Nobody can anticipate an accident, and once one happens, the crash is often over in a matter of seconds. However, the effects of an auto accident last for far longer than the initial collision. A lengthy legal process awaits drivers, alongside the possibility of lifelong health complications. It’s important to know what to expect, so we’ve broken the average auto accident case down into five simple steps.
The claims process starts the moment the crash occurs. If you are able to, you should investigate the collision and start recording evidence. Take photos, get names and numbers from witnesses and other drivers, and take as many notes as you can for future use.
If you need medical treatment, you should disregard this step and go to the hospital. If you can, ask someone else to investigate for you but remember that even if you don’t gather evidence at the scene of the accident, your claim isn’t forfeit.
Regardless of how you feel, you should see a doctor immediately after an accident, as shock nullifies pain and can make it impossible to self-diagnose your injuries. Getting a formal diagnosis is also essential if you need to recover medical costs later.
Once you’re received treatment, you should notify your insurance company of the accident and discuss your policy. Avoid accepting easy, quick sums of money, unless your accident was extremely minor. Accepting an unfair settlement could lock you out of receiving the compensation you deserve permanently.
Once you’ve talked to your insurance, you should consult an attorney and discuss your case. Even if you decide not to hire them, you can still get good legal advice, and avoid being scammed by dishonest insurance adjusters.
Evaluating your specific damages (medical expenses, car repair fees, and other measurable financial losses) and general damages (such as pain and suffering) is one of the most important steps in securing a fair settlement. An attorney is especially helpful here, as they can accurately place a value on intangible damages using a multiplier method. From this point, you or your attorney can send a settlement demand letter to your insurance company, demanding a certain level of compensation.
After some back and forth negotiation, your attorney and insurance company will eventually reach a final offer. If you and your attorney agree that it’s a fair settlement, you can settle your case, and the process will end there. However, insurance adjusters know that most people don’t like the prospect of lawsuits, so you might receive an undervalued offer from your insurance company. If that happens, you might need to pursue a lawsuit to secure fair recoveries. An attorney is essential for the discovery portion of a suit in particular, as they can leverage their knowledge and network to secure better evidence, but we won’t go into too much detail on the lawsuit process in this article—but remember that if you do pursue a lawsuit, you’ll need legal assistance.
No matter what step you’re at in the claims process, the talented Phoenix attorneys at Escamilla Law Group can give you peace of mind and help you receive the settlement you deserve. Whether you need sound legal advice or want to hire a representative, we’re here for you. Schedule a free consultation today by contacting us at (623) 321-0566.
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