An auto accident isn't just irritating, it can also be traumatic and devastating, especially if you are left with severe injuries. If you've been injured in an auto accident, you may be eligible for a settlement, which can be used to pay your medical bills, lost income and other costs associated with the accident. Before you start pursuing a settlement, however, check out these four tips.
Determine If You Were Partially Responsible
In many cases, it's easy to determine who caused the accident. For example, a driver, distracted by their phone, rams into your car as they switch lanes may be fully responsible for the accident. However, if the car only cuts you off, the courts or insurance carrier may argue you had time to avoid the accident if you had been driving defensively. This can affect your settlement in two ways. If your state laws support contributory negligence, you get no settlement if you are partially responsible. If your state, like most, follow comparative negligence, you'll still get a settlement if you are partially responsible, but your settlement is reduced. Typically, however, if you are more than half responsible, you get nothing.
Hire an Attorney to Speak on Your Behalf
Regardless of whether you believe you were partially responsible, it's a good idea to hire an attorney. An attorney will speak on your behalf, which ensures you don't compromise the claim, lawsuit or settlement by saying something erroneous or something that can be used to discredit you. You have to report the accident to your insurance carrier, and both carriers will want to get your version of the story, but with an attorney, they'll relay your version for you. At the same time, they have the experience needed to negotiate for you, demanding the settlement offer you deserve.
Determine the Long-Term Extend of Your Injuries
Car accidents can cause many types of injuries, including hard and soft tissues injuries as well as short-term and long-term injuries or disabilities. While it's usually easy to spot the short-term effects of car accidents, such as a broken bone, it isn't easy to predict the long-term effects, such as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering refer to long-term physical and/or mental changes due to the accident. A perfect example of both physical and mental pain and suffering could be a scar you receive from the accident. It physically alters your appearance, which may be permanent, but it also may affect your mental state (depression about how you look or anxiety about the scar being seen). If you and your doctor believe you have pain and suffering, you should get an attorney immediately.
Keep Your Private Life Private
The last tip is to make sure you keep your private life private. This is especially true if you are seeking a large settlement for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are often difficult to prove because it is different for everyone. For this reason, it makes you an easy target if the insurance carrier doesn't want to pay your claim. They may send their team of investigators to find anything they can use to discredit you. This is why it is incredibly important to avoid talking about the accident or your life in public or with people you don't know. This includes posting status updates, photos, videos, etc. on social media. This can all be used to prove your pain and suffering isn't real.
Auto accidents are stressful, and it doesn't end after you leave the scene. Dealing with doctors, injuries, pain, and insurance carriers can make you want to rush the process, but that may result in an unfair settlement. Instead of fighting alone, hire an accident attorney to get you the settlement you deserve. For more information about accident claims, lawsuits, and settlements, contact an auto accident attorney in your area today.