Car accidents can happen anytime you are on the road. While you can steer clear of most dangerous situations, there are still some that you can’t avoid. You always have the right to demand accountability and compensation when an accident leaves you and everyone else in the vehicle injured. In this article, we look into how you can come up with a car accident claim that’s guaranteed to cover the physical and emotional injury you will have to go through in the long term.
Car Accident Statistics You Need to Know
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of fatalities caused by traffic accidents rose to 12% in 2021. This has prompted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to call the rising number of deaths a “national crisis.”
On the other hand, Statista.com reported that traffic-related injuries rose by 500,000 from 2010 to 2019. While overspeeding and driving while intoxicated remain the main causes of traffic injuries in the United States, distracted driving is still the leading cause of fatalities on the road.
Considering these factors, every driver needs to realize that they can fight to secure proper compensation. Every state in the country has laws designed specifically to protect people who had to go through a difficult time as a result of a traffic collision.
Filing a car accident claim doesn’t always end up in everyone’s favor. Drivers who are accused of negligence and reckless driving also reserve the right to defend themselves and reduce their liability. It’s important to know how you can raise your chances of getting your claim for damages and injuries approved.
Understanding the Claims Process
Wherever you are, it matters a lot to know the process for filing a car accident claim. This helps you navigate all the legal complexities you need to go through so you can justify a higher compensation package. Here are a few steps to keep in mind whenever you are involved in a car accident:
- Call emergency services and gather evidence
Immediately after the accident, it’s important to wait for first responders to arrive on the scene. Call 911 and describe the accident as well as the extent of the injuries everyone has incurred. You shouldn’t give out too much at this point, but you need to tell emergency responders to act fast, especially if there is anyone who is trapped or needs professional first aid.
You also need to gather details on the scene. Take pictures of the damages and ask pedestrians and other drivers about what they saw before the accident occurred. Their insights can add credibility to your claims and prove that the other driver acted negligently. These details can also be very helpful if you decide to pursue legal action.
After everyone has been secured and the police have done their initial investigation on the scene, you can have your damaged car towed for repairs. Towing services are included in most auto insurance policies through a roadside assistance add-on. Another option is to request a reimbursement if you are paying the cost of towing your vehicle out of pocket.
Throughout the aftermath of the collision, make sure to gather receipts, records, and test results. These pieces of evidence can show the other side’s insurance company the full extent of your injuries, damages, and financial losses. You must also monitor your health and check whether you are developing long-term effects of the accident. These may include chronic pain and even psychological conditions such as depression and insomnia.
- Establish fault and file your claim
When it comes to car accidents, drivers need to understand the concept of fault. This involves identifying the person or motorist who must assume full responsibility for an accident. If you are at fault, you are required to be for the other party’s medical and repair bills, along with other liabilities. In case it’s the other party that is at fault, they will be the ones to be held liable for injuries and damages.
However, the process of filing a car accident claim can be complicated depending on where you are. In the United States, it pays to know the difference between the Fault States and the No-Fault States.
Fault States: Known as tort states, these are states where the driver responsible for the must pay for damages and injuries from their own pockets or through their insurance carrier. In case the other party’s insurer won’t pay the amount you demand, you may file suit to cover your losses and legal fees so long as the cost of injury treatment reaches a certain threshold. Fault States include Alabama, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
No-Fault States: In No-Fault States, both parties will have to file claims through their insurance carriers. Drivers in these states are usually required to include personal injury protection in their policies. You may not be able to sue the other party for injuries unless they are severe. No-Fault States include Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania.
To be sure, you may need to check the laws about car accidents in the state where you were involved in the collision. From this, you will be able to learn about the next steps you need to take to receive the amount of compensation.
- Deal with an insurance adjuster
Following the accident, the other party’s insurance adjuster might reach out to you and ask questions. Their job is to evaluate your claims to get a good picture of how much you should be getting as compensation. However, insurance adjusters may use a wide array of strategies to get you to say things that will reduce their liability and justify a payout that doesn’t cover the full extent of your injuries.
For this reason, it’s best not to give too much and too detailed information to the adjuster. During
your conversation with them, you could say things that might jeopardize your claim. Your adjuster may even use your statements to prove insurance fraud which can further complicate the situation for you. Be careful when it comes to dealing with an insurance adjuster.
It’s also important to document your injuries and expenses so you can determine the best amount to demand from the other side. That way, you can focus on getting the compensation you need no matter how hard the adjuster will try to settle your claims with a lower amount. Still, it’s best not to deal with them directly and have your lawyer talk to them.
- Accept or reject the offer
For many car accidents that result in minor injuries and damages, claims can be settled in a matter of weeks. Most drivers would rather accept any offer the insurer places thinking that it would cost them more if they allow the situation to drag on.
In more serious cases where injuries and damages have a lasting impact, drivers have the right to reject any monetary offer if they feel that the amount doesn’t cover the hardship they had to go through. If you were involved in a life-threatening situation that disabled or traumatized you as a result of the other driver’s recklessness or negligence, filing suit would be the best course of action to take.
Filing Suit: How to Come Out Winning
If you were involved in a car accident that caused severe physical, emotional, and financial damages, you might as well file suit so you can get the most out of the situation. In case you have a solid foundation for starting legal action or your future is at stake, here are a few tips you need to check out:
- Be cautious and rational
Before you even decide to get an attorney, make sure you are not giving away too much information to anyone, especially if the adjuster asks for your consent to a recording. It’s also important to review any document they want you to sign.
- Find a local car accident attorney
The first thing you need to do is to find a car accident lawyer with a background in the state where the accident happened. While any lawyer can handle car accident lawsuits, you need a professional who has an impressive track record in that field. It also matters to get someone who understands local laws whether you are in an At-Fault or No-Fault State. If you are in Nevada, you can check out Gina Corena & Associates which has experience in dealing with car accidents and liability issues in Las Vegas.
- Keep a low profile online
Throughout the lawsuit, you need to avoid doing anything that could have your lawsuit dismissed. In this case, it’s best not to post on Facebook or Twitter. The other side’s legal team could be stalking your social media profiles for photos and anything that could be used out of context to disprove the pain and suffering you have to go through. It would be best to lock your account up until the court issues its decision.
Car accidents can happen at any time and any place, so it’s important to be prepared in case you get involved in one. Use this guide to help you secure yourself in the aftermath of an accident.