Every car accident is unique in its circumstances and resulting injuries and damages. That being said, one thing that all accident claimants share is the desire to recover the highest amount of compensation possible for their claim. Although there are elements of every case that are largely out of your control, that does not mean that there is nothing you can do to improve the outlook of your potential settlement.
A large number of claimants are largely unfamiliar with the claim process, and therefore may not know how to enhance their claim. Let’s take a closer look at some of the proactive steps you can take to maximize your potential car accident settlement:
Stay On-Site and Collect As Much Information As Possible
No matter where a car accident occurs, the parties involved are obligated to stop and exchange information at the very least. With that in mind, it’s always in your best interest to contact the authorities and ensure that they respond to the scene. That way, the process will unfold as it should, and they will submit an accident report that is usually very influential when determining liability. They can also conduct sobriety tests if the other driver seems to be impaired.
After an accident, you should gauge your surroundings to determine whether it’s safer to stay inside the vehicle or exit nearby. Then, it’s a good idea to collect as much information as you possibly can, such as:
- Ample photographs of all vehicles and surrounding areas
- Contact and insurance information with all other drivers
- Witness statements or contact information for anyone who may have seen the accident
- Any other details of importance.
This information is usually very important down the line, and the more you collect, the better.
Get Medical Help and Follow Through With All Treatments
If an accident is severe, you will likely be transported to the nearest hospital by ambulance, in which case you should fully cooperate with health and safety personnel. However, you should still seek medical treatment after any accident, even if you aren’t feeling any pressing symptoms. This is crucial because medical expenses often constitute the bulk of a claimant’s damages, and if you don’t seek treatment right away, insurers and opposing counsel can easily downplay the severity of your injuries. Getting a comprehensive medical exam can also be extremely important because they can identify any injuries that you may not have felt initially, especially for head and neck injuries such as concussions and whiplash.
Even after you are initially released from care, you should diligently continue and complete all treatments and medications that are prescribed to you. This is extremely helpful to your case because it demonstrates that you are taking the proper steps to heal, and you are actively helping your own cause. If you are inconsistent with treatments and take gaps, it will not only hurt the validity and strength of your claim, but it may also be detrimental to your health in the sense that you may not be approved for future treatments if you do not follow proper protocols at the beginning of the process.
Notify Your Insurer of the Accident Within the Proper Time Frame
You should make sure to notify your own insurer about your accident within the allotted time frame, as policies differ widely on when you must do this. If you fail to disclose an accident in time, you may risk losing the chance to receive compensation or worse, cancellation of your policy altogether.
If you retain an attorney before you notify your insurer, you should consult with them first or let them handle the process. If you don’t have an attorney, however, remember to be mindful of any details you may disclose, and only stick to the basic facts of the accident–-the last thing you want to do is let something slip when emotions are still running high.
Get in the Habit of Keeping Copies of Everything
One of the biggest tips we can give to accident claimants is to keep copies of all case-related documents. The legal field is a strange one, and sometimes the smallest memo or letter can make all the difference in a high-dollar case. You should make sure to keep copies of everything, and notify your attorney of anything that you feel they should see. This includes:
- Medical bills and records, for both hospital and rehab treatments
- Prescription records and receipts
- Property damage repair receipts and records
- Any correspondence from your own insurer
- Any correspondence from the third party insurer
- Anything you may receive from the party or parties involved in proceedings
- Any court notices or documents
Keep a Low Profile and Let Your Attorney Handle Things
Finally, without sounding rude, it’s always a good idea to “lay low” throughout the entirety of your claim and let your attorney handle just about everything. Claimants are routinely shocked to learn just how little it takes to completely derail a claim, and how many cases are ruined because of something a claimant did or said. Once your claim has been submitted, it’s in your best interest to stay out of harm’s way, stay offline, and watch what you say, even to family and friends.
Insurance adjusters and opposing counsel often run to your social media accounts to see if you will post anything that they can use to discredit your claim. It’s a good idea to set all of your accounts private after your claim has been submitted, and even then avoid making derogatory posts. After all, if you are claiming severe damages but living it up on Instagram and Twitter, it’s simply not a good look. Furthermore, you might not even want to disclose all of the details of your case to your family and friends, as sometimes they will repeat things they shouldn’t.
Chances are, once you file your claim, various people will try hard to get in touch with you, including any insurers involved. The best thing to do is to let your attorney handle all correspondence and negotiations–they have the experience and the resources to recover the compensation you need, as that is their job. Don’t ruin your claim by saying things you shouldn’t or by making improper demands. The claim process is often emotional, but you should never let it affect you to the point that you can’t go to your attorney first.
Contact Trusted Car Accident Attorneys Now
As we’ve mentioned above, there are numerous ways an accident claimant can help their own case. However, the most important step for claimants to take is to speak with experienced car accident attorneys. Thankfully, the award-winning legal team from Van Law Firm is standing by to help you and your family recover the compensation you deserve. We’ve helped countless accident victims get back on their feet, and with over 500 5-star reviews, it’s clear to see that our dedication is paying off. Call our office nearest you today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.