If you get involved in a car accident, you may be facing a mountain of medical bills and property damage costs. The price of your car accident may be overwhelming, but it is critical not to accept a fast settlement from a car insurance company. Take your time and try to get the most out of your car accident settlement, especially if you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries. Follow these tips for optimal case results.
Do Not Admit Fault
It is natural for many people to automatically apologize or admit fault after a car accident. You may tell the other driver that you weren’t paying attention to the road, for example, or didn’t see the light turn red. You should protect yourself by never admitting fault, however, even to the slightest degree. Do not admit fault to the other driver, a law enforcement officer, or an insurance company.
Instead of confessing fault, wait for a car accident investigation to determine the cause of the crash. Arizona is a comparative negligence state, meaning that if you are found to be a percentage at fault for your car accident, your financial recovery will be reduced by an equivalent amount. Maximizing your compensatory award, therefore, means avoiding blame for the collision.
Don’t Talk About Your Car Accident
An automobile insurance company will look for any reason to deny your claim or reduce your payout. This includes analyzing your every word in the aftermath of a car accident. Avoid talking about your crash to anyone except your car accident attorney to protect your rights. Do not post about your crash on social media or talk about it with friends.
At the scene of your crash, answer a police officer’s questions honestly, but do not speculate. If you don’t have the answer to a question, say you don’t know. The same is true when speaking to insurance representatives. When you contact a car insurance company, politely decline to give a recorded statement. This is the insurer’s way of getting information to use against you later, such as by twisting your words.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
A delay in going to a hospital after a car accident is a red flag for a car insurance company. An insurer can use this to claim that you failed to mitigate your damages, or that your injuries would have been less severe had you seen a doctor right away. This could potentially reduce your financial compensation. Get professional medical care immediately after a car accident, even if you feel fine. Your adrenaline may be masking the symptoms of an injury.
Resist Jumping at the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies know that claimants are typically inexperienced when it comes to negotiating car accident claims. They often take advantage of this to save themselves money. An insurer may offer an extremely low first settlement, for example, knowing that many claimants do not realize they have the power to negotiate for a higher amount. This is why it is important not to rush into a fast case resolution. Rather than accepting the very first settlement offer, take it to an attorney for an evaluation. An attorney can aggressively negotiate with an insurance company to demand the financial compensation that you deserve.
Know When to Take Your Case to Court
Getting the most out of your car accident case may mean going to court. While the vast majority of car accident cases in Arizona reach settlements, some require trials. If a car insurance company is refusing to offer a reasonable amount for the extent of your injuries and losses, for example, or has wrongfully rejected your claim, taking the defendant to court may be the only way to achieve the outcome you need. An attorney can review your case and let you know what the best legal option moving forward is for you. Contacting an experienced car accident lawyer from the beginning of your case is the most reliable way to enhance your results.