If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may qualify for full compensation. This compensation can reach tens of thousands of dollars and may be awarded due to lost wages, damages such as pain & suffering, emotional distress, long-term effects and medical expenses. You may even be able to get punitive damages, which are designed to punish the other driver for his or her action.
You may be compensated for the following:
-The damage caused to property during the accident
-Compensation for auto accident injuries
-Compensation for pain and suffering
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If you have been involved in a vehicle accident, it is only right to wonder what the best move in claiming car accident compensation is. That way, you can easily put the accident behind you and move forward with your life. Apparently, in some cases, claiming this compensation is as traumatizing as experiencing a car accident, though it can be easily prevented if and only if you have the know-how.
Understanding Car Accident Compensation
It is possible that in a car accident another driver is involved and may have caused it happen. Regardless, it is likely for you not to deal directly with the other driver in hopes of settling your claim for damages. In most cases, it is about working directly with the insurance company of the other driver.
With that said, it is important that you always gather all information while you are still at the scene of the accident. This includes the name and contact information of the following:
· The other driver
· The insurance company of the other driver
· Witnesses to the accident, if there are
· Any law enforcement officers that have arrived at the scene
While you are at it, try to take some photos and make sure to cover the part where the hit happened. You can always use your smartphone, of course. From there, take pictures of the following:
· Areas of the vehicle were physical damages can be seen
· Locations of the vehicles involved in the accident
· License plates of each vehicle involved
What To Do After A Car Accident?
At the end of the day, your goal is to get the maximum car accident compensation which should be enough to cover damages or personal injuries. Even if your car’s damages look minor or your injuries seem mild and you do not require immediate medical treatment, do not settle for less. But, of course, your first move is to call the police, so it can give you an official record of the accident.
Later on, make sure you get a copy of the official police report and remember to keep it with you at all times. That is because it contains several important details that could lend you a hand when filing for car accident compensation. In clear-cut cases of where the fault lies, the report may also include the police officer’s opinion of whoever is responsible for the accident.
Insurance Company and How it Settles Claims
In order to be successful in pursuing and settling a claim – either with the driver or his insurance company – make sure you understand the kind of information that will be required from you. Another thing to keep in mind is that the insurance company is and will not always be on your side. It is there in the business of making money, not paying out. So, as much as possible, it will try to pay you out with less money that it really has to. How exactly does the insurance company try to achieve this? First, it argues that the accident is merely your fault or that you have a part of it. Second, but not the least, is that it will try to ask for more documentation to support your car compensation claim. If you are unable to provide, you will either be paid a reduced amount or not. In some cases, an insurance company will try to argue using both points.
There is every reason for you to find the entire process frustrating and even exasperating. However, remember that your goal is to acquire more documentation and information so that the insurance company can provide you with a fair compensation. Your goal, too, is to make sure that the amount you receive is more than enough to compensate you for all the damages done. Remember, it is not required for an insurance company to reach a settlement agreement with you. Hence it often states that “this is the best we are going to offer.” And if you do not agree, it will tell you to “go file a lawsuit,” which you really do not want as it is more time-consuming.
Types of Damages You Can Collect
If you are goal is to only claim for property damage, then here are some of the different types of damages you can collect:
Car Rental – Most, if not all, insurance companies will immediately reimburse you but this is in a form of a rental car, which you can use while your vehicle is under repair.
Out-Of-Pocket Expenses – Also known as petty cash, these expenses are those you use simply for, say, hiring a taxi to and from the accident scene or local police station.
Personal Property Damage – This compensation here is specifically meant for items that have been in your car. This could be anything such as smartphones, computers, carriers, bikes, and laptops, among many others.
Vehicle Damage – This simply refers the damages acquired following an accident.
It is the goal of the insurance company to extend a settlement offer which is based only on the several documentation or information provided. For instance, you only provided a picture of certain dents, not including the damages done on the engine. So, it is very likely for the insurance company to only compensate you for the dents, excluding the damages acquired by your car engine. The same thing can happen if you will not provide proof of the expenses you made from going in and out of the police station. If you want to be compensated according to whatever amount you spent due to the accident, make sure you have all the necessary documentation and information that will serve as proof.
Furthermore, the insurance company will proceed with a settlement agreement if and only if it covers the company’s best interests – or perhaps it is in its best interest to move forward with such settlement. However, on the whole, it knows that arriving at compensation is in its best interests. After all, litigation is expensive, which is something that the insurance company is fully aware of. In a sense, it is much more efficient – and less expensive – for it to pay fair compensation for the damages as compared to hiring and paying attorney fees to fight against your claim. This is most especially when the outcome of a trial is highly unpredictable.
What If You Get Injured
Sometimes, a car accident can be much more serious than just a broken fender bender. That is because you are at risk of getting minor or major injuries. Here, the legal issues involved can be more complicated. And apart from the items of damages listed above, you will be entitled to reimbursement of medical expenses. It is even possible for an insurance company to pay you money amounting to lost wages, or earnings you could have accumulated had you not experienced car accident. This is where car accident compensation becomes a much-needed claim. Also, you can move forward with a claim compensation that covers your mental and physical pain and suffering stemming from the accident.
If you think you are comfortable negotiating a car accident compensation for property damage to your car, do not just give in and try to seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your state if you have been injured in a car accident. Keep in mind that bodily injuries and/or medical expenses all present unique circumstances which your lawyer can better help you out. For example, you have just been examined, treated, and released from the hospital. This is where the insurance company of the other driver will want you to agree to a quick settlement, which it thinks is enough to cover the medical expenses you have incurred. But judging from a medical standpoint, it is possible that you will not be fully aware of the extent of your bodily injuries. There are symptoms of injuries that do not appear until weeks, while some will take months after a car accident. If you just give in to a quick settlement with the insurance company and only find out that you actually require more medical treatment, you cannot just go back and ask it for additional compensation.
How to Pursue Maximum Compensation
Getting maximum compensation can be done, but it is best to speak to your lawyer first. He will basically evaluate your case and spearhead a plan in obtaining the highest car accident compensation to which you are entitled to.
Apart from the aforementioned, your lawyer is also capable of:
· calculating damages;
· combing through your policies;
· drafting and filing the necessary paperwork;
· ensuring that your rights are upheld and that the full extent of your damages are accounted for;
· investigating fault;
· preparing a case for court, if necessary.
· negotiating with insurance companies; and
· warning you if you receive an offer that is extremely low;
As mentioned above, if you are involved in a car accident and it is the fault of the other driver, you are automatically entitled to reimbursement. The latter could cover anything from car damages to personal injuries. There are some car accident compensations designed to cover pharmacy bills. Regardless, you will have to provide documentation and information proving your claim.
If you are the driver at fault, it is best that you contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. This is the same thing if you are the victim of the accident. It is highly recommended that you actually contact the insurance company before seeing a doctor, though this is a case-to-case basis. A good practice is to get in touch with the insurance agent immediately after the car accident or injury took place.
Well, it depends. But generally speaking, you should not do this until you have reviewed and understood what your car insurance policy is. If you are being pressured to submit a statement – or you just feel that you need more help understanding your policy – then make sure to get in touch with an attorney
Of course, it is. Not unless if you do not want to be reimbursed or compensated for the damages done to you or your vehicle. You see, taking pictures of the injuries sustained, property damage, and the accident scene is always the main priority in terms of documentation. This will eventually serve as proof when claiming your car accident compensation.
Remember: The insurance company will never be on your side, nor do they have your best interests in mind. In fact, if not for the law, it would not compensate you. An attorney is someone who can help you ease through every legal process, especially if have concerns or questions about your policy. And even if you are having trouble contacting the insurance company, your attorney can find ways to change the course. Regardless of how small or big the claim is, your attorney can always provide the assistance you need.
It really is true that you can only seek compensation if the driver at fault has available assets or insurance. In some instances, the driver may not have insurance, but it is likely for him to be covered by another person’s insurance policy. In addition, if the faulty driver is acting during the period of his employment and at the time of the accident, he can be covered by his immediate employer’s insurance. Worst case scenario is asking the driver at fault to compensate you using his own money.
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Attorney Bradley S. Dworkin has authored newspaper articles, appeared on television, and spoken at union hall meetings throughout the state of Illinois.