If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is normal to feel frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed. While car accidents remain far too common — the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reports that approximately 50,000 people are injured in crashes in our state each year — the claims process is notoriously complex.
You need to know what steps to take to obtain financial compensation to pay your medical bills and to provide financial security to your family. Hiring a Seattle car accident lawyer who can protect your rights is crucial if you have suffered a significant injury. Here, our legal team highlights some tips you should keep in mind to help you maximize your car accident injury settlement offer.
Five Important Tips for Settling Your Auto Accident Injury Claims
- Focus On Your Medical Needs First
Your medical needs always come first. You cannot begin to settle your car accident injury claim until you have received all necessary medical treatment. Therefore, you must prioritize your health by seeking medical treatment as soon as you have any symptoms.
Beyond ensuring that you get the appropriate care, it is also crucial that your medical treatment is properly documented with medical records and bills. With well-organized medical records, it will be far easier to get a full settlement offer from the insurance company. It is strongly recommended that you get a personal injury lawyer by your side who can connect you with the right physicians and specialists and can make sure that your claim is carefully documented.
- Get Organized — Secure All Relevant Evidence
All car accident injury claims revolve around two key points: you must prove liability and you must establish your damages. In both instances, strong supporting evidence is required. One of the keys to getting a fair settlement offer from the insurance company is effectively preparing and presenting your claim. You need compelling evidence that proves that another driver (or other defendant) is at fault for your accident and you need compelling evidence that demonstrates the full value of your damages. An experienced Washington auto accident lawyer will be able to investigate and document your claim.
- Do Not Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
After a serious accident, opposing insurance companies often try to make quick contact with injured victims. In fact, you may even receive a call from another driver’s insurance company a few days after the crash — well before you have had a chance to truly recover from the initial shock of the accident. During this call, claims managers usually ask to take a recorded statement regarding your accident. You are not required to give a statement. Quite the contrary: you should not give such a statement. It is not in your best interest to do so. The insurance adjuster on the other end of the line is looking for information that they can use against you to reduce the value of your claim. They are not on your side. When dealing with an insurance company, you should always work through a lawyer.
- Know the Value of Your Injury Claim
You cannot get a fair settlement offer if you do not know the value of your claim. How much is your car accident injury claim actually worth? It is not an easy question to answer. You should be offered financial relief for the fair market value of your damages. This could include compensation for:
- Property damage;
- Medical bills;
- Ongoing medical care;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disfigurement; and
- Long-term disability.
To get a maximum recovery, you should seek representation from a skilled car accident lawyer who can help you value your claim and effectively negotiate with the insurance company.
- Work With a Seattle Personal Injury Attorney
Perhaps the most important tip of all: You should hire a car accident attorney in Seattle. If you suffered a serious injury, have high medical bills, were forced to miss time at work, or are not being treated fairly by the insurance company, you need professional legal support. Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely offer victims fair settlement offers. Injured victims need a strong legal advocate who can hold negligent defendants and their insurers accountable.
At The Walthew Law Firm, our local attorneys have more than eight decades of experience providing top legal representation to accident victims in Washington. If you or your family member was injured in a traffic accident, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free, no obligation legal consultation. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights.