How to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement Without a Lawyer

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How to Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement Without a Lawyer

When you or someone you care about has been involved in a traffic collision, you may be unsure about what to do. The process of filing a legal claim and recovering compensation is complicated.

Most people are not thoroughly familiar with the tort claims process. In the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision, you may find yourself wondering if you should hire a car accident lawyer to represent you.  

Some accident and injury victims wonder how to negotiate a car accident settlement without a lawyer. While it might seem to be more cost-effective to pursue a claim without a car accident lawyer, this is often untrue. 

A skilled car accident lawyer can help you recover a much larger amount than you may be able to secure on your own. When you need the most trusted car accident lawyers in the country, contact the team at Morgan & Morgan. 

Our firm has a track record of success that stretches back more than three decades. No matter the nature of your traffic collision, our car accident lawyers can help. 

If another person’s negligence was the reason you suffered an accident or injury, you deserve justice. The Morgan and Morgan legal team will review the circumstances of your crash and determine the validity and value of your claim. 

When we agree to represent you, we will build a powerful case on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with one of our accomplished legal professionals, complete the contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website today.

Seeking Compensation Without a Car Accident Lawyer

Victims have the option of saving on legal fees by negotiating their own tort settlements. However, most people do not have the skills or experience to successfully secure the maximum amount of financial recovery in a tort claim. 

For this reason, you should understand what you’ll need to settle your own car accident claim. In most cases, it is advantageous to hire an experienced car accident lawyer. This is especially true if the circumstances of the collision aren’t clear. Figuring out which party is legally liable is one of the most critical factors in any civil claim.

Determining Liability

Cases with clear liability are easier for victims to manage without a car accident lawyer. Determining legal liability in most traffic collision cases is a complex task.  

Liability depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the accident. In most states, the standard for determining fault in a car crash is negligence.  

The legal concept of negligence involves four distinct factors. To file a successful claim, the plaintiff must prove the following: 

  • The at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care
  • The at-fault party did not fulfill their duty
  • The at-fault party’s action was the reason for the accident
  • The accident caused measurable harm to the victim 

Providing evidence of these four elements of negligence can be challenging. Because of this, most claimants choose to employ a car accident lawyer to fight for them. 

A knowledgeable car accident attorney will consider the following circumstances of the situation to determine legal liability:

  • Driving distractions
  • The speed of the vehicles
  • Reckless or careless driving
  • The use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Violation of traffic statutes or laws
  • Vehicle component flaws and defects
  • Failure to obey traffic signs or signals
  • Inclement weather and road conditions

Some states and jurisdictions rely on a comparative fault system to determine car accident liability. Under a comparative fault approach, both parties can be held accountable according to the percentage of fault each party holds. 

Gather Important Documents

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, make sure to request a copy of the police accident report. These documents serve as powerful third-person accounts of the accident and injuries.  

If you hope to pursue a claim without the help of a car accident lawyer, you will need a copy of your accident report. Police reports often contain the following information: 

  • Contact information 
  • Names of the reporting officers
  • Names of drivers involved in the crash
  • Descriptions of weather and road conditions
  • Detailed descriptions of the vehicular damage 

It is also critical to secure any related medical documents. 

If you have been injured, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. A skilled medical care provider will ensure that your injuries are properly diagnosed. This will allow you to begin appropriate treatment immediately. 

Make sure to ask your physician for a copy of your medical records. They will serve as evidence of the physical damage you experienced as a result of the car accident.

Gather Evidence of the Crash

Before you leave the scene of the crash, gather as much information as possible. As time passes, it will become more difficult to remember the specific details of your motor vehicle collision. 

If you are able, collect the following information before leaving the scene of the crash: 

  • Names and contact information for the drivers involved
  • Detailed notes about your own experience
  • Other drivers’ insurance information
  • Descriptions of road obstacles
  • License plate numbers
  • VIN numbers

While it is vital to collect information about the crash, make sure to keep other conversations to a minimum. You should never discuss legal liability with others at the scene of the collision. 

Do not apologize, even if you believe you are at fault for the accident. Admitting fault could result in the loss of the financial compensation to which you are rightfully entitled. 

In most cases, it’s a good idea to pursue compensation with the help of a traffic collision attorney. A legal professional will not allow an insurance provider to deny you the financial payments you need.

Estimating Financial Damages Without an Attorney

One of the most difficult elements of any car accident case is calculating the value of the claim. Victims have the right to pursue repayment for any of the costs and losses resulting from the at-fault party’s negligence.

In most car accident claims, victims may seek compensatory damages. These are financial payments meant to compensate for the person’s losses. The two primary types of compensatory damages are special and general.

Estimating Special Damages

Special damages are payments that make up for the victim’s direct financial expenses. Because of this, they are also known as economic damages. 

Some of the most common types of special damages include payment for: 

  • Lost income and missed wages caused by an inability to work
  • Property damage and vehicular repair
  • Current medical bills and expenses
  • Expected future medical expenses
  • Travel related to medical care 

Any type of direct monetary loss can be claimed as economic damages. When representing yourself in a legal matter, it is critical to gather all related financial documentation. 

Most victims underestimate the monetary losses resulting from their car accidents. Skilled legal professionals will review the receipts, bills, and invoices from your case to ensure that you pursue every dime you are owed.

Estimating General Damages

General damages are also called non-economic damages. These financial payments allow accident victims to secure financial recovery for the intangible harms they suffer. 

Many of the worst outcomes from traffic collisions do not take the form of monetary losses. Examples include: 

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional turmoil and anguish
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Depression, anxiety, and panic disorder
  • Loss of relationship or consortium (when an injury is fatal) 

These are only a few examples of the losses for which general damages can compensate victims. It is difficult to accurately calculate non-economic damages without the help of a skilled traffic accident lawyer. 

Fortunately, the team at Morgan and Morgan knows how to fight for maximum compensation for accident and injury victims. When we are working for you, we will negotiate forcefully on your behalf. 

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • Will I Save Money by Foregoing Legal Representation?

    In minor accident cases where the issue of liability is clear, it may save money to file your own claim. But in most car accident cases, it is a good idea to hire a Morgan and Morgan lawyer. 

    When you secure our services, you do not have to worry about upfront legal fees or costs. Our team is compensated through a contingency fee payment method. 

    This means that you do not pay anything unless we recover the money that you deserve. Once we win or settle your car accident claim, a portion of the compensation will cover the costs of our services.  

    Because our team has extensive experience and knowledge, we can help you secure maximum financial recovery. Although victims can avoid paying legal fees by filing their own claims, they often secure much less than those with legal representation.

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

    The statute of limitations for car crash cases will vary depending on the jurisdiction and type of legal action. In most cases, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one to six years. 

    However, the time limit can be as short as 90 days in some areas. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for property damage is typically shorter than the time limit for injuries.  

    To determine how long you have to file a legal claim, it is critical to speak with an attorney. When our firm represents you, the knowledgeable Morgan and Morgan legal experts will ensure that all the legal deadlines in your case are met. 

    Do not miss the opportunity to recover financial compensation. Speak with a skilled personal injury attorney to begin the process of holding the at-fault party legally accountable.

  • How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?

    When you hire a legal representative, they will handle all the important elements of your claim, including:

    • Calculating damages in your case
    • Investigating the facts of the accident
    • Collecting evidence to bolster your claim
    • Negotiating with relevant insurance adjusters
    • Determining which party is legally accountable
    • Filing a lawsuit if negotiations are unsuccessful
    • Representing you in court 

    These are only a few examples of how a motor vehicle accident attorney can help you file a successful claim. Schedule a consultation with the team at Morgan & Morgan to discuss how we can help you.

  • Experienced Legal Representation With Morgan & Morgan

    While it is possible to pursue a claim without a car accident attorney, it is rarely advisable. A legal specialist can help you recover every dime to which you are rightfully entitled.

    Schedule a no-cost legal consultation with the attorneys at Morgan and Morgan to begin your claims process. Fill out our easy-to-use contact form to arrange your free case evaluation today.

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