Many people do not want to hire an attorney to help them after a serious car accident. Some may want to minimize legal costs or feel that you can best handle the claim on your own.
If you choose to represent yourself with a car accident injury claim, follow these tips.
Did you have a relatively minor car accident and feel that you may move forward without having to worry about hiring a lawyer? You may not need a lawyer if:
There are several instances when you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.
Sometimes, you may know that you need an attorney immediately. Other times, you may discover that you need more assistance than expected as you pursue your claim.
Ideally, you should get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible to maximize the benefit of working with an attorney. You should call in a car accident lawyer when:
If you plan to handle your car accident claim on your own, make sure that you take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident, and any injuries you suffered ahead of time. Having photo evidence can help validate and prove your case.
Adjusters will need evidence to evaluate your case before any settlement discussions take place. Typically, a car accident victim should furnish the adjuster for the negligent person the following:
Only after an adjuster is certain of liability and has a handle on your damages will an offer be extended. Negotiation is often stalled simply because the adjuster has not interviewed their insured. It can be very frustrating to the victim, but in Texas, the other person’s insurance company owes you no duty.
So do not expect the adjuster to care about the delay’s inconvenience. You may need to obtain a rental car or other transportation on your own in the event of a delay.
In order to negotiate a car accident claim on your own, you need to have a good idea of how much compensation you should expect. With car accident claims, damages break down into two key types.
Special damages include all the damages you can calculate directly. They have a specific monetary value, usually based on financial losses you have faced after the accident. These include:
General damages are damages that you might not have the ability to calculate directly. General damages, also known as “pain and suffering,” include the non-financial losses and suffering you faced due to your accident and your injuries.
General damages may include physical pain, emotional anguish, or general losses caused by the crash, including factors like the loss of enjoyment of life or the loss of specific, anticipated activities you expected to enjoy.
Usually, general damages are based on a percentage of your special damages, usually based on the medical costs associated with your claim. The more you suffered as a result of your accident and the more severe the injuries, the more you may need to claim for compensation.
As part of your initial demand, you should calculate all of your medical costs, all your financial losses, and the pain and suffering associated with your accident. Keep in mind that, baring special circumstances, the insurance company will offer you less than you asked for initially. Settlements must be fair to both sides to work.
If you ask for too little, you will have left bread on the table. However, if you ask for an amount that is clearly outside the norm, the negotiations will stall after their expected lowball offer as they feel they are wasting their time trying to settle with you.
Ready to start negotiating? Keep these tips in mind.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a Houston accident? If you want to maximize the compensation you can recover for your damages, contact our award-winning Texas truck wreck law firm in Houston for a consultation on your rights and options.