When you have an injury, you may feel like you're drowning. You might have endless doctor's bills, emergency room costs, physical therapy expenses, and car repair bills all while not being able to work due to your injury. The aftermath of a car accident can be an overwhelming and desperate place. It's important to know that legal options may exist for you to help you financially, physically, and emotionally recover (even if you had some percentage of fault in the accident). Use our accident settlement amount calculator here to get a general idea of what you may expect from your potential case. Then, schedule a free consultation with our car accident lawyers to talk about the specific details of your case. Our lawyers will go more in-depth on your potential compensation, as well as the steps you can take to maximize that amount. We will talk about how to maximize your car accident settlement in this article.
The Truth Will Set You Free (and Maybe Maximize Your Settlement)
Something simple you can do to keep your potential compensation safe, not jeopardize your case, and even maximize your settlement amount is listen to your car accident attorney's advice. Schedule your consultation as soon after the accident as possible – your lawyer will lay out the dos and don'ts of your case, so you know you aren't hurting your chances of recovery.
Don't lie to your lawyer. You may have contributed some level of fault in the accident, and it's possible you're embarrassed about it, or you're afraid it will hurt your chances of recovery. Know that whatever the lie is, your lawyer will ultimately find out the truth. Sometimes, when clients lie, the truth is revealed by the other party, which can be absolutely detrimental to your case. Always be candid with your attorney no matter what. Honesty will increase your chances of obtaining a fair and appropriate settlement.
Collect Evidence and Keep Good Records
Proving your case and maximizing your settlement amount is directly correlated to the evidence you have. Your lawyer will work to understand and identify the forms of evidence you need for the specific circumstances surrounding your case, but you can get a jump start on this process by collecting evidence and documentation from the beginning. Some forms of evidence that can help your case include:
- Photographs of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage
- The official police report
- Eyewitness reports
- Medical reports
- Expert witness reports
- Reconstructed accident scenes
- Traffic video and public camera footage
- Black box data in the case of semi-truck accidents
Watch What You Put on Social Media
People spend a lot of time on social media. They turn to their social channels when they want to vent, and nothing makes you want to vent like a car accident that wasn't your fault – especially if you were hurt and sustained a significant amount of damage. It's important that you refrain from this potential instinct. Do NOT post about your car accident on social media, and stay away from the internet entirely following an accident.
Don't Delay Doctor Visits
It's a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. First of all, it's better to be as cautious as possible when it comes to potential serious injury. Accidents can spike adrenaline, which can mask symptoms of significant injuries that may be life-threatening. Don't let the fear of an emergency room bill stop you from making sure you're healthy following an accident. In the worst cases, you could be putting your life in jeopardy, and in other cases, you could be hurting your potential financial recovery. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident also may make your case stronger in the long run. Depending on your situation, you should also continue making regular doctor visits. Sometimes an injury needs continued observation or treatment to ensure you properly recover and that you have the evidence to prove future medical treatment is necessary. Here are a few reasons to seek (and continue seeking) medical attention after an accident:
- Avoiding further injury due to complications - Without treatment, some injuries will get a lot worse within just a few hours. For instance, brain injuries can result in hematoma or hemorrhage, leading to serious complications and sometimes death.
- Avoiding potential insurance claim denials - If the insurance company decides that you are fine because you neglected to see a doctor, they may deny your claim. Similarly, any delayed treatment may also cause denied claims.
- Building evidence to support your claim - Depending on the case, it may be difficult to prove an insurance claim if there is no medical documentation to support it. Claiming you have a back injury with no MRI, X-rays, etc to back it up typically results in claim denial. Further, this medical evidence is used in determining how much compensation you'll need to recover from your injuries. Validating the potential settlement you generated with our accident settlement calculator means having the right evidence to back up your claims.
- Avoiding receiving too-low insurance settlement offers - The insurance company will usually do everything possible to minimize your settlement amount. Neglecting or delaying medical attention after an accident gives them an additional excuse to minimize the amount.
The Insurance Adjuster Is NOT Your Friend
For many of us, it's natural to want to be conversational with other people. Don't take this mentality into a call with an insurance adjuster. They are looking for reasons to deny your claim or pay you as little as possible. Saying the wrong thing can seriously hurt your case. Simply mentioning your “great weekend hiking with the family” when asked about your week can have horrible effects on your accident claim. How you communicate with the insurance company is crucial – check out these tips on speaking with the adjuster after your accident.
Here's the Thing About Accident Liability
In Arizona and New Mexico, fault can be shared. Often, finger-pointing will happen. The other party wants to avoid paying a settlement and maybe receiving certain penalties that may result for the at-fault party. Your settlement will subsequently be reduced by the percentage of fault you are determined to have had in the accident. If you did have fault in the accident, you are still allowed to seek compensation. However, if it's been determined that you played a part in the accident and you did not, your attorney will work to prove that you had no liability, which may increase your settlement.
If you've been hurt, the best thing to do is contact a personal injury lawyer who will advise you from the start. This will help you understand next steps and may keep you from hurting your chances of recovery. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, call or text (602) 345-1818.