accident settlements can vary widely in dollar amount, but there are a few things you can do to strengthen your car accident injury claim and get the money you need:
- Leave Determination of Fault to the Police
It’s important, both at the scene of the accident and at all points after, that you never admit fault for the accident or even apologize (since that can be construed as an admission of fault). Sharing partial responsibility for the crash won’t necessarily kill your claim, but it will lower its value. So just give the police officers who respond to the accident accurate information, and let them notate it all in the official police report.
- Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
If you even suspect you’ve been injured, it’s important that you seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Not only the severity of the injury, but how soon it became apparent, may become a factor in valuing your claim. The opinion of an M.D. will hold more weight than that of an alternative practitioner such as an acupuncturist, so keep that in mind as you figure out your best treatment options.
- Keep Copies of Everything
As you get medical assessments and bills, make sure to keep copies of everything (preferably organizing them such that it will be easy for your attorney to determine what is relevant). Also keep copies of correspondence with your employer, if you’re unable to work for a period of time.
- Think About Appearances
When you’re trying to get back to work and life after an injury, it’s normal and healthy to slowly increase your activities according to your doctors’ recommendations. But don’t push yourself beyond these limits; it’s possible that the other side will hire investigators to make sure your lifestyle is consistent with the medical documents that have been submitted. If your car accident injury claim says that you have a severely damaged back but you’re seen lifting heavy boxes, that could hurt your reputation.
- Be Reasonable but Resolute
It’s unlikely you’ll look reasonable if you walk in demanding $50 million. But on the other hand, you shouldn’t undersell yourself, either. If your approach is based not on greed, but carefully calculated need, you’re far more likely to look sympathetic and ultimately get a fair settlement.
Do you have any more advice for someone contemplating or undergoing a car accident injury claims process? Join the discussion in the comments.