Car accidents suck.
Even if no-one gets hurt, your vehicle can get badly damaged. And sometimes the costs can be horrendous.
So it’s only natural to want to find out how to go about getting yourself some financial compensation. And the more the better.
And the good news is that you don’t need to get a lawyer involved - which means you can save a lot of money by not having to pay any lawyer’s fees.
In this article, we’re going to take you step by step through the process of getting financial compensation for a car accident without a lawyer, and we’ll try to cover a few other relevant matters besides.
So, without further ado...
Should I get legal representation to settle my car accident claim?
Our advice to you on this is that you should think carefully about whether you want to use a lawyer, or whether you should go it alone. There are pros and cons to each option.
An insurance adjuster often has years, or sometimes decades of experience handling such claims on a very regular basis. And through this, they’ve learned to really know what they’re doing.
But, as we mentioned in our introduction, there’s the cost of the lawyer’s fees. Now, with some lawyers, there’s sometimes a “No win, no fee” deal. And that’s great if you’re sure to win, but if there’s an element of doubt, then it’s not risk-free.
What we suggest on this issue is to try to make a judgment call on a common-sense based approach.
What we mean by this is that if the other driver is clearly the one at fault, and you can expect a big payout from car damage, hospital bills and loss of earnings, etc, then maybe you can afford to pay a lawyer’s fee.
If however, the car damage was minimal and you only missed half a day’s work, then the amount that you win in a claim may barely cover the legal fees.
Steps to Settling Your Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer
Before we get into the procedure, we first need to bring your attention to 2 very important matters.
Important things to note:
1) You need to find out the deadline for how long you have to settle your claim. This is referred to as the Statute of Limitations.
In Texas, for example, you have up to two years from the date of the crash. This however can vary from state to state - please do your homework on the laws for your particular area.
2) You also need to follow your treatment recommendations to the letter, even if you start to feel better.
This is because the other side’s insurance company adjuster can devalue or even deny your claim completely if you don’t comply with your set treatment.
3) If you have any outstanding medical bills, then your health insurance company (assuming you have one) will claim their right to be paid when your claim comes through.
4) You should wait until you are fully recovered before you make your compensation claim.
This is because, when you sign your settlement agreement and release your claim, you will not be able to claim money for any further medical treatment.
Gathering Relevant Information
The first step is to gather all of the relevant, applicable information (evidence). And this data is as follows:
- The accident report, from the police department
- Your medical records, including ambulance service
- Lost wages data, even if you took vacation days
- Photos of damaged vehicles, to show the severity of the accident
- Photos of any resulting injuries, especially scarring or disfigurement
- Evidence of health insurance payments, just ask for a written statement
Photos of damage, whether of a vehicle or of your person, can make for very compelling evidence.
And when it comes to actual figures, you need the evidence written in black and white to prove that these amounts are indeed the actual amounts of monies paid and that they are not in any way falsified or made up.
Making a Settlement
There are two routes you can go down.
You can add up the financial impact that the car accident has had on you, and demand to be paid that amount.
Or, you can be more diplomatic and ask for an offer.
If you feel particularly hard done by from the whole ordeal, you may well feel like you want to make demands. However, we would argue that being as diplomatic as possible, however overwhelming the evidence in your favor, could be the key to an amicable arrangement.
Accepting an Offer
If you are presented with an offer that you are happy to accept (or if the other side’s insurance adjuster has accepted your request) then you will be asked to sign a release.
Once you have signed this release, this signals that you have accepted the offer. And at this point, you cannot ever bring another claim against the same driver. And unfortunately, this is the case even if you require further medical treatment after this point.
So, to sum up, you should think carefully first about whether you want to use a lawyer.
If you do decide to go in on your own, ensure that you gather as much evidence as possible to back up your claim. And despite having to work to a deadline (which you’ll need to check) you also have to be thorough to get the best possible evaluation for your claim.
Remember that you will have to pay back any monies owed (e.g. to your health insurance provider). And you should bear this in mind when you put forward your claim and consider an offer.
We recommend that you keep a copy of this article at hand as you work through your compensation claim so that you don’t miss any of the important points raised as you fight to have the money you are rightly owed.
Good luck and best wishes.
Thank you for visiting. This website is for informational purposes only. None of the information provided is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute, legal advice, and none of the information necessarily reflects the opinions of Misty Rock Capital LLC dba whocanisue.com or anyone associated, employed or affiliated with Misty Rock Capital LLC dba whocanisue.com.