Due to the wide variety of circumstances and procedures within insurance companies, it’s hard to estimate how long your car accident insurance claim will take to process. Some companies offer a settlement within a few weeks, and when medical bills or property damage expenses start piling up, that quick offer can be tempting to take.
But don’t settle right away if you don’t have to. Insurance companies know that the earlier they offer you cash, the more likely you will accept less than you deserve. Once you’ve accepted their settlement, you can’t renegotiate for more if, say, your injuries are more extensive than you first thought.
A quick offer isn’t typically a helping hand but is instead a leveraging tactic to lower the insurance company’s expenses. Rather than reaching a settlement quickly, focus on reaching a fair settlement; it will be worth the extra time in the end.
How to Help Your Case While You Wait
Hire an Attorney
An experienced Evansville attorney knows how to talk to insurance companies and represent car accident and personal injury claims. The ways an attorney can help your case extend beyond merely handling paperwork for you, as he or she will also know what evidence and/or statements will help your case and not hurt it.
Avoid Dealing Directly with the At-Fault Party
Immediately after the accident, you are encouraged to share the basic facts of the accident with the other party’s attorney or insurance company. This information is limited to:
- Where the accident occurred
- Who was involved
- What happened, in general terms (The other driver T-boned you, sideswiped you, etc.)
Revealing more than the bare minimum can clue the other parties involved into the strongpoints of your case, giving them time to refute or discredit your testimony with their own evidence.
Insurance companies frame questions to serve their interests, so even answering a simple greeting with “I’m doing fine” can be construed as evidence you aren’t as injured as you claim to be. Let your Evansville attorney handle these confrontations, as they know how to preserve your case when dealing with people on the other side.
Gather Evidence Over Time
Perhaps the biggest advantage to being patient with your car accident claim is being able to gather large amounts of evidence from multiple sources. Your attorney can advise you on the most relevant information for your specific case, but often medical records, police reports, and eyewitness accounts of the accident are standard but compelling pieces of evidence that can strengthen your case.
Though it may seem excessive, this abundance of evidence translates directly into increased awards for Evansville car accident victims. Indiana is a comparative fault state, which means that a percentage of fault typically applies to both parties involved in a car accident. For those who file lawsuits, awarded damages are reduced by the percent that party is at fault for the accident, up to 51 percent. For example, if you are found to be 25 percent at fault, you will receive 25 percent less money from the jury’s initial award. However, if you are found to be over 51 percent at fault, you aren’t entitled to any compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
It’s in your best interest to reduce the amount you may be at fault by allowing your lawyer to build a strong case. This takes time, as your lawyer must:
- Review the facts of the accident
- Recreate the accident scene
- Gather witness and expert testimonies about your case
- Assess future expenses related to the accident
Rushing your attorney through any of these necessary steps or accepting an offer shortly after the accident may reduce the compensation you receive from a lawsuit or insurance claim.
Evansville Attorneys on Your Side
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Evansville recently, you should have someone fighting for your rights and taking care of your case while you focus on healing. Call us or contact us online to start making a difference in your car accident claim today.