A car accident is not something that you ever want to deal with, but still, it is better to be prepared for the consequences. Most of the time, in case of a car accident, the damage and settlement is done out of court and barrel a few cases where the case will ever get to trial. There are many aspects that will need to be taken care of with the settlement process. A good car accident lawyer is a must for the negotiations.
If you are feeling stuck with the car accident settlement process, here are some tips and tricks to help you out:
1. Time is of the Essence
You will need to follow the statute of limitations related to car accident settlements closely when filing a claim. Depending on the state of damage and your injury claim, the approximate time limit you will have to move forth with the settlement process will be anywhere between six months to one year. While this may seem like a lot of time, you will not realise how much time every little thing will take if you do not have an attorney.
Many documents need to be prepared, and motions need to be filed accordingly. This can only be done through a legal medium. Your damage claim and settlement process rely on how you utilise the time that you have been given. Your attorney will need time for thorough accident analysis. If you wait too long to get legal help, you might lose your right to claim anything.
2. The Notification Letter is Important
When you contact an attorney, they take over and make the process official. The notification letter is the first step to let the other party know that a legal team is now involved after the car accident. The notification letter is basically used to notify the insurer that you are seeking a claim for an injury that happened due to a car accident. Knowing the importance of a notification letter is important because it will help you realise the importance of legal advice as you go on with a settlement process.
3. Be Aware of Car Insurance Laws
Having a rudimentary knowledge of car insurance laws will also help you take action promptly. Every driver is required by law to carry their car insurance papers with them at all times. When it comes to car accident liability, there are two systems that you need to be familiar with:
The At-Fault System
This is a traditional way of covering a car insurance settlement process. As per the system, the person who was responsible for causing the accident is liable to pay for all the damages that have occurred. If you follow the traditional insurance coverage system and the other driver is found to be at fault, you have the following options:
- File a lawsuit
- File an insurance claim with your insurance provider
- File a claim with the insurance provider of the other driver
The No-Fault System
While a major backdrop of the at-fault system is that it opens you up to the vulnerability of getting sued, the no fault system saves you the trouble. Understand the no-fault system as this: neither you nor the driver in front of you can sue anybody. Since no one is to blame with this insurance coverage system, both you and the driver you are in a collision with can ask for insurance coverage from your company. As per your policy limit, your insurance company will be liable to pay you all the medical expenses and related costs.
4. Negotiating is an Art
A good kansas city car accident lawyer understands the art of negotiation and uses it to your advantage. Once the notification letter has been sent, the insurance company has about 15 days to look over your claim and see if they want to enter into negotiations and begin the settlement process. The idea behind settling is that a price will be agreed upon after negotiation. Typically, the best advice that you can get when it comes to negotiations is never to accept the first offer.
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It is the job of the adjuster to offer you a price after looking over at the damages. Your attorney is the most qualified person to decide if that quoted sum is worth accepting. You cannot enter the negotiation without the consultation of your attorney because it will severely weaken your case. Depending upon the quote by the adjuster, the attorney will decide whether or not it is worth your claim and then will propose a counter offer. Whether you admit it or not, having a legal expert on your team significantly improves your chances of getting a better claim.
5. Know Details of Accident Investigation
Your lawyer will do a preliminary analysis of the car accident before filing the claim. When the notification letter has been sent, there is a need for an accident investigation undertaken by the insurance company. You will receive an official notification regarding the same.
The adjuster does an accident investigation, and it is always a good idea to have an attorney present when you are talking to them. You can even choose to not contact the adjuster directly and use your attorney as a means of communication. These are the aspects covered in accident investigation:
- Expert consulting
- Interviews with everyone involved
- Exploring photos of the accident and videos if any
- Revisiting the insurance policy and claim
- Additional medical tests to test the extent of personal damages
- Information collected from the victim
If you follow the tips mentioned above, your settlement process will go on smoothly. Having an attorney throughout the duration of the process is a boon you should take advantage of. We hope that you understood the importance of getting a car accident lawyer for filing your claim and guiding you through the settlement process. From the moment you experience a car accident, you should start planning for a damage claim to get the sum that you deserve.