How To Settle A Car Accident Claim Without A Lawyer
Many victims learn how to settle a car accident claim without a Lawyer. Negotiating ones own auto accident settlement saves on legal fees and ensures you keep 100% of the compensation payout, just take steps to be adequately prepared for what can be a complex legal process.
Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer
Once you know the extent of the challenge it’s possible to create a plan to settle a car accident claim without a Lawyer or Auto Accident Attorney. In relatively minor cases where the other driver is at fault then it’s going to likely work out more cost effective to negotiate your own settlement, rather than paying 33% to the Attorney.
Generally accepted negotiating principles can be deployed to find a fair and just settlement to a minor car accident though remember, an auto insurance company is always looking to maximize its own profits as far as possible.
Maximize your compensation by negotiating your car accident claim directly with the insurance company. Insurance companies spend billions of dollars a year on car accident damage, but they work hard to hold onto every dollar. Insurance specialists want to handle accident damage quickly and for as little money as possible. You’ll need to negotiate hard with any insurance company and don’t feel rushed into accepting a ‘lowball’ offer.
Be Prepared to Play Hardball to Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer
Don’t make it easy for an insurance company to think you’re any less aggressive and knowledgeable if you are not a solicitor than you would be if represented by a car accident Lawyer. Even if you are confident about the injuries you have suffered and to what extent the treatment is appropriate and necessary, a seasoned insurance provider can try to undermine or devalue your claim by claiming certain legal grounds.
When To Consider Self-Representation to Settle a Car Crash Claim Without a LawyerHow Badly Were You Hurt
For a few minor cuts and bruises, a sore neck and the usual injuries that come with a small collision or fender bender then it’s generally accepted that you’ll want to at least consider settling your car accident claim without a Lawyer.
However, when losses become significant then the financial stakes are raised for all parties. The victim wants fair compensation and the defendant wants to minimize any compensation payout. And when proceedings get adversarial you want someone who has experience with hostile litigation. In the following instances its always advisable to contact an auto accident Attorney for a free consultation.
If you have:
received extensive medical treatment
had severe whiplash
experienced facial trauma
lost significant income
had an accident involving an Uber, Lyft or Rideshare driver
been hit by a drunk driver
experienced significant pain and suffering
been hit by an autonomous vehicle self driven vehicle
had broken ribs
been a passenger in a car accident
suffered in a high speed rear end collision
been hit by a truck
had PTSD symptoms
Then contact a specialist Auto Accident Attorney near you rather than try to settle a car accident claim without a Lawyer.
Is it clear that the other party was at fault?
Be prepared to expect more of a fight if its not crystal clear the other party is at fault. Indeed, the defense may even start to say that you were driving without due care and attention, that you were on your phone, or that you could have avoided the car accident. When things get messy it’s always advisable to seek out the services of a good car accident Lawyer.
Tips to Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer
Make sure you’ve checked this list off before sending your first demand letter to the other party or their insurers.
• Take pictures of the accident scene and any injuries
• Get a copy of the police report
• Be sure to get all the medical treatment you need, and keep records
• Use Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance to settle immediate expenses, and then health insurance
• Do not make any statement to the other sides insurance company
• Research the statute of limitations for your claim
Estimating Your Damages Before Looking to Settle a Car Crash Claim Without a Lawyer
The two types of damages in car accident cases are Special Damages and General Damages. Special Damages are ones that can be exactly valued and calculated and General Damages are those which are open to argument and interpretation
• property damage (costs to fix or replace your car after an accident)
• Loss of earnings
• lost earning capacity
• medical bills
Property damage and medical bills are straightforward to calculate. Loss of earnings and lost earnings capacity can be more complex. For example, if you earn $100,000 per year and have missed one years work due to your injuries. Let’s also assume that you’re only able to return to work for 50% of the time.
Obviously you’ve lost $100,000 for your missed year, yet going forward you will continue to lose $50,000 a year for the rest of your working life. This is calculated at its base amount, and adjusted upwards to account for inflation, potential promotions and interest rates. The technical term for this is called the Net Present Value.
The main question is how to value pain and suffering when looking to settle a car accident claim without a Lawyer. Often you’ll hear Lawyers and Insurance Companies talk of multipliers and they’re referring to the practice of multiplying the special damages by a set multiplier to try and reach a figure for settlement of general damages.
Sending a Demand Letter to Settle a Car Crash Claim
Send a demand letter only once you’ve a clear idea as to what damages you’re seeking and be sure to include the following key points in your communication:
• explain exactly why the defendant is liable
• detail the nature and extent of your injuries and medical treatment
• give an overview of your financial losses
• include general losses, such as pain and suffering.
Don’t Accept the First Offer
In the heat of the moment it can be worrying to reject the first offer, especially if it seems reasonable. Don’t worry though, the offer won’t decrease and while an insurer may threaten that they want to take the claim to Court, chances are they’re bluffing. It’ll more likely be a ‘try on’.
If the other party or their insurer make a counter-offer do consider it because any Court case has inherent risks. If you still think it too low get prepared to file a lawsuit at your local Court using the appropriate forms which you can find here.