Victims of serious auto accidents should be fully compensated for their injuries under the law. Unfortunately, insurance companies and defense attorneys take every possible measure to under value auto accident settlements. Even when it’s a serious or life-altering injury.
At Lehmbecker Law, we know firsthand just how much serious injuries can truly cost a person and their loved ones. We work with our clients to help them secure the largest recovery possible. Decades of experience seeking compensation for our clients’ injuries has helped us identify these five key tips for negotiating and receiving the best results.
1. Don’t be in a hurry.
Some insurance adjusters may immediately offer an auto accident settlement right after your injury. However, the full extent of your injuries and losses may not be known for several months. Therefore, it’s not advisable to settle your claim until you are certain that you know what the future holds for your recovery.
2. Don’t accept first offers.
Insurance adjusters usually offer auto accident settlements that are much less than the fair value of a claim. They know most people don’t know how to value a personal injury claim. Arriving at a fair settlement usually requires a negotiation process. Both sides must provide the reasoning behind their proposed settlement values and amounts. Sometimes an insurance adjuster will make a low ball offer and simply refuse to increase it short of facing a lawsuit. Always seek the advice of an attorney before accepting any final offers. Our attorneys can tell you whether an offer is reasonable, and whether your case is one in which it makes sense to file a lawsuit.
3. Make sure you have good documentation of life impacts and any economic losses, like lost wages or out-of-pocket expenses.
Insurance companies will never take your word for any aspect of your claim. You must have contemporaneous documentation. Your pain and suffering and the impact on your quality of life are often the biggest part of your claim. Pain and suffering entitles you to substantial compensation.
Therefore, it’s wise to keep a calendar or a daily diary to record how you feel after your injury. Make notes of any missed activities or work.
If you do miss any work, make sure your physician provides you a note to document that you are certifiably unable to perform your job. You also need to keep receipts of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as prescriptions, housekeeping or yard work assistance. Your insurance demand will include all of this information.
4. Always promptly follow through with medical treatment recommendations.
In personal injury law, you have a duty to “mitigate your damages.” This means that you must take reasonable action to minimize the effects and losses from your injury.
If you fail to promptly follow through with recommended medical treatment, the insurance company may claim that you made your injuries worse by failing to follow your doctor’s recommendations.
On the other hand, you may feel a treatment has been recommended by your doctor but it just doesn’t make sense for you. (Or you’ve been trying a treatment and it isn’t helping.) In this case, it may be appropriate for you to turn it down. However, it’s important for your physician to document your choice as reasonable. Be sure to confirm a note is made in your medical record/chart explaining your decision.
5. Hire an attorney early.
As you can see from this article, there is a lot that goes into making sure you get the best recovery in a personal injury claim. Theoretically you can process and negotiate a personal injury claim on your own. However, it’s demainding to try to keep track of all the things that need to be documented and addressed. Most people are better off with professional help.
Also, without an experienced attorney on your side, an insurance company may never take you seriously enough to make a fair settlement offer. Even if you do a good job of documenting your claim.
In order to increase the odds of receiving the largest settlement possible, contact Lehmbecker Law as soon after sustaining an injury as possible to begin building your claim. We will identify and gather all the appropriate evidence for your claim to secure you the best possible compensation.