If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, you’re probably not just in pain, but also staring down a bunch of medical bills lying on your desk, unsure of what to do. Car accidents aren’t just scary, but they are expensive: if you’re lucky, you might be physically okay but your car could be totaled. There’s also the awful chance that you have to deal with both misfortunes; bad health and a junked-up car.
Regardless of what happens, there is always the possibility that you have the right to more compensation than you think. There are different ways of researching just how much money you’re entitled to depending on the scale of the accident.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
First things first, while you’re at the scene and if possible, check the scale of the accident and determine whether you’ve had a minor collision or if your car is significantly damaged. If it’s the former, then you can probably calculate how much that would cost on your own. If it’s the latter, then it is advisable to get a lawyer on board, since reliable legal counsel is what is needed to get you your rights.
Call the insurance company
But not yours! Call the other driver’s insurance company first and foremost. Collect as much evidence as you can, including photographic testimony of the damage on-site and any witnesses to the accident. The insurance company will need a lot of information and it is your job to make a convincing case proving that it is not your fault. The insurance company is in the business of making money, and might want to charge you a higher rate for making the claim, so be careful. Our resident lawyer in the matter, Brian Guralnick, recommends putting together a complete portfolio proving your case, especially if you are making a go of it on your own. It’s important that you get a reliable lawyer that is experienced because things could get difficult. Car insurance companies have the bloodthirsty reputation that they do for a reason!
Assess the damage
If you are making a claim for property damage, then there are different types for which you might be entitled to collect, such as vehicle damage, personal property damage (this can even include the computer or bike that were totalled during the wreck, not just your car), or out-of-pocket expenses such as the taxi you might have had to hire to get home. The insurance company will extend an offer to you based on the information and documentation you provide, so be sure to keep any invoices you might have on hand.
If your accident ends up including more than just your run of the mill fender bender and you suffer some injuries, the legalities will of course be more complicated. In addition to the damaged items listed above, you could be entitled to a reimbursement of medical fees and even lost wages. You can also claim compensation from any mental or physical anguish you have suffered as a result of the accident. In this case, then you should feel comfortable working towards negotiating a settlement with your legal counsel.
Getting into a car accident is a traumatic and potentially life changing event. Make sure that you exercise due diligence and work in tandem with a lawyer so that you can receive the kind of claim you deserve. Compensation can come in different cash levels, so don’t sell yourself short and definitely don’t allow the insurance sharks to get the best of you!