The moment following a car accident can feel surreal. As you assess yourself for injuries, it’s natural to wonder how this unfortunate incident will impact the days, weeks, and months ahead. Even seemingly minor injuries may require a long recovery period, preventing you from working or earning the wages you need to stay afloat. Additionally, the medical bills start to pile up, adding even more stress to your situation. As overwhelming as this time may seem, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party to help cover the costs stemming from the accident. Enlisting the guidance of an experienced Riverside County car accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you obtain a fair and favorable settlement offer to support your recovery. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways to maximize your auto accident settlement offer in Southern California.
An Effective Claim Starts at the Scene
There are steps you can take right away to start laying a solid foundation for the eventual claim you will file. While the aftermath of a car accident can be chaotic and overwhelming, it’s important to take a few critical actions to ensure your safety and to increase the likelihood of pursuing and securing a favorable settlement later on.
Auto accidents can cause severe injuries that require immediate medical attention. Call for an ambulance right away, as your injuries may need surgery or another type of medical intervention. Even if you do not believe your injury is drastic enough to justify a hospital visit, be sure to visit your doctor within the next few days. A physician can examine you for any injuries that may not display obvious symptoms, like a concussion or internal bleeding. Additionally, you can use the medical records established by your visit to strengthen your personal injury claim.
The Police Report
You should contact local law enforcement so that the responding officer can compile a police report. The police report serves as an objective account of the factors leading up to and resulting from the collision, such as the road conditions, whether the driver was distracted at the time of the crash, and other important details. When you move forward with your personal injury claim, you can request a copy of the police report to support your claim.
Gather Contact Information
You should exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Additionally, gather contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident and may be able to describe the events leading up to the collision. However, it’s best to refrain from discussing the accident with those at the scene, as any statements you make may end up undermining or weakening your claim.
Follow Through With Treatment Recommendations
Seeking medical attention is essential in securing your safety and supporting your recovery. However, it’s equally important to show up to all follow-up appointments with your doctor. If your medical professional recommends physical therapy, follow through with these treatment sessions. Essentially, you want to demonstrate that you are taking your recovery seriously. The at-fault party and insurance companies will not pay you the compensation you request if you do not show that you care about your physical health and recovery.
Work With a Skilled Temecula Car Accident Attorney
While California does not require accident victims to hire an attorney when pursuing an auto accident claim, doing so is highly recommended. Your attorney understands what to expect at every step of this process and can help you complete each step with confidence. In many cases, conversing with insurance adjusters can be a frustrating and even intimidating experience—let your attorney step in to handle these negotiations on your behalf. Your lawyer is familiar with the tactics that insurance adjusters use to undermine or discredit your claim, and they will push back for a more favorable outcome.
Negotiate a More Favorable Settlement Offer
It’s important to recognize that insurance companies want to protect their bottom lines. Insurance adjusters may claim to be “on your side,” but their job is to pay you as little as possible to save the company money. You can expect the company to make you a lowball settlement offer—they hope that you will accept this amount in your eagerness to secure the compensation you need to move forward. Unfortunately, accepting an initial settlement offer usually means you are forfeiting the opportunity to secure the full settlement to which you are entitled. If you can wait a bit longer to receive the settlement, it’s worth having your attorney push for a more favorable offer. Insurance companies want to avoid litigation at all costs, so they will typically be open to further settlement negotiations.
If you need help collecting compensation following a car accident injury in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, at (951) 489-3320 to speak with a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer.
EXCERPT: An effective car accident claim begins at the scene. Seeking medical attention, contacting law enforcement, and enlisting the guidance of a trusted personal injury attorney can help you maximize your settlement offer.