When you have suffered an injury in a car accident, your mind goes in many directions. Of course, there are medical challenges that you need to deal with in the short term because the accident may have left you with serious injuries. You must take care of your health for the best possible chance of recovery.
While medical care should be your priority, you must also focus on getting the financial compensation you need to cover your injuries shortly after the accident. The way the legal process works, you have no choice but to begin paying attention soon, even before you may be ready.
Before you call your insurance company or speak with insurers of liable parties, always seek representation from a San Antonio car accident attorney. They can handle all insurance notifications and communications so you do not inadvertently jeopardize your claim.
Do Not Try to Do Anything On Your Own After a Car Accident
Sometimes, a settlement check can take many months to determine, and you can become impatient. You may also believe you are saving yourself money by handling things alone to avoid paying your lawyer a percentage of your settlement check.
Whatever the reason, it is unwise not to hire a personal injury lawyer for your case, and you should get legal counsel quickly. Unfortunately, bad things can happen when you do not have a lawyer to protect your legal rights. Insurance companies are always aware of the situation and often take advantage of unrepresented claimants.
Handling any part of the insurance process alone risks leaving significant money on the table.
Insurance Companies Are Out to Save Money at Your Expense
You must understand how insurance companies operate to learn their motives. Insurance companies make money when they pay as little as possible or avoid paying claims altogether. They take in premiums from their clients and invest them in the marketplace, and do not want to withdraw funds from where they are making money to pay your claims. Thus, insurance companies will do anything to throw sand into the gears. They think nothing of taking advantage of an individual claimant who trusts them to do the right thing.
Therefore, if you are wondering whether you should report an accident to the insurance company, generally, the answer is yes. However, it is best to let your personal injury lawyer do as much of the communication as possible.
Understand How Insurance Companies May Deal with Your Claim
Multiple insurance companies can be involved in your accident, and your insurance company is supposed to work on your behalf to determine liability for the accident. The at-fault driver's insurance company will be responsible for paying your damages. Unfortunately, each insurance company will be watching out for its interests, and you must be careful and wary of both.
Do Not Talk to the Other Driver's Insurance Company
When it comes to the other driver's insurance company, you should not talk to them under any circumstances. Many drivers are unaware of insurance companies' role and are willing and eager to speak with them. However, talking to them will only lead you down a destructive path that can cost you considerable money.
The other driver's insurance company will try to talk to you because it knows that getting you on the record can harm your legal case. Even when insurance companies realize the accident was their driver's fault, they may try to get you to make some admission. They can then make a case that you were responsible for the accident, or they can try to cut your financial recovery. You may think you have said something completely innocent, but never underestimate the insurance company's ability to distort and take things out of context.
The other driver's insurance company may also try to get you to discount your injuries somehow to find a way to pay you less. Answering an innocent-sounding question like "How are you doing?" can lead insurance companies to say you are not as injured as you claim to be.
Let Your Lawyer Deal with Both Insurance Companies
You should always hire a lawyer to handle the other driver's insurance company and your own. An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to manage your legal case and protect your rights. They know what to say and how to present information to the insurance company in a way that makes the strongest possible legal case and preserves your right to total financial compensation.
You can make a significant mistake instantly when you speak on your behalf during the claims process. Once you say something you should not have, it is on the record and can be complicated to undo. The insurance company will undoubtedly try to use anything inconsistent that you have said to undermine your credibility in the future, especially if you need to testify at trial.
Do Not Fall for Any Tempting Settlement Offers Without Your Lawyer Negotiating
Insurance companies may also try to rush you into an early settlement of your case when they have a general idea of your claim's worth. If they know that they will need to pay you $100,000, they may try to get you to take an early payment of much less. Insurance companies think that an early money offer may be too tempting for you to resist, and they want you to sign a release agreement that lets them out of any further liability in connection with your claim.
Regardless, you should never speak to the other driver's insurance company alone. When you contact an experienced car accident lawyer, they will be the ones who deal with all communication. If the insurance company tries to contact you, you only need to direct the call to your lawyer, who will handle your business.
Learn Your Legal Rights After a Car Accident
Generally, you should understand your legal rights in a car accident case. If you prove someone else was to blame for the accident, you can receive total compensation for your injuries. Your first obligation is to demonstrate that someone else was negligent in the accident because liability is where the insurance company may try to take advantage of you. Financial recovery lessens if you are at fault, and insurance companies love to blame the accident victim to reduce settlement offers.
You have the right to receive a settlement that covers your financial losses from the accident. Your car accident settlement will also pay you for the post-accident ordeal you have been experiencing, known as non-economic damages. The bulk of these damages will be pain and suffering, which encompasses your physical and emotional discomfort after the car accident.
How a Car Accident Attorney Calculates the Value of Your Injury Claim
You likely do not even know where to start when calculating the value of your claim, and many people underestimate their overall losses. That's where a car accident attorney can make a significant difference. Not only can they guide you through the legal process, but they can also calculate how much compensation you should demand.
One factor that attorneys consider when calculating the value of your injury claim is the extent of your medical expenses. This includes not only the cost of immediate medical treatment but also any ongoing or future medical needs resulting from your injury. Your attorney will gather all relevant medical records and bills to determine the total amount of your medical expenses.
Additionally, your attorney will consider the effect of the accident on your daily life and future earning capacity. They will take into account any lost income you experienced due to your injury and determine the potential for future lost earnings. They will also consider any physical or emotional pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident.
The attorney will also assess the strength of your case based on the evidence available. They will evaluate the police report, witness statements, and any other relevant evidence to determine the likelihood of success in a legal claim. This assessment will help them negotiate with insurance companies or prepare a strong case for trial.
Retaining a car accident attorney is crucial in ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. They have the knowledge and resources to navigate the legal system and calculate the true value of your injury claim.
You Do Not Have to Accept a Bad Settlement Offer
You also have the legal right to reject any car accident settlement that does not fully compensate you for your accident injuries. Insurance companies sit across the table from you instead of operating from a position of strength and power. They can make you a settlement offer but cannot dictate how much money you will get. Your settlement check is a product of negotiation between you and the insurance company, and you have the right to file a lawsuit if you cannot reach an agreement.
Through it all, your attorney will work with you every step of the way and protect you from the insurance company's overreach. At the same time, your lawyer will also fight for you to receive as much compensation as you deserve when you have suffered an injury from another driver's carelessness in a car accident. You should not try to go through the legal process alone. It will be incredibly stressful, and the insurance company will also single you out as a target, costing you money when you finally get your settlement (if you get one at all).
Get a Car Accident Lawyer Right After the Crash
The sooner you get an attorney, the more you will protect your legal rights. Unfortunately, in a personal injury case, you must avoid any damage you can do to your lawsuit.
You must file your claim before your case's statute of limitations expires. State law gives you a certain amount of time in which you have to sue, and you must complete this deadline to retain the right to file a lawsuit entirely.
Do not wait to hire an attorney because you may lose the evidence you need to prove your case. You also want to avoid making mistakes that can harm your compensation chances.
Based on the contingency fee system, your attorney will receive the same percentage of your case, no matter when you hired them. The representation agreement will specify the fee; you must only pay your lawyer if you win your case.
Once you consult a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio, you can relax knowing that someone is working to achieve the financial recovery you deserve. While you cannot trust insurance companies - even your own - you can trust a lawyer you hire. Their interests align with yours, as a successful recovery for you is a successful case for them.
Seek your free case evaluation as soon as possible.