Car accidents are such a stressful and traumatic experience for everyone involved, even when there are no victims or more serious injuries.
People involved need to deal with the stress and anxiety as a result of the incident, but they also need to focus on financial challenges related to medical bills and other expenses.
But, if you’ve been in a car accident you didn’t cause, you may have the right to file an accident claim and look for compensation for the damages. Still, this is a complex process and may be different depending on where you are at the moment and where the accident happened.
For example, if you live in Atlanta, hiring an Atlanta car accident lawyer is an obvious choice, but things may get complicated if the accident happens in another jurisdiction.
Anyway, as someone who suffered because someone else drives irresponsibly, you have a complete right to look for this compensation and cover your expenses from hospitals and car services.
That’s why we decided to compile this guide in order to prepare you for the journey to help you claim what’s yours and settle for it.
While there is no universal answer to this issue, there are quite a few things to consider, like:
- The severity of your injuries
- The extent of property damage
- Whether there is a dispute over liability
- Whether you are represented by an attorney
- The willingness of the insurance company to negotiate
That’s why we suggest hiring an attorney to help you handle these technical things. Sometimes, people are too confused because of the trauma, they don’t really know how to handle the case best.
Still, the attorney will surely charge some fees representing you, but there is no risk for the guilty side or insurance companies to scam you in any way.
So, here’s a detailed breakdown of everything you must know about car accident claims if you’re the victim and you didn’t contribute to the accident:
1. File a Claim With an Insurance Company
Once the accident happened, it’s up to you to claim it with an insurance company. At this point, you need to find a guilty driver’s insurance company so you can know where to start.
You need to provide all the information regarding the accident, like the location, condition, and damages. Make sure you take photos and talk to the witnesses to stay there until the police come. Collect all the medical and repair bills so you can prove your injuries and property damages.
2. Let the Insurance Company Investigate the Claim
Insurance companies need time to process and investigate your claim and confirm there was an accident. Sometimes, they may ask for police reports and medical records in order to have more evidence about the incident.
Their task is to determine who was at fault when the accident happened, the level of injuries and damages, and how to handle the case. Once they’re ready, they will call you with an initial settlement offer. At this point, you need to already have an attorney so they can recognize if the deal offer is fair or not.
3. Negotiate the Settlement
It’s normal not to be satisfied with the initial offer, so you have a complete right to negotiate. Having an attorney by your side surely makes the whole thing easier. But if you still aren’t able to reach a settlement, you can file a lawsuit as a last resort.
Sadly, these things happen more often than you can imagine. Insurance companies are trying to protect their clients, even the guilty ones. They will try to settle for the lowest offer possible, but if you think the injuries and damages were bigger than that, your attorney can help you with the lawsuit.
What Factors Can Affect the Car Accident Claim Settle?
There are quite a few things that may extend the whole process. For example, if your injuries are too severe, it may take longer to settle until the insurance company knows the outcome. They need to learn if those injuries will affect the life quality, in order to offer a fair settlement.
Additionally, the property damage can also be bigger than it initially seems. The cost of repairs and long-term damages can significantly affect the settlement of a claim.
If you’re represented by an attorney, things may get resolved almost immediately. Attorneys are experienced in negotiating on behalf of their clients, bringing the best possible outcome.
And surely, not every insurance company is willing to negotiate more than once. They want to close the cases as soon as possible and move to the next client. But keep in mind that filing a lawsuit can resolve but also extend the whole case. If you need to deal with such an insurance company, we recommend hiring an attorney as early as possible.
How to Deal with the Guilty Side Hiding and Avoiding You?
This behavior happens too often, so make sure you gather evidence on time, document the attempts to contact them and their insurance company, and file a complaint with the authorities. Again, an attorney will help you with these steps, and eventually, the case will end with a lawsuit.
So, insist on the guilty side staying until the police come. An accident is not an easy thing to survive, but surely, looking for a settlement is the least you can ask for. The money you get will eventually help you cover the medical expenses for you and your family.
Sometimes, you can even repair the car if it was too damaged in the accident. Or at least, you deserve this settlement so you can overcome the stress and everything that comes with it.
In conclusion, we can sum up that it’s always a good idea to have an attorney in such cases, as they are already experienced in dealing with insurance companies and people who caused the accidents. In the end, if nothing helps, filing a lawsuit is the last resort.
It’s up to you to be patient, calm, and never give up on getting justice for you, your family, and surely your personal belongings that were damaged in the accident.