A Guide to the Car Accident Settlement Process
Every year, there are between 20 and 50 million people injured in car accidents that take place all throughout the world. In California alone, tens of thousands of people are injured in car crashes annually.
If you’re ever hurt in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you will want to look into filing a claim. A good car accident attorney in Fullerton, CA will be able to help you get your hands on the compensation you deserve.
But before you get started, you should learn about the car accident settlement process. It’ll put you in the perfect position to earn yourself a car accident settlement when everything is all said and done.
We’ve attempted to make it easier for you to understand this process by putting together a guide to car accident settlements. Discover more about each of the steps involved in this process below.
Start by Making Sure You Report a Car Accident to the Police
When you first get into a car accident, you might be shaken up by what happened. It’s usually going to take you some time to process what happened.
But once you’re able to make sense of the situation, you should get the car accident settlement process underway by reporting your accident to the local police.
The local police will show up on the scene of your car accident and create a report based on everything from physical evidence to eyewitness statements. This report is going to be extremely important for those who look to take legal action following a car accident. You will need to secure a copy of it so that you know who the police say was in the wrong during your accident.
You should also think about snapping some of your own photos and videos so that you can utilize them later if you need to. You will want to take pictures of the damage done to your own car during an accident as well as damage done to other vehicles and objects.
Seek Medical Attention for Car Accident Injuries
There are so many injuries that you might sustain during a car crash. You can suffer everything from broken bones to whiplash.
It’s why it’s very important for you to seek medical attention following a car accident. You’ll be able to get checked out from head to toe so that you can get an official diagnosis for any car accident injuries you may have sustained.
If you don’t have a doctor evaluate you after a car accident, it could end up delaying the recovery process for you. It could also hurt your chances of filing a successful car accident case and prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve in the form of a settlement.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney to Represent You
After you’re done providing the local police with the information that they need in the aftermath of your car accident and getting medical attention, you might be tempted to pick up the phone and call your auto insurance company right away. But you should hold off on doing that for the time being.
Instead, you should also get a good car accident attorney on the phone and ask them to represent you. A good car accident attorney will be able to walk you through the car accident settlement process from beginning to end. They’ll also be able to help you handle telling your auto insurance company about your accident.
File a Car Accident Claim Through Your Auto Insurance Company
Once you’ve hired a lawyer to help you with your car accident case, you can contact your auto insurance company to tell them about your accident. They’ll listen to your side of the story and prepare to conduct an investigation of their own into what happened.
If you believe that someone else was to blame for your accident, they’ll figure out which auto insurance company they use and get in touch with them. It’s likely going to be this insurance company that you and your lawyer will be negotiating with when it comes to a car accident settlement.
Provide Auto Insurance Companies With Important Information
There is a wide range of important information that you’re going to have to provide for both your auto insurance company and the other auto insurance company that will be involved in your car accident claim.
This information will include:
- A police report stemming from your car accident
- Medical records that indicate which injuries you sustained during a car accident
- Medical bills that show how much car accident injuries cost you
- Auto repair bills that highlight how much it cost you to have your vehicle repaired following a car accident
- Any photos and videos you took after your car crash
Your car accident attorney can advise you as to what information you can send to the auto insurance companies that are investigating your claim.
Work With Your Car Accident Attorney to Negotiate With Auto Insurance Companies
In addition to sending the auto insurance companies involved in your case all the information we just mentioned, you’ll also need to work with your car accident attorney to draft a demand letter. This draft letter will need to:
- Clearly state your car accident claim
- Talk about the injuries you sustained during a car crash and how they impacted you financially (medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, etc.)
- Reveal how much you would like to collect from auto insurance companies to cover your claim
If you want auto insurance companies to take your demand letter seriously, you should have a great car accident lawyer write it. They’re going to be more likely to try to come to a car accident settlement with you when you take this approach.
They’re also going to be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf if they aren’t able to successfully iron out a settlement for you.
Let Your Car Accident Attorney Begin the Discovery Phase
If your car accident isn’t able to get an auto insurance company to agree to a settlement, you’ll need to start working your way toward taking your case to court. For this to happen, your attorney will need to go through the discovery phase.
The discovery phase will involve your car accident attorney beginning to lay out a case for you. They’ll launch their own investigation into your accident through the use of documents, interrogations, etc.
Allow Your Car Accident Attorney to Explore the Mediation Process
Your car accident attorney will be well on their way to taking your car to trial at this point. But that doesn’t mean a car accident settlement won’t still be a possibility.
Your lawyer may want to give the mediation process a try. It’ll involve having a neutral third party evaluate your case in the hopes of eventually hammering out a settlement.
In a perfect world, a mediator will be able to get you and an auto insurance company on the same page so that you can reach an agreement. It’ll be a best-case scenario before your case heads to trial.
A Good Lawyer Can Make the Car Accident Settlement Process Less Stressful
Reaching a car accident settlement with an auto insurance company can be a tall task. Many car insurance companies will do whatever it takes to avoid sending money in your direction.
But you can increase your chances of agreeing to a car accident settlement by taking the steps laid out here. It’ll all begin with you bringing a fantastic car accident lawyer on board to handle your case.
Contact us now to get help from one of our experienced car crash lawyers.