Nobody ever wakes up in the morning and says, “It’s a good day to have a car accident.” But unfortunately, life has a way of sweeping in and surprising you. And if you find yourself injured in a car accident, you’ll need as much compensation as you can get to offset medical bills, lost wages, and other related consequences.
3 Ways to Get a Higher Settlement
Car accidents are complicated matters. Even when fault seems obvious, there are often layers of bureaucratic complexities and other factors involved. And depending on the type and severity of the accident, any or all of the following could be involved in a motor vehicle accident claim:
- Medical costs. This includes any medical costs associated with the accident, such as emergency services, ambulance transport, surgical procedures, medication, and any other form of treatment.
- Future medical costs. In serious cases, injuries may prove to be long-term or permanent. This can lead to thousands of dollars in the future and ongoing medical costs. These costs can be projected and included in a settlement.
- Lost wages. Missed time from work leads to lost wages. And depending on the extent of the injuries, you could miss weeks or months of work. Even after you return, your injuries might limit your hours or ability to perform tasks that you once did prior to the incident. In these situations, lost wages are included in a claim.
And those are just a few basic categories. In serious cases, claims may involve additional factors like pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
Regardless of what’s involved in your claim, here are some ways you can get a higher settlement:
1. Stay and Gather
The extent of your injuries will determine how much you’re able to do right after a car accident. If your injuries are serious, a call to 911 is the first and only order of business. But if your injuries are less serious, there are a few important things you can do before getting medical attention.
- Call the police. Always call law enforcement to the scene so that an official accident report can be filed. Be wary of any drivers who try to convince you not to call the police and to handle it privately and confidentially. Not only is this illegal, but it will significantly hurt your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
- Stay at the scene. Never leave the scene prematurely (unless an ambulance is taking you in for emergency treatment). It’s important to remain at the scene so that you can provide the pertinent details to the reporting officer.
- Document. Take pictures, record videos, write down your thoughts, etc. Don’t depend on the police report to include all of the details. If there are witnesses, it’s wise to identify who they are and gather their contact information and any statements they may have.
The information you collect at the scene will prove invaluable in your claim. In extreme cases, it could mean a difference of several hundred thousand dollars.
2. Hire Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
There’s no underestimating the importance of hiring motor vehicle accident attorneys to help you with your case. A good legal team will tell you precisely how to proceed so that you can maximize your compensation and enjoy a faster and fuller recovery.
Your attorney is arguably the only person you can trust after an accident. Listen to what they have to say and let them lead the way. Their focus is on getting your claim paid out – your focus is on getting better.
3. Be Smart With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are ruthless. They’ll rake you over the coals and not think twice about it. Hiring a motor vehicle accident attorney is the first step. Afterward, work with your attorney to negotiate with the insurance company. Be prepared to turn down the first offer and counter. This process can take a while and may involve several rounds of offers and counteroffers.
Look Out for Number One
If you want someone to advocate on your behalf, you have to make it happen. Hiring an attorney is the first step. From that point on, you and your attorney will work together to ensure your best interests are protected from greedy and manipulative insurance companies. Stay the course and patiently wait for the process to play out.