Car accidents are an unfortunate reality for many people. While no one starts their day off expecting to wind up in a collision, these types of collisions happen every day around the world. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 3.7 motor vehicle accidents involving injuries requiring medical attention occurred in just one year across the United States. Auto accident victims may suffer injuries that require extensive medical interventions like surgeries, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and other long-term treatments. In fact, some victims may sustain injuries that forever alter their mobility or physical health, preventing them from working in certain sectors or traveling as they once did. In addition to the physical pain and emotional stress of suffering a car accident injury, victims face costly medical bills, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses stemming from the accident. It’s common for victims to feel overwhelmed by the financial toll of an accident as they worry about how they can ever begin to pay down these costs. California allows injured car accident victims to recover compensation to help cover these expenses. As you work with a knowledgeable and experienced Temecula car accident lawyer to help you with the claims process, you should consider employing the following strategies to maximize your settlement offer and secure the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Tip #1: Gather Compelling Evidence
A successful auto accident claim begins at the scene of the collision. As you assess yourself and others for any injuries requiring immediate medical attention, be sure to also contact local law enforcement to report the accident. The responding officer will compile a police report, which serves as an objective account of the facts and circumstances surrounding the collision. You should also exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties involved in the accident, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses who can provide insights into the moments leading up to the crash. If possible, take photos of the scene to document the extent of the damage. Ultimately, the more evidence you can compile, the better you can establish your need for compensation to help support the financial aspects of your recovery.
Tip #2: Seek Medical Treatment As Soon As Possible
Many auto accident victims suffer injuries, but they do not believe their injuries require an emergency visit to the hospital. However, any injuries should be assessed by a medical professional to determine whether there are any harder-to-detect conditions that may not exhibit obvious symptoms, such as traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding. Schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as you can after the accident (ideally within a day or so) to have yourself evaluated. Moreover, the medical records established by this visit will be essential to justify your claim for compensation. You can use these records and the accompanying bills to seek the compensation you need to pay back these expenses.
Tip #3: Do Not Admit Fault
One of the biggest mistakes an auto accident victim can make is to admit fault. California’s comparative fault insurance model makes it possible for more than one party to be held responsible for causing the collision. The process of determining each party’s percentage of liability can take time, and it’s essential that you refrain from making any statements that indicate your culpability. Leave the fault determinations up to the insurance companies and their investigators instead. Unfortunately, this means it’s best to avoid expressing your sympathy to others at the scene of the accident, as even a simple, well-intentioned “I’m sorry” could be used to indicate your role in causing the collision. Generally speaking, the less you say at the scene (and to the insurance companies), the better your chances of reducing your legal and financial liability.
Tip #4: Enlist the Help of an Attorney
Although California law does not require you to hire an attorney to pursue an auto accident claim, doing so is highly recommended. Your attorney will advise you on the steps you need to take to file a claim while protecting your best interests at every opportunity. Additionally, your attorney can step in to handle challenging conversations with the insurance companies, which can be especially stressful during this chaotic time. The last thing you want to be doing when coping with your physical recovery is negotiating with insurance adjusters whose top priority is paying you as little as possible in order to protect the company’s bottom line. Rather than subjecting yourself to these tense and stressful conversations, let your attorney step in to handle these negotiations on your behalf. A seasoned Murrieta car accident lawyer is familiar with the insurance company’s negotiation tactics and will push back to maximize your chances of receiving a fair and favorable outcome.
Tip #5: Hold Out For a More Favorable Settlement Offer
It’s completely understandable that injured car accident victims want to receive compensation as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, many insurance companies know this, and they will attempt to use your desperation against you in an effort to pay you as little as possible. The insurance company will likely make you a lowball initial settlement offer, hoping that you will accept it because you want to claim the money right away. However, if you can hold out a bit longer, your attorney can push for a more favorable settlement offer that allows you to secure the compensation you need to support every aspect of your recovery. Insurance companies usually want to avoid litigation at all costs, so they will likely work with you to negotiate a favorable settlement offer. No matter what the specific circumstances of your case may be, you can trust that your dedicated Riverside County auto accident attorney will answer your questions, address your concerns, and support you along the path to recovery.
If you need help recovering compensation after suffering an auto accident injury in Temecula or Murrieta, reach out to Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, by calling (951) 489-3320. We’re ready to guide you through the auto accident claims process and help you maximize your settlement offer to support your recovery.