How Does the Legal Process Work for an Auto Accident Case?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, you have most likely experienced some significant out-of-pocket expenses from medical bills as well as lost wages from not being able to return to work during your recovery process. In addition to the financial strain a car accident causes, you may also experience pain and emotional suffering.

The legal process for a car accident settlement works on the following fundamental proposition: If you have suffered injury and inconvenience because someone else did not do what he or she was supposed to do (negligence), then you have the right to be put back into the same position in which you were before the car crash.

Experienced attorneys who regularly handle car crash injury claims know that every accident is different. You cannot simply take a one-size-fits-all approach. Auto accident lawyers need to dig deeper to find out why a collision happened and what legal options are available in your case.

This means you can expect an experienced auto accident attorney to:

  • Meet with you to learn more about your auto collision accident.
  • Listen to you explain in your own words what happened.
  • Explain the different legal options available.
  • Conduct an in-depth investigation.
  • Keep you informed about the progress of your case.

If an attorney tries to tell you what to do without knowing anything about your case, talk to another lawyer. Your best interests should always come first after your motor vehicle accident. Experienced Baltimore car accident attorneys know this and never take anything for granted.

Important to Remember!

An attorney has the experience and training necessary to speak to you about the legal process of a car crash claim. Our team of legal experts are prepared to get you the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. We ask nothing upfront and offer free consultations to look over your case. We take no fee unless you win.

The following 8 tips below will set you on the right path towards negotiating a fair auto injury settlement with the insurance company after a car accident.

1. Initiate a Claim as Soon as Possible After an Auto Accident Collision

Following a car accident, your first move should be to contact your insurance company immediately. It is important to open a claim as soon as possible after a car collision. Communicating all details about your car crash accurately is priority number one when talking with your insurance provider. Remember, the sooner you contact, the more accurate your recollection regarding the collision will be. 

If you are not able to immediately fill out a claim with your insurance carrier, try to write everything down. It is critical to note everything you remember about the accident. 

2. Keep Accurate Records About the Accident

In conjunction with step one, you should keep a file of records about your car accident that is organized chronologically. This file should include a police accident report if one exists, records or doctors’ visits and all medical treatment, bills for vehicle repairs, photographs of the claimed damages, and anything else relevant to your auto collision.

Keeping physical and digital records of everything listed above is also heavily recommended. You will rely on these documents often during negotiations, and having them readily available can help expedite the settlement process.

3. Calculate a Fair Settlement

Before you send a demand letter for settlement to your insurance company, you must determine what you believe your claim is worth. When arriving at a figure, you should take in account all the following:

  • The cost of your medical past, present and future expenses,
  • The amount of income you lost because of your injuries if you were unable to work,
  • Whether you are permanently disabled or will require long-term medical care,
  • Any pain and suffering you endured after the auto collision, and
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other property that was damaged in the auto wreck.

Based on this information, decided on a minimum settlement figure that you would be willing to accept. If you cannot determine a fair accident settlement, a top board-certified Baltimore lawyer may be able to help.

4. Send a Detailed Demand Letter to the Insurance Company

Once you calculate what you think your claim is worth, send a demand letter to the insurance company. Describe the car collision, your injuries, the medical treatment you received, any ongoing health issues you have, how badly your vehicle was damaged, and any other losses you incurred because of the auto accident. Then, tell the insurance company how much money you demand because of the circumstances. Because the insurance company will likely reply with an offer for an amount lower than what you had asked for in the demand letter, you should ask for between 25 and 100 percent more than what you would be willing to settle for.

This is where having an experienced legal expert in your corner can help during this critical step. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you draft a proper request and advise you going forward. Finding an attorney specifically experienced with car accidents can be extremely beneficial during this process.

It is important to remember that you must have evidence and documentation to back up everything in your demand letter. A lack of evidence can prevent you from getting the offer you deserve.

5. Do Not Accept the First Offer

There is one thing you must understand: The priority of the insurance company adjuster is to maximize profit, and they will therefore try to pay you as little as possible for your injury and property damage claim.

When the insurance adjuster makes an initial settlement offer, it will almost assuredly be too low. A first settlement offer that is unreasonably low might be a tactic by the insurance company to see if you know what your claim is worth. This is when having a car accident attorney or an experienced legal expert can come in handy.

An experienced car accident attorney can sit down with you to review the initial settlement offer, helping you to understand your next step. Odds are, the offer will be low as previously mentioned. A lawyer can communicate on your behalf, helping to negotiate a better settlement. It also sends a message to the insurance adjuster that you are taking this situation seriously.

After the initial settlement offer is received and reviewed with your legal counsel, ask the insurance adjuster to justify his or her low offer and give you specific reasons why your claim is so low. Respond to each of the points he or she makes in a reply letter explaining why you cannot accept the settlement offer. Do not propose a lower figure – wait to see if the insurance adjuster will increase their settlement offer.

If the first settlement offer is reasonable but still too low, you may want to counter with a somewhat lower amount than you had asked for in your demand letter. If you make a reasonable counter demand, the insurance company will be more willing to compromise.

6. Emphasize the Points in Your Favor

Before this can be, you will need to formulate a proper communication strategy with your legal expert. Your argument will need to be weighted in truth, so having evidence to support your points can be key if the insurance provider decides to be difficult.

When communicating with the insurance company, emphasize the strongest points in your favor. Do not waste time going over undisputed facts; focus on what is most important to you. If you suffered an injury that will require lifelong medical care, discuss how this will affect your quality of life and finances over time. If you missed a significant amount of work, reiterate the total amount of wages you lost and how missing work impacted your family. Make it clear to the insurance company that you must be compensated fairly for your injuries and other losses.

7. Get Everything in Writing

You or your accident lawyer should take detailed notes about all conversations with the insurance company. Ask that all settlement offers be presented to you in writing. If anything is discussed over the phone or in person, make sure a copy of the transcript is received by you and your legal counsel. If a transcript is not available. It is alright to ask for everything discussed during a meeting to be re-addressed in an email.

If you reach a settlement agreement, make sure that is it memorialized in a dated written contract that is signed by all parties to the agreement.

8. Know When to Hire an Attorney

If you fail to arrive at a fair settlement agreement after negotiating with an insurance company, you may need to hire a car accident attorney. An experienced accident lawyer can help you evaluate your situation and determine whether a lawsuit is necessary.

Why You Might Need to Hire an Auto Accident Attorney to Help Guide You Through the Legal Process

It is a common question after any type of auto accident – should you call a personal injury lawyer? The answer is almost always yes. Consultations are always free, and you have nothing to lose by discussing your rights as an accident victim. When it comes to car crash passengers who are injured in a car accident, it is highly important to discuss your legal options with an experienced attorney. Auto accidents can be complex matters involving several parties – the at fault driver, the insurance company, and any other drivers involved in the accident. As a passenger, if you know you were not at fault, you should seek assistance from a knowledgeable accident law firm to protect your best interests and provide advice on how you should proceed.

Many auto wreck car accident victims assume that filing a claim will involve adding up their medical bills and asking to be reimbursed by the insurance company. However, most victims who are not familiar with the legal process will far underestimate the value of their losses. Car accident damages can include so much more than medical bills you have already received. Damages may include:

  • All medical expenses – Medical costs can include more than bills from your doctor. They can include all physical therapy appointments, medications, emergency transportation, and more. If you need to rent crutches or a wheelchair, for example, you deserve to recoup those costs. You can also seek compensation for the mileage you drove to and from all your medical appointments. Finally, you cannot forget to consider whether you will need medical treatment in the future. Some serious injuries require ongoing care long after a claim is settled, and you will need to estimate the costs you may incur in the future for your treatment.
  • Lost income – Car crash injuries can impact your life in many ways, and one way is by keeping you from working for a period-of-time. Maybe your injuries require you to stay in the hospital or rest at home for days or weeks. Your injuries may also keep you from performing your basic job functions. In either case, you can lose a significant amount of income from missing work after an accident. If your car accident left you with long-term impairments, you may never be able to return to your same job, or your same level of income, again. Future lost earning power can also be calculated in the value of your claim.
  • Pain and suffering – This type of loss is intangible and more difficult to attach value to. Injuries can cause a substantial amount of physical pain for accident victims. Such pain can limit your activities, and even painkillers can have a serious effect on your everyday life and may even be dangerous. Dealing with pain and limitations from injuries can also affect your mental and emotional health. You can see compensation for the pain, suffering, lasting injuries, and loss of enjoyment of life that you suffered because of the crash.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt are ready and able to advise you on your legal rights and options.

Contact Us 24/7/365 for a Free Consultation

To have one of our experienced auto accident attorneys review your accident case and let you know how the legal process works, all you need to do is contact us to arrange a free consultation. You will not pay any fees unless we are able to successfully obtain compensation in your case, meaning hiring an attorney will cost you nothing out of pocket. There is nothing to lose by calling our firm, but there is too much at stake in your accident case to risk handling it without the right legal assistance. If you have been injured in or around the Baltimore area, contact us as soon as possible for a free case evaluation today at 443-844-1528. One call, that is all you need.