Once the shock has faded, a car crash will probably make you think about money. A lot of bills can pile up in the aftermath of an accident, and you’ll need to get the ball rolling on any insurance claims or legal settlements right away. Here are just four tips for making sure that you get appropriate compensation after a collision.
Fault can play a huge role in the amount of money that you receive after an accident. For example, if have a “pure comparative negligence” policy, your compensation will be directly proportionate to your level of fault. This means that a $50,000 payout will only net you $25,000 if you were considered 50 percent at fault for what happened. There are also “modified comparative fault” policies where you might not receive compensation at all if you were more than 50 percent at fault.
Talk to an Attorney
Instead of trying to handle everything on your own, let a trained legal professional take the wheel. An auto accident attorney can help you navigate the complicated waters of a lawsuit. They can also help you with calculating expenses, estimating damages and filing the documents that you’ll need to prove financial difficulty when you’re seeking a settlement. You might even need them to act as a go-between during settlement negotiations with insurance adjusters or at-fault drivers.
Do Your Research
Don’t pull a settlement figure out of thin air. Figure out the general range of your claim, and do a little digging to determine whether your accident qualifies for specific exemptions or circumstances. There might also be different laws for different states. The average settlement amount for car accidents in big cities can be quite different than the average in small towns.
Hold out for a Good Offer
Some people will tell you to accept a settlement offer even if it’s too low; the alternative is risking your entire payday if the case goes to court. However, low-ball offers are often a negotiating tactic that you can counter. Don’t feel pressured to accept a settlement if it isn’t enough to cover your bills or make up for your pain and suffering. Staying the course can result in a much bigger check.
These are just a few tips for maximizing your settlement after an auto accident. Whether you’ve been in a light fender-bender or a complete pile-up, you’ll need money to take care of things like repairs, lost wages and medical bills. Be smart and diligent about handling your affairs after a car wreck.
Author Info: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber.