What Is the Best Way to Settle a Car Accident?
Updated: Jan 11
Those who have been in a car accident know that dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. Insurers usually want to pay as little as possible. However, car accident victims have to deal with medical bills, pain and suffering, lost time, wages, and plans. So, they have the right to fair compensation to help cover their costs.
In short, the best way to settle the case and get the best offer possible is to hire a lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance company. However, there are some other tricks that can help the victim gain leverage and enhance their chances of a better payout.
Let's check them out!
Best Ways To Settle A Car Accident
1. Start Collecting Evidence As Soon As Possible
Depending on how severe the injuries are, a car accident victim should start getting evidence right at the scene. So, if possible, they should take contact information from all witnesses and get a copy of the police report.
Furthermore, they should use their smartphone to take photos of the crash scene, property damage, and injuries.
2. Do Not Release Medical Records Just Yet
Some injuries take longer to appear — several days or weeks even. So, the initial medical records might not provide the best picture of how severe the injuries are. Moreover, if the victim shares their records with the other party's insurance company, it might affect their case. Insurers usually use such information against the victim to lower the settlement.
3. Demand from the Insurance Company to Set Up a High Reserve Account
If the insurer's reserve is not that big, a victim will face the pressure to settle for far less than they deserve.
4. Make The Injuries Known
If the injuries take a turn for the worse, the victim should inform the insurance company so they can increase their reserve account.
5. Don't Settle for Less and Don't Settle in Hurry
Insurance companies will immediately offer an amount to settle the case. Moreover, they usually try to pressure a car accident victim into accepting it. Still, it might take months until the victim knows the full extent of their injuries and damage. This is why the victim should still tell the insurance company about a minor accident. Moreover, the first offer is probably far less than the fair value. For this reason, the victim shouldn't take the first offer and should hold out as long as possible.
Also, there are things you should not say to your insurance company after an accident that could negatively affect the settlement.
6. Recording the Injuries
The best way a victim can show what they have gone through is to keep a diary of their injuries. Daily recordings will help estimate how long they had to suffer following the car accident. So, the victim should record everything, from pain caused by injuries to missed activities and work.
7. Save All the Receipts and Bills Related to the Accident
Insurance companies will never accept just the victim's words for any aspect of their claim. Therefore, it is always good to have documentation as a backup. Bills and receipts are the hard evidence that shows all the damage a person has suffered. Out-of-the-pocket expenses, like housekeeping, prescriptions, and yard work assistance, also count.
8. Learn About the Damages and Insurance Coverage
The victim should do some research and learn all about the damages they have suffered. Furthermore, they might be able to get a payout from more than one insurance policy, so they should learn about those as well.
9. Follow Through with All the Checkups
According to the personal injury law, the victim has a duty to "mitigate their damages". This means that the victim should stay under the doctor's care until the very end. Otherwise, insurers could use it against them.
10. Don't Wait to File a Suit
If the victim files a lawsuit right away, they will put more pressure on the car insurance company to offer a better deal. Keep in mind that insurance companies usually want to avoid going to trials to avoid additional costs.
11. Hire a Lawyer to Assess the Case
Many attorneys will take a look at the case for free. However, it's best to hire an auto accident lawyer in Des Moines right away. Not only will they be better at negotiations, but the insurers will take the case more seriously.
The best way to settle a claim is by hiring a lawyer and taking some steps to increase the odds of a better payout. So, right after the car accident, the injured party should gather as much evidence as possible and record everything that happens to them from that moment on. They should also avoid sharing details with insurance companies and should consult with their attorney to receive the largest settlement possible.