Car accidents can happen for many reasons, like distracted driving, drunk driving, defective parts, speeding, etc. One common factor among these reasons is negligence. Someone failed to honor their duty of care.
Negligence has become very common over the years, resulting in a high number of car accidents in the US. In fact, the US sees over 2 million car accidents every year. 42,915 fatal accidents occurred just in 2021. The issue has gone too far, and it is every citizen’s duty to help control it.
Taking legal action and holding the responsible party accountable for their actions is a great way to control negligence and car accidents. As a victim of a car accident, you are legally allowed to file a claim and seek compensation for your losses from the at-fault party. Doing so can be a good lesson for the at-fault party.
You can claim two types of compensatory damages through a car accident claim, which are:
- Economic Damages
- Non-Economic Damages
There is one more type of damage you can claim, which is non-compensatory damage—punitive damages. This type of damage is awarded to punish the at-fault party rather than to compensate the victim.
How to Recover the Losses Incurred in a Car Accident:
Recovering losses from a car accident is not a simple task. Insurance companies make it way more complex than it actually is. In simple words, insurance companies don’t want to pay you. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you recover all your losses. Following are some of the steps you need to take to recover your losses:
- File a Police Report
- Call Your Insurance Agency
- Speak with a Lawyer
- Calculate Your Losses
- Draft a Demand Letter
- Negotiate with the Insurance Company
- Go to Court
File a Police Report
Filing a police report following a car accident is crucial. A police report consists of important information like the time and location of the accident, witness statements, statements of the involved parties, etc. This information can be very helpful when claiming compensation.
Call Your Insurance Agency
Next up, you need to call your insurance company and tell them what happened. Be prepared to answer all their questions. They will want to know the following things:
- The time and location of the accident
- Insurance and contact information of all the involved parties
- Photos and videos of the damage to the car
- Copies of the police report
Keep all the documents ready before calling them.
Speak with a Lawyer
As said, insurance companies will not easily agree to pay the settlement. And they will actively try to lower your settlement. You have to force them to pay. A lawyer can do that. A car accident lawyer can protect you from insurance companies’ cheap strategies and get you the compensation you deserve.
Calculate Your Losses
The most important step in a personal injury claim is calculating the losses you have incurred due to the car accident. You need to know how much you have lost to claim that. Claiming too little can hurt you in the long run. So sit down with your lawyer and discuss your losses, like medical bills, property damage, lost wages, non-economic losses, etc.
Draft a Demand Letter
Now that you have calculated the losses, you can start working on drafting a demand letter. A demand letter is an official request for compensation that will be sent to the insurance company. Do not be worried if the insurance company denies your request. It is common. It is one of their strategies to lower your compensation.
Negotiate with the Insurance Company
This is the really hard part. After seeing your demand letter, the insurance company will tell you what they think is a fair settlement. It will be lower than your losses. Start negotiating with them. Present the evidence and witness statements you have collected to make them agree to your terms.
Go to Court
Finally, if the insurance company is refusing to agree on a favorable settlement, take your case to court. Very few cases go to court. A court process is a long and tiring one. Only do it if the lawyer thinks it is worth it to go to court. Going to court can get you more compensation than you would get from an out-of-court settlement.
Personal injury law is a tool that victims can use to seek compensation for the losses they have incurred. But remember, insurance companies will try to lower your settlement by any means possible. So hire a lawyer to protect yourself from insurance companies and obtain fair compensation.