How can you make sure insurance pays completely for your auto accident?
In order to make sure the insurance company completely pays for your auto accident, there are five important steps to follow.
- Gather and keep as much information about your case as you can. If you can, take pictures of the scene of the accident, your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, the damage to the other vehicle, skid marks, and anything else you think might be important. Later, keep all your doctors’ bills, estimates for car repairs, and other paperwork related to your accident organized so it’s easy to keep track of your expenses.
- Have the emergency medics examine you. Then, go to the hospital and have the ER doctor examine you. This way, if you have any sort of injury (even if it’s internal and you don’t notice any effects from it yet), the doctor can make a note and start the appropriate treatment. This is extremely important. After your accident, you may feel fine. You might be tempted to forgo an examination or trip to the hospital. However, it’s very important for you to receive complete medical care to ensure you don’t have a serious injury.
- Don’t talk to anyone about your case, especially anyone from the insurance company. You know the saying, “Loose lips sink ships?” The same is true when you speak about your auto accident. Don’t speak to anyone who is an employee or representative for either of the insurance companies involved in your accident. Don’t post about your accident on social media. Keep your lips shut and let your lawyer speak on your behalf.
- Don’t accept any offers or checks from the insurance company. If the insurance company is offering you a check or trying to negotiate a settlement, that’s a good sign that they think you have a good case. And, although the idea of receiving a fat check right now might sound good, think about their motives. If they’re offering you a check, they’re guessing the amount you really should receive would be a good deal higher than that amount.
- Be able to prove you’re not at fault for the accident. Maybe you just read that and thought, “Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?”. Well, when it comes to auto accidents, it doesn’t work that way. In an accident, you have as much responsibility to prove that you weren’t at fault as you do to prove that the other party is.
Who is at fault in your California auto accident?
Establishing who was at fault for your auto accident can be a little complicated. Essentially, it all boils down to negligence. Negligence is the idea that you should have been paying attention, following the laws, and looking out for others—but, you weren’t.
Negligence can include:
- Texting while driving
- Running a stop sign or red light
- Failure to yield
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
What are the damages from your auto accident?
Your damages from your auto accident will include several items. You probably already know to include repair or replacement estimates for your car and any medical bills you might have accumulated already. (Remember to include the bills for your medical exam at the scene of the accident as well as the bills for treatment or examination at the hospital.)
However, damages can also include estimates to cover:
- Future medical treatment
- Physical, occupational, or psychiatric therapy
- Medicine and medical supplies
- Loss of income from not being able to work
- Loss of future income (if your injury prevents you from working in the future)
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for scars, disfigurement, or loss of a limb
- Loss of consortium for a partner or spouse
As an average person who’s just been in a car accident, you might be wondering, “How in the heck do I know how much my future medical bills are going to cost? I’m not psychic!” The truth is, although you may not know how much that costs, an experienced auto accident attorney will. He or she will have had a case like yours before or will have helped clients with injuries similar to yours. A qualified attorney will know just how much you should ask for to make sure all of your current and future bills from this accident are covered.
Why should a lawyer handle my California auto accident case?
After your accident, you might wonder, “Can’t I just represent myself?” Yes, technically you could, but you won’t get nearly as good of an outcome as if you had an experienced auto accident attorney representing you. Here’s why.
Right now, the insurance company of the person who hurt you is doing their very best to minimize (and maybe even eliminate) what they’ll pay for the accident. In fact, they have a team of lawyers dedicated to ensuring you don’t see a dime of their company’s money.
Maybe you’re hung up on having to pay a percentage of your settlement to a lawyer. After all, you were the one who was injured, not your lawyer. Shouldn’t you be able to keep all that money? Well, here’s the thing: Let’s say you represent yourself and receive a few thousand dollars in your settlement. Without a lawyer, that would be all yours.
But, if you have an experienced lawyer represent you, you could finish with a settlement for a hundred thousand dollars. Even if you paid thirty percent to your lawyer, that would still leave you with $70,000. That looks a whole lot better than if you represented yourself and just received a few thousand dollars, doesn’t it?
How do I choose an auto accident attorney in California?
When you’re shopping for the very best auto accident attorney in California, you want someone with enough experience to know exactly what kind of tricks the insurance company is going to try to pull to keep more money in their pockets. You want someone tenacious, someone who never accepts no for an answer and won’t stop fighting until you get what’s due to you. But, most importantly, you want someone who has already had success in the courtroom with a jury trial.
Think of what you want when you’re interviewing lawyers. After all, there are tons of personal injury lawyers out there. It’s important to ask quality questions when you’re hiring your lawyer in order to ensure you’re hiring the best person for the job.
Here are some important questions to ask when you first meet with a lawyer:
- Does the lawyer have experience with your type of auto accident?
- Does he or she have trial experience?
- How long does he or she think it will take to resolve your suit?
- How much money does the lawyer think you’ll get from your truck accident?
- How much is this going to cost?
- Do you have a sliding fee scale?
- Can we take the case costs “off the top”?
After you have your answers, you can review the answers to decide who will be the best auto accident attorney for you. (By the way, if anyone has a sliding fee scale or won’t take case costs “off the top,” cross them off your list.)
After reading all of this, you might be wondering why I would spend time telling you that there are tons of eligible lawyers waiting to help you out. Why would I tell you what to ask and how to decide who’s a good fit for you? Why wouldn’t I just say, “Hire us! We’re the right lawyers for your case!”?
Honestly, you should know that you have tons of options. Check out what the other personal injury lawyers have to offer. Then, when you’re done, I’m confident you’ll be certain we’re the right lawyers for you. Regardless of whether you choose to work with our firm or someone else, we wish you all the best in your auto accident case.