Top Tips for Settling A Car Accident Case On Your Own

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Being in an automobile accident can significantly, and perhaps permanently, change your entire life. On top of the immediate medical needs you will have, you could find yourself unable to work and support your family. Many victims also experience pain, suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other similar types of damages. You have the right to settle your car accident case on your own with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and Text Kevin Accident Attorneys offer some tips here.

But we caution that while you can handle your case yourself, you might be leaving substantial sums of money on the table by not hiring an attorney. You owe it to yourself to at least explore your options before deciding which route to take. Our California car accident law firm is ready to serve you.

Step 1: Gather evidence

It will be your job to collect the proof necessary to show that the at-fault driver or other party was legally negligent. The evidence might include:

  • Pictures or video of the accident scene, including that which shows damage to your vehicle
  • Video recordings (e.g. from surveillance cameras) of the accident itself
  • Medical bills and doctor’s notes about your injuries, recommended treatments, and prognosis
  • Eyewitness statements that can verify your account of what happened
  • The police accident report, generated by a law enforcement officer who shows up to the accident scene
  • Your personal notes and recollections about the events surrounding the accident and your injuries

Step 2: Write a demand letter to the insurance company

Next, you will need to write a letter to the company that insures the at-fault party. The letter should include pertinent details such as your identity, the identity of the insured, what happened, and what the at-fault party was doing. In writing this letter, you will want to be:

  • Detailed: Give the insurance company enough information to understand how exactly the acts or omissions of the insured party rise to the level of legal negligence.
  • Factual: Do not use the demand letter as a time to be emotional or express anger or frustration about what happened; stick to the facts and keep the letter as objective as possible.
  • Careful: What you say in your letter could be used against you later, so be sure you don’t state anything that could suggest you were at fault in any way.

The letter should include documentation of the losses you have incurred, such as medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle. Keep all receipts and bills you receive that are related to the accident but provide copies of this information to the insurance company.

Lastly, your demand letter should include an amount that you are willing to accept to settle the case out of court. This amount should not be limited to losses you have already incurred. It should cover potential future losses like inability to work the same job or medical treatments, like surgery, you will need later. The letter should also compensate you for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.

Step 3: Negotiate with the insurance company

Once your letter has been received by the insurer, you enter the negotiation phase. The insurance company should eventually send you an offer. You will want to read the offer closely and determine whether it fairly compensates you for everything. If the insurance company’s offer is too low or otherwise unfair, you can always reject it by making a counteroffer. If you never receive a response, it may be time to retain legal counsel.

How A Lawyer Can Help

Retaining an attorney can help in other ways, too. We represent the victims of California car accidents by doing the following:

Understanding the law: This is arguably the number one reason that someone hires an attorney. We understand personal injury law and what it takes to prove that the at-fault driver or other party was negligent. Hopefully, your case will settle out of court; but if not, we will be prepared to argue it in front of a jury.

Knowing the rules: There are many rules related to personal injury claims. Rules of civil procedure govern the proceedings in a lawsuit. Discovery rules must be followed so you can use various tools like depositions and subpoenas to obtain evidence (and so you can appropriately respond to requests from the defendant). There are also evidence rules designed to ensure that anything admitted in the courtroom is relevant and reliable.

Investigating the accident: We conduct a thorough investigation with the objective of acquiring the types of evidence listed above. Because we are familiar with personal injury cases, we know the proof that is needed to substantiate our clients’ demands and seek the most amount of compensation.

Identifying all responsible parties: During our investigation, we may uncover evidence that other parties contributed to your accident. For example, the manufacturer of the at-fault driver’s automobile may have installed a defective part. The more parties that can be named as defendants, the higher your compensation is likely to be.

Hiring expert witnesses: Expert witnesses are individuals with specialized or technical knowledge who can explain complex subjects to a jury. An expert witness can help establish various elements of a case. For instance, an accident reconstructionist can explain how the at-fault party caused the wreck. Experts can even explain the future losses you might incur because of your injuries and what they may be worth.

Negotiating with insurance: Finally, we are skilled negotiators who understand the value of car accident cases and what insurance companies are looking for in settlement discussions. You should understand that once you sign a settlement with the insurance company, you won’t get to ask for more money later. We want to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries, and we can help you weigh the pros and cons of settling versus going to trial.

Count On Us to Fight for the Compensation You Deserve

You can find more advice for settling your accident case on your own here. Our firm encourages car accident victims to at least give us a call first to find out how we can represent them and the legal services we provide. Reach out to Text Kevin Accident Attorneys to explore your options today.

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