Understanding how to get the most money from a car accident is important. Nobody wants to get into a car accident. Even if you are not injured, you will likely be without transportation for days or weeks. And if you are injured, you could face serious hardship.
Regardless of what harm you suffered in a car accident, you need money to recover quickly and completely. Money pays for your medical bills and car repair bills, replaces lost income, and pays for the assistance you might need while recovering. For more information, reach out to a Port Richey car accident lawyer.
Where to Get Money for a Car Accident
Every state requires a minimum level of car insurance. The same is not true if you fall down the stairs in your home or a dog bites you on the street.
You might receive compensation from your car insurance company or the at-fault party's car insurance company. A car accident attorney can fully explain the laws in your state.
When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
Like most people, you probably only think you should hire a lawyer as a last resort. This thinking is false and can cause great regret when dealing with a car accident.
According to Forbes, the best time to hire a car accident lawyer is before it is too late to make a difference. And the easiest way to ensure it is not too late is to hire a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
The earlier a car accident attorney gets involved with your case, the more impact they can have on the case and the more money they are likely able to get you. This impact starts before you even file your claim.
Talking about the accident with other parties is one of the biggest mistakes people make after a car accident. You should never share details of the accident on social media.
But possibly surprisingly, you should not speak to the other driver or police without an attorney present. Anything you say could end up being used against you by an insurance company to deny your claim or to decrease the compensation you get for the accident.
If you hire a car accident attorney early, they will act as your primary liaison with all interested parties. You can even insist on having your attorney present before speaking to the police. Your attorney’s ability to filter information will serve you well when eventually negotiating for a settlement or at trial.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
Unfortunately, insurance companies deny many claims, leaving accident victims to understand why. Your car accident lawyer should prevent a denial.
Your attorney will collect evidence independently and use that evidence to determine fair compensation for your expenses and losses resulting from the accident. With that information in hand, your car accident attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement without going through the red tape of the claims process.
This negotiation is easier for a car accident lawyer because of their experience in the field. They are familiar with the major car insurance companies and have probably negotiated with them before.
Your car accident attorney also can access past cases and use that information to accurately determine expected losses and expenses. Since courts use precedence to determine trial awards, car accident lawyers can use the same precedence to support their negotiations.
Of course, the question is whether negotiation gets you the most money from your car accident. The answer is complicated. Typically, a negotiated settlement will get you more compensation than you would get from the standard claims process. However, it also typically gets you less money than you could get from a trial award.
But a trial award is not a sure thing. While most car accident lawyers will only accept cases they believe they can win if it goes to trial, they cannot promise that you will win a trial. The moment you go to trial, you are at the mercy of a jury of random people who might decide against you or might decide that the value of your case is less than you or your lawyer believes it to be.
A negotiated settlement does not have that type of uncertainty.
When You Must Go to Trial
Even the best attorney cannot always negotiate a fair settlement offer. Sometimes the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate because it thinks it can win in court or believes you will surrender your claim if forced to go to trial. This situation is not a concern for an experienced trial attorney.
All the evidence your lawyer collected for negotiations can help in court. And since your attorney is only paid if you win money, there is no cost to you when your case goes to trial. If anything, your attorney is greatly incentivized to fight harder to get you money because they are footing the court costs.
After a car accident, most people face mounting medical bills and either cannot go to work or must work reduced hours. This financial instability can force them to accept an unfair settlement because they can’t afford to wait until the conclusion of a trial.
If you face dire financial straits, your attorney may direct you to resources that can help you stay solvent while waiting for a trial to complete. For example, a medical credit card can help you bridge the financial gap.
If a jury finds in your favor, you may receive a much larger award than a negotiated settlement would have paid. At that point, you can pay off any remaining debt.
What You Can Get Compensation For
A good car insurance lawyer can get you compensation for your medical costs.
Medical costs have the potential to be extremely expensive. Medical costs from car accidents recently totaled $18 billion in lifetime medical costs. Even split among all car accidents, those are the types of costs that the average person can’t afford. And if you are unlucky enough to suffer a serious injury, you could be paying medical costs for the rest of your life.
Common lifelong injuries from car accidents include:
Insurance companies will often try to make an offer that covers your immediate medical bills but does nothing to cover a lifetime of medical bills and therapy. Your car insurance attorney will work to get you enough compensation to protect you from those predictable future expenses.
Additionally, you may get compensation for your pain and suffering, particularly if the other driver was at fault for the accident. While money can reimburse you for expenses like medical bills, it can’t restore the time you lost while suffering from injuries. Nor can it remove your memories of the pain you suffered from the accident.
But even if it can't erase that pain and lost time, money can help compensate for it. That is why courts award damages to people who have suffered due to the actions of another. And because the courts will award damages for that, it is possible to negotiate for those damages outside of a trial.
Finally, your attorney will attempt to get you compensation for lost wages resulting from a car accident. Not only can you get money for the direct wages you lost, but also for any work-related opportunities that you might have lost.
For example, if recovering in a hospital resulted in you not getting a promotion, your lawyer can determine the approximate value of that lost promotion throughout your career and will attempt to secure compensation for that.
Consultations Are Typically Free
Another reason many people avoid contacting a lawyer is that they are concerned about the cost of an attorney. Most attorneys charge nothing for an initial consultation, making it easy for you to safely speak to an attorney.
A car accident attorney is the only person with good reason to honestly evaluate your case. The car insurance company wants to pay you as little money as possible. The other driver in a car accident wants to avoid any possible penalties for their actions.
Only an attorney has the incentive to give you an honest assessment of your case and options.
A car accident lawyer only benefits from your case if you get compensation. Thus, if an attorney lied about your chances of winning, all they are doing is harming their bottom line. Similarly, by honestly recommending your best option, the attorney makes it likely that both of you will get well paid by the insurance company.
Choose a Car Accident Attorney Carefully
An experienced lawyer will know most insurance companies and have a reputation that will encourage the insurance company to negotiate in good faith. You also want an attorney with a record of winning cases in the jurisdiction where your case will go to trial if it comes to that.
Research attorneys near you and ask good questions during the initial consultation. Remember that you need not hire an attorney just because you receive a free evaluation or consultation from them.
Call a Port Richey personal injury attorney as soon as possible so insurance companies do not take advantage of you.