The first part of your car accident case is proving that another driver should be held legally responsible for your injuries. There are some instances where the liability for the accident is clear. When that happens, the insurance company will fight you on another front; they will do everything in their power to keep from paying you the money that you legally deserve.
You may be forced to deal with a succession of low settlement offers. The attorneys at Horton & Mendez can fight for you to pursue the highest possible car accident settlement.
The Responsible Party Must Compensate You in Full
No matter how serious your car accident injuries are, the principle behind your compensation is always the same. You must be paid for the total amount of damages that you have suffered, regardless of how much they are.
Each car accident victim may suffer a different amount of damage, depending on their own personal situation. For example, a 25-year-old who works and enjoys an active lifestyle may experience different effects from a car accident than a 70-year-old retiree.
Your Damages in a Car Accident Claim
Every claimant is entitled to the same categories of damages from your car accident, even though the amount of money may differ. You can receive the following broad categories of damages in a car accident claim:
- Economic damages compensate you for the money you had to spend on account of your injuries or can not earn because you were unable to work.
- Non-economic damages pay you for what you must live with because of the accident, including your pain and suffering and the loss of the life you enjoyed before the accident.
If you are looking for punitive damages, know that they are rare in a car accident case and typically limited to situations involving driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol.
The Insurance Company Knows What Your Claim Is Worth, and You Should Too
Once you file a claim, the insurance company will quickly know how much it is worth. Anything that they can pay you below the value of your claim will help their financial cause, and their goal will be to give you less. If they choose to make you a settlement offer, they will begin with a very low amount.
To protect yourself, you need to have similar knowledge of the value of your claim. Too often, claimants try to file their claims on their own, thinking that they can save money. These claimants may not even know what pain and suffering is, let alone how to calculate it.
Not knowing how much your claim is worth will instantly put you at a disadvantage to the insurance company. You may end up accepting less than you deserve because you did not know what you could get in the first place.
Hire an Attorney to Get the Most Money
Your best way to protect your legal right to full compensation is to hire a car accident attorney. Chances are that you will do better in a settlement with legal representation, even after paying a percentage to the lawyer, than you will on your own. The insurance company does not want you to get a lawyer because they know this fact well.
Your attorney will stand up for your legal rights because they know that a settlement is a negotiation. You do not need to take what you are given by an insurance company — you sit across the table from them, as opposed to under them.
The best way to preserve your legal rights is to say no to a settlement offer that does not fairly pay you. If you reject a settlement offer, your legal rights do not go away. You still have the right to financial compensation based on the other driver’s actions. Instead, it means that the insurance company will need to try harder to reach a settlement if it wants to avoid being taken to court.
Keep the Pressure on the Insurance Company
The threat of litigation is your most significant piece of ammunition. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer is still paid on a contingency basis (although they will get a slightly higher percentage of your recovery). The insurance company needs to pay for a defense attorney or use the resources of someone on their staff.
Either way, a trial will cost them money. The insurance company also knows that a jury is completely unpredictable, while settling the claim at least reduces their risk and takes the chance of a runaway verdict off the table.
Therefore, you have the ability to hold out for an offer that is more realistic and pays you what you deserve. If the settlement offer is low, you can counter with your own demand. Chances are that you and the insurance company will eventually meet in the middle and avoid a trial.
Contact a Wilmington Car Accident Lawyer Today
At Horton Mendez, fighting for our clients to receive full financial compensation is what we do for every client. We know the tricks that insurance companies play and how to stand up for you. Without an attorney, you may leave a significant amount of money on the table.
Car Accident Case FAQs
How do I put myself in a position for financial compensation?
You must prove that the driver of the other car acted unreasonably under the circumstances by gathering evidence that shows what happened.
What if I am not satisfied with the settlement offers that I am getting?
You can always take your case to trial and let the jury decide how much money you get if you win.
When should I call a car accident attorney?
Preferably as close to your accident as possible. If you cannot make the call, have a family member do it for you.