Car accident laws in the state of Washington work on a comparative negligence basis. This means that during an accident, the driver who is at fault pays for the victims’ damages. If both drivers are partly at fault, their percentage of negligence is deducted from their settlement funds.
However, negotiating and settling a car accident lawsuit may take months or even years, depending on its specifics. This is why drivers have the option of purchasing no-fault car insurance in Washington. With this, a person injured in a car accident files a settlement claim with their insurance company, regardless of who is at fault.
Insurance companies, including your own, are cunning. What your insurer does not want you to know is that they increase their profit margins by paying the least amount in settlements. Thus, the adjuster will try to offer you a low amount that does little to cover your damages.
Here is what you can do to maximize your no-fault accident claim:
Retain All Documentation
Any form of documentation that you can record will come in handy when justifying your claim amount to the insurer.
If you are not severely injured and immobile, take photographs of the accident scene, including the damage done to your vehicle. You can also talk to one or two eyewitnesses and get their contact info. A copy of the police report can also provide more details about the accident.
Ensure that you keep a backup and easily accessible copy of this information should any unforeseen events happen.
Seek Medical Help Immediately
After leaving the accident scene, your next stop should be at a hospital. It is important for your health and for maximizing your no-fault claim.
It is common for delayed injuries to occur after an accident, but with a doctor’s evaluation, you’ll be able to watch for symptoms. Furthermore, if you delay getting medical help, the insurance adjuster might argue that your injuries were not serious enough to warrant the claimed amount.
A medical report can also serve as more evidence of your injuries, pain, and emotional damages.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Given the insurance adjuster’s role in minimizing your end settlement amount, you are safer with an attorney at your side.
A lawyer who has dealt with such insurance companies for years recognizes all the tricks that the adjuster will use to lower your figure. Countering such arguments will require experience and legal expertise.
Do Not Wait to File a No-Fault Accident Claim
This is a no brainer. Notify your insurance company immediately after the accident occurs, and later submit the necessary documentation for filing a claim.
If you wait too long to file a no-fault claim, the statute of limitations might catch up with you. Worse, your insurance company might argue that getting compensated was not as urgent or as serious as you claim.
Do Not Settle for the First Offer
When you file a claim, the insurance company might assign an insurance adjuster to make an offer. This is often a trick to get the victim to unknowingly accept a low amount and sign away a legal release.
To be on the safe side, direct all your communications and negotiations to your personal injury attorney. At this point, they are probably the only party that genuinely cares and wants to get you fully compensated.
Calculate All Damages
When filing a claim, there are different types of damages to seek compensation for. Insurance companies often take advantage of the claimant’s lack of this knowledge to pay out insufficient compensation.
Factor in all of the damages including property loss, medical bills, future health needs, pain, and emotional suffering caused by the accident. This way, you will be in a position to call out a lowball settlement offer when presented with one. Luckily, you do not have to worry about this if you have an attorney.
We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.