How to Get More Money From a Car Accident Settlement
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, chances are you’ve found yourself needing money. After all, someone has to pay to repair the damage to your car, possibly even replace it. You may need to pay medical bills as well.
Typically, an insurance company will be responsible for your expenses. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and what state you live in, that might be your insurance company or the insurer of the other driver.
However, it doesn’t always work out the way it should. Once you make a claim, the goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little money as it can. This is exactly the opposite of what you need after a car accident. You need to maximize your compensation to recover from the accident without facing a lifetime of bills or disability.
So who is on your side if the insurance company is against you? The answer is Morgan & Morgan. Our car accident lawyers know how to get more money from a car accident settlement and will fight for every dollar. So if you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact us immediately to schedule a free case evaluation.
Tips for How to Get More Money From a Car Accident Settlement
There is no way to guarantee maximum compensation after a car accident. But there are things you should and shouldn’t do that will help increase your payout.
Consult With a Car Accident Lawyer From Morgan and Morgan Immediately
Car accident attorneys know the insurance claims process inside and out, often even better than insurance company employees. So before you file your claim, you should consult a car accident lawyer. They can guide you through the process and handle the complicated legal work.
And because they know how to navigate the hoops that insurance companies intentionally place in your way, you’ll typically get through the process much faster and get much more money than you would if you were to try to go it alone.
Insurance companies are aware that the longer a claim takes to complete, the more likely it is that a claimant will accept a substandard settlement offer. Our attorneys won’t let them delay your case.
Collect Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
If you’ve just been in a major accident, the last thing on your mind would be to collect evidence for your insurance claim. After all, it’s a lot to ask for when your car has just been wrecked and you are in pain.
However, if you are healthy enough to move around and you have the presence of mind, you should pull out your phone and start taking pictures. You want photographic evidence of all cars involved in the accident, the scene of the accident, and any identifying information of other drivers.
Additionally, if possible, get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Once again, your camera will serve you well because it is much easier to take a picture of an ID than to write down the information.
Your attorney will use all this evidence to support your case and win you maximum compensation.
Don’t Talk About Your Accident
If you’ve been in a serious car accident, many people will want you to talk about it. But unless that person is your car accident lawyer, avoid talking to them unless your attorney is present.
You should start following this advice immediately after the accident occurs. While you are required to share contact information, you should avoid talking to them about the accident. If they try to talk about what happened, politely avoid the conversation.
Similarly, if a police officer tries to take your statement about the accident, tell them you will provide a statement when your attorney is present. Until then, just give the police officer your contact information.
This advice also applies to social media. The best way to deal with social media is to post nothing until your claim has been fully resolved. If you must post something, only reveal that you were involved in an accident.
You want to be careful because the insurance company can use anything you say against you when making decisions about your claim. Something you say—even offhand — could potentially cost you thousands of dollars.
Get a Medical Evaluation and Follow All the Instructions of Your Doctors
Whether or not you think you are severely injured, you should get a medical evaluation as quickly as possible after the accident. This can be a life-saving decision if you have a potentially fatal injury that doesn’t seem serious or isn’t immediately apparent.
In addition to protecting your health, getting medical attention will result in medical records, which are critical to maximizing the compensation you get from an insurance company. Your car accident lawyer will need your medical records to prove the severity of the injuries you suffered in the accident.
Additionally, you should follow your doctor's instructions to the letter—it’s important to your recovery and your wallet. When you ignore medical advice, the insurance company can use that against you and potentially pay you less compensation.
Keep Good Records of Your Receipts
You’ll likely have a lot of expenses after a car accident. For example, you’ll probably have to rent a car until yours is repaired. You may need to purchase medical equipment like crutches. You can include many or all of these expenses in your insurance claim.
However, it’s only possible to claim an expense if you provide a receipt to the insurance company. This is where good record-keeping comes in.
Most people either don’t collect receipts or quickly throw them out. You need to do the opposite. If possible, get a digital copy of every receipt for an expense resulting from the accident. If you can’t get a digital receipt, ensure that you make copies of any physical receipts. This will make it easy to provide all relevant information to the insurance company and your lawyer while maintaining a copy for yourself.
As previously mentioned, the insurance company wants to delay your case as long as possible. The longer you wait for a settlement, the more likely you are to agree to a lower number, just to finally get paid. If the insurance company can delay it long enough, there is a good chance your claim will end without you getting paid.
We will do everything in our power to prevent unreasonable delays. But even if we are completely successful, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get paid in just a few days.
Even relatively simple insurance claims usually take a few weeks to resolve. There are several steps involved in an insurance claim, and there aren’t many ways to speed the process up. If you become impatient, that’s likely to hurt your case more than it helps.
We will help you stay patient by providing regular updates and answering any questions you have. But we can only speed things up so much, so please be ready for a potentially prolonged process.
Get Financial Assistance if Necessary
One reason that many clients get impatient is that bills start piling up. If you’re facing thousands of dollars of debt, you might take a weak early offer just to slightly dig yourself out of the hole.
But this is a big financial mistake that will hurt you in the long run. The better option is to get financial assistance to tide you over until you receive a fair settlement offer.
There are several options available for financial assistance. Your attorney can help you find ones that will help and may be able to assist you in getting them. Furthermore, your lawyer can send creditors a letter of intent that should stop bill collection until you receive compensation.
Will a Lawyer Cost Me More Than I Get From the Insurance Company?
Your attorney won’t cost you more than you get from the insurance company if you hire a lawyer from Morgan & Morgan. Our law firm takes every case on a contingency basis. This means that our fee is always a portion of the money that we win for you in a settlement. There are no hidden or extra fees.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Doesn’t Offer a Fair Settlement?
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement offer, we will file a lawsuit against them to get you the money you deserve. However, this is pretty rare. Typically, insurance companies will negotiate in good faith with anyone who has hired a lawyer because they know that you are willing to go to trial to get paid, and trials are expensive.
Does It Matter if the Other Driver Was at Fault for the Accident?
That depends on what state you live in. In some states, your insurance policy will pay for the accident, regardless of which driver was responsible for the accident. In other states, you will be compensated by the insurance policy of the other driver if they were at fault.
However, even if your accident was in a no-fault state, you may be able to get additional compensation from the at-fault party if you were injured badly enough. Your attorney will explain your options and let you know what to expect during your initial free consultation.
Can I Get More Money From a Lawsuit Than From a Settlement?
You might get more money from a lawsuit than from a settlement, but it is not a sure thing. When you sue an insurance company, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on how much a jury decides to award you. Typically, it’s much safer to accept a fair settlement.
However, it’s sometimes worth filing a lawsuit as a negotiating tactic. Often, if you file a lawsuit, the insurance company will make at least one larger offer before going to trial.
Maximizing Your Car Accident Settlement With Attorneys From Morgan and Morgan
Morgan and Morgan has helped car accident clients get the maximum payout from their claims for almost 40 years. We know the schemes and tactics used by disreputable insurance companies to try to get you to settle for less than what your case is worth.
Over the years, we’ve recovered billions of dollars by negotiating with insurance companies. So if you want to ensure you get the money you need after an accident, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.