Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement
In Texas, thousands of people suffer injuries in car accidents each year. Since the state follows a fault insurance system, these victims have the right to collect compensation for their injuries if another driver is responsible for the accident. To secure this compensation, however, these victims will likely need to negotiate with an insurance adjuster.
This negotiation process can be tricky. If you are filing an insurance claim, you will need to be careful when speaking to the adjuster and listen to the advice of your McAllen car accident attorney. Certain mistakes can impact your ability to secure the compensation you need.
Should You Speak to the Insurance Adjuster?
You should not speak to an insurance adjuster, at least not before you speak to your lawyer. When an insurance representative calls you after the accident, he or she will take careful notes on every statement you make. If you make a statement about your injuries or how the accident occurred and later find out new information that changes your story, the adjuster can use this information against you.
Inconsistent and incorrect statements can harm your claim, so it is very important to listen to your lawyer’s advice about speaking with the adjuster. He or she will likely handle these conversations so you can avoid these issues as your case proceeds.
Should You Accept an Initial Settlement Offer?
One of the biggest mistakes car accident victims make is accepting the first offer that the insurance company offers. It is important to remember that it is not in the company’s best interests to provide maximum compensation. The company is responsible for paying your claim and is not likely to offer the highest settlement at this stage. The initial offer may be much lower than what your case is actually worth.
You should also avoid accepting the initial offer because you may not have an accurate picture of your damages. In the days or weeks after your accident, you may not know the full extent of your injuries, your long-term complications and care costs, and other damages, such as lost wages or property damage. It is better to calculate your damages first and use this calculation to evaluate any offers you receive.
How Can an Attorney Help with Your Car Accident Claim?
If you have to file an insurance claim, hiring a personal injury lawyer in McAllen can provide several benefits throughout this process. Car accident attorneys have significant experience negotiating with insurance companies and understand the tactics adjusters use to protect the companies’ bottom lines. Your lawyer will handle communications with the insurance adjuster, negotiating for a higher settlement if necessary and advocating for your maximum possible compensation during each stage of the case.
Your attorney will also be able to calculate your estimated settlement, enlisting the help of experts, such as life care planners, to gain an accurate understanding of your long-term needs. He or she will also be able to assist you with all paperwork related to your case, allowing you to focus on recovery. Additional benefits an attorney may provide include the following.
- Identifying if an insurance adjuster is acting in bad faith
- Appealing your decision if the company denies it
- Organizing and collecting evidence, such as medical records and bills
- Escalating your claim to a lawsuit if necessary
As soon as you receive medical attention after your accident, contact a Texas car accident lawyer. At your consultation, your attorney will evaluate your claim and explain your pathway to maximum compensation.