Can I Settle My own Car Accident Claim?
Those who were involved in minor car accidents often feel they can handle their own accident injury claim. While this may be true under limited circumstances, in nearly all cases, it’s a better idea to work with an experienced injury attorney to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Sometimes you can settle on your own
When an accident is relatively mild, such as a slow-speed rear end crash at a red light, you may be able to settle your claim on your own. Provided the other driver has acknowledged fault, you haven’t missed substantial time from work and your injuries are minor you can most likely settle with the insurance company without an attorney. However, there are some things you should know before you get started:
- Don’t accept delays – insurance companies are aware there is only two years after an accident to file a lawsuit. If the insurance company starts denying your claim or is delaying settling your claim it’s generally a good idea to contact an accident attorney.
- Be prepared before discussing a settlement – before you reach out to an insurance adjuster, make sure you have all your paperwork in order. This means obtaining copies of all medical bills, getting a statement from your employer regarding lost wages, obtaining information from witnesses to the accident and getting a copy of the police report.
- Be wary of requests for statements – don’t let the insurance company trick you into giving a recorded statement. In nearly all cases, a recorded statement is not necessary. The one exception would be for an uninsured or underinsured driver but be sure to discuss this statement with an attorney or you could undermine your claim.
- Be wary of accepting a first settlement offer – insurance companies may tell you they are making a final offer or you may be tempted to accept their first offer. Be sure to push for a reasonable settlement; accepting too little or demanding too much could torpedo your chances of obtaining a reasonable settlement.
When to hire an accident attorney
When you’ve suffered a serious injury or you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, you need to hire an accident attorney. Most insurance companies tend to take people who hire accident lawyers more seriously than those who represent themselves. This is a simple fact because insurance companies figure if you’re trying to settle the case without an attorney, you’re desperate or you’re willing to accept a low settlement.
It’s particularly important to work with an attorney if you’re going to be unable to work for extended periods of time. Keep in mind, one of the calculations that go into a final settlement is lost wages – this isn’t just the wages you lose near the time of the accident, it can also be future wages.
Accident victims who feel an insurance company is not treating them fairly, who suffer broken bones or other serious injuries or who are simply uncertain how to proceed to file an accident claim should consider working with an attorney. We know you’re concerned about the cost of filing a personal injury lawsuit and that’s why at the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, we offer a free consultation and if we’re not successful in obtaining a settlement for your injuries you don’t owe us a dime. Call our offices today at (210) 308-8811 and let us help get you the compensation you’re entitled to.