Can I Negotiate My Own Settlement For My Car Accident Claim?
After a car accident occurs, accident victims may wonder whether or not they can handle the claim process by themselves. In some cases, this may be totally reasonable and manageable, but you certainly shouldn’t downplay the potential benefits that an attorney may be able to offer. It all comes down to the circumstances of your accident–here are some questions to consider before deciding whether or not to retain an attorney for your car accident claim.
How Serious are Your Injuries?
The first question you should consider after an accident is how seriously you were injured. For those who are unaware, most car accident claims are primarily centered around physical injuries and medical expenses–it’s called personal injury for a reason. If there are little to no injuries, there won’t be very many damages to claim, and an attorney is likely not going to be of use. However, the more serious an accident is, the more money will be at stake. The higher the stakes, the harder insurance companies are going to fight against paying you, which is why an attorney is highly recommended.
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A good car accident attorney will have numerous resources at their disposal to help your claim, and they are highly skilled negotiators when it comes to settlements because they will advocate for all forms of damages, some of which you may not have even considered. On average, those who retain an attorney will recover more than twice as much as those who do not. If you have serious injuries and a lot of medical expenses, you should probably consider being prudent and seeking an attorney’s help. However, if it’s a non-injury fender-bender, you should be just fine handling it yourself.
Is the Party at Fault For the Accident Clearly Identifiable?
Most states in the U.S. enforce some kind of comparative negligence laws. This means that the fault for an accident can be split between both parties on a percentage scale, and typically the end settlements are reduced by any percentage of fault you are awarded. In other words, if you are found to be 30 percent at fault, you will only be eligible to recover 70 percent of your total damages. Determining fault has a direct impact on your compensation, so if the fault for your accident is unclear or is being disputed, you may want to find an attorney to give you some extra help.
Did You Collect Any Evidence?
Car accident claims are just like all other legal proceedings in that you must be able to effectively prove your case, and this all depends on evidence. If you feel that you don’t need an attorney, you should consider how much evidence you do or don’t have to prove your claim. Examples would include pictures and videos, copies of police reports, medical receipts, and witness statements. If you don’t have much evidence, do you have the ability to recover some? You should consider these questions before making any decisions.
Are You Comfortable Dealing WIth Insurers and Adjusters?
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The last thing to consider is your level of comfort dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters. Make no mistake–if you don’t retain an attorney, they will come at you with full force because they know they have a better chance of taking advantage of you. If you have experience dealing with insurers or have knowledge of this industry, you may be ready for that challenge, but if you aren’t you should contact an attorney quickly because insurers will definitely start contacting you regardless.
Correspondence in these circumstances is extremely delicate, and if you aren’t careful you can easily hurt your claim by saying or doing the wrong thing. Adjusters are very skilled at baiting people into saying things that they shouldn’t about an accident, and most of the time that damage is irreversible.
As a final note, insurers will often make an offer right away in attempts to lure you away from the true value of your claim by enticing you with quick cash. An attorney will know right away whether an offer is valid or not, but will you? Do you have the strength to walk away from initial offers and fight for more?
Looking For an Attorney’s Help? Look No Further Than Van Law Firm
Accidents are stressful enough as it is, but if you try to handle your claim all by yourself it can become overwhelming. If you do find yourself in need of quality representation, simply contact the Van Law Firm office nearest you as soon as possible. Our award-winning team of personal injury attorneys is standing by to review your claim and recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
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