If you've just been in an accident, you need to start thinking about building your personal injury claim. You'll have medical bills to pay and lost wages to make up. You might even deserve compensation for a lot of undue pain and suffering.
Because of all this, you want to get the biggest auto accident settlement possible. This is money you need and deserve.
You know who's at fault. Maybe it's a single negligent person, several people, or a company. But no matter how obvious things may be to you, the insurance company isn't going to just give their money away. They'll do everything they can to show that their client wasn't liable, or that your injuries aren't as bad as you say.
Note: Although this section deals mainly in the context of car accidents, the advice is applicable to all types of personal injury claims, including slip and falls, dog bites, defective products, etc.
Steps for Injured Victims Immediately After the Accident
There are certain actions to take immediately after a vehicle collision that will secure your safety and increase the likelihood of winning your claim. Prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario by reading this page.
What To Do in the First Few Days
The first few days after your accident are the most important to building a strong personal injury claim. There are actions you need to take to protect yourself and to prepare for settlement negotiations.
Symptoms of Whiplash and Other Injuries
Your health should be your first priority after an accident, especially when a neck injury could be involved. It's important to seek medical attention to insure your good health, to identify seen or unseen injuries, and to have all this information on record.
Good Note Taking Skills: Put Everything In Writing
Written documentation of your accident is important. From notes at the scene to claim letters sent to your insurance company, you need written proof to support your claim. Keeping good records will pave the way to a good settlement.
Negotiating Advice for Accident Settlements
Bite your tongue! There are a some things you just shouldn't say when negotiating an injury claim. Don't absolve other parties because they're upset at the scene, don't admit fault and don't sign anything. Get more tips here.
Car Accident Photos: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Accident pictures bring reality to your claim. Pictures taken at the scene make your claim more believable and dramatic - improving your chances for a fair insurance settlement offer. After your accident, keep your cool and aim your camera phone.
Evidence Collection and Preservation
Gathering convincing evidence is an essential part of your claim. The more evidence you have, the greater your chance at winning a substantial settlement. Learn the different kinds of evidence you need and how to collect them.
Using Police Reports to Support Your Claim
If the police are called to the scene of an accident, chances are they'll complete a car accident report. This report will have a ton of information essential to your claim and could be a determining factor in settlement negotiations. Learn all about police accident reports here.
Collecting Witness Statements
Witness statements back up your story of how the accident happened. Witnesses may be friends with you at the scene, or strangers who saw your accident. Make an effort to speak with anyone you think could be a witness.
Statute of Limitations Laws
A statute of limitation is a legal guideline for how long you can wait to file a lawsuit. It's important to know the statute of limitations in the state where the accident occurred. Your ability to get any compensation may depend on it.
Recognize Bad Faith Negotiating Tactics
Bad faith insurance practices are an unfortunate element you may encounter when filing your injury claim. But if you're familiar with bad faith tactics you can protect yourself against them. You need to be prepared to defend against underhanded attempts to dismiss your claim.