You can get compensation for the damages by filing a personal injury claim if you sustain injuries in a traffic collision. This compensation covers your wages, medical expenses, and many more. The traffic collision settlement process can involve more than just submitting a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and receiving a payment to cover your expenses.
Quite often, it involves a long investigation of the traffic collision and negotiation between your legal representative and the insurer. But if they cannot agree on a fair settlement, your attorney can decide to file a lawsuit that requires you to appear in the court of law. Therefore, your claim can be resolved quickly or it can lead to a long process that needs the involvement of the court. In this article, you will learn about the traffic collision settlement process.
Calculating the damages in a traffic collision settlement
It can be hard to accurately calculate a personal injury claim as it depends on a specific case. The basic calculation involves adding up all the expenses you incurred, such as medical bills and property damage and repairs. Your expenses can also include lost wages that you experienced after missing work because of your injuries and the earning capacity loss in the future.
Besides these, you can also be legally entitled to receive some non-economic damages like pain and suffering, scarring, emotional distress, and any other disability you got from the injury.
Dealing with the insurance company of the at-fault party
You need to get all the car insurance information of the other driver at the scene of the traffic collision. You should be polite when requesting for this information, but don’t admit fault or apologize for the accident. Ideally, you should ask for the name of the driver, contact details, and insurance information.
Likewise, you should also share your information with that driver. Then call the police to report the traffic collision, especially if the other driver is uncooperative or it was a serious traffic collision. But if you suspect that the other driver is intoxicated, then you need to call the police. While at the traffic collision scene, you can photograph the damages on your car. In most cases, the insurance company can need these photos.
It’s worth noting that some states have at-fault insurance, so you may need to contact the at-fault driver’s insurer to file your initial claim. The other driver’s insurance card can have this number that you can call or you can decide to search for the number on the insurance company’s website. When speaking with the customer service staff, make sure that you report the traffic collision in detail. This means you should explain the number of people involved in the traffic collision, the type of injuries you sustained, and how the accident happened. You should avoid making assumptions or guesses. Report only the facts of the traffic collision as you saw them. Also, do not provide any other information the insurer doesn’t ask for.
That said, the insurance company of the other driver can assign a person known as a claim adjuster to handle your case. The claims adjuster tends to be a professional when it comes to assessing traffic collision cases and deciding whether or not to approve them.
An insurance adjuster can handle several cases each month, but you can know more about the facts of the traffic collision than the insurance claims adjuster. Therefore, it makes sense to use this to your advantage. In other words, you should not allow yourself to settle for less money than you believe your injuries or traffic collision is worth.
After all, the goal of the insurance claims adjuster is to save the money for their insurance company. To protect yourself, you can do a couple of things. These include not providing a recorded statement, not admitting fault, not exaggerating or speculating, keep your answers simple and short, refuse the first settlement offer, and talk to a lawyer before accepting any settlement.
You can have the chance to request a fair settlement for your damages. And, the insurance claims adjuster can then ask for supporting documentation to see the fairness of your demand like auto shop repair quotes and medical statements. If the claims adjuster decides to approve your compensation claim, they will give you a settlement. You can then choose to accept the compensation or negotiate for fair settlement. You have the option of consulting a traffic collision lawyer who also has the experience handling car accidents caused by speeding.
A traffic collision investigation
When you file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer, the insurance company usually conducts an accident investigation. This is where the insurance claims adjuster comes in to deal with your case.
The investigation can involve a review of pieces of evidence that you give them to prove the validity of your claim. If some pieces of evidence are not there like pictures of your vehicle, the insurance claims adjuster can take them. Some of the pieces of useful evidence that may be needed include the police report for the traffic collision, photos of the accident scene, statements from witnesses, your medical records, and many more.
In case the negotiations fail with the insurer of the at-fault driver, then your attorney can take the case to court. The attorney may need to call traffic collision experts to give testimony. These experts can offer critical insight to your traffic collision and subsequent damages. You can use this insight to enhance your personal injury claim.
You can consider calling various types of experts to give their opinions during the settlement process of your claim. For example, your doctor can discuss the injuries you sustained, treatment, and prognosis.
You may also need an accident reconstruction specialist. This is an expert who can provide a digital demonstration of your traffic collision to show how different factors played their roles.
A mechanical or civil engineer can also be called, especially if the key factor that may have caused the traffic collision was a geographical feature like an incomplete construction project.