A car accident happens in a split second, but the repercussions can last years or even a lifetime. You’re recovering from your injuries, out of work, and the creditors are calling. How can you get the settlement offer you deserve?
You can’t rely on the insurance company to have your best interests in mind. They are a for-profit business, and the quicker their legal team can close your personal injury claim, the better it is for their business. Insurance companies do not always give injury victims fair compensation.
You can help maximize your car accident settlement and protect your legal rights by following these three pieces of advice.
Don’t Accept the First Insurance Settlement Offer
Insurance companies know what they’re doing when they offer you money right away. You are injured, scared, in pain, and unable to work. Insurance companies take advantage of your vulnerability with a seemingly generous payout but don’t let their actions fool you.
What seems like an adequate settlement may only cover a fraction of your current and future accident-related expenses. Ohio law may entitle you to much more money than the initial settlement offer they propose. But once you accept an insurance settlement payout, you typically forfeit the right to sue for more money in the future. If you can’t return to work or need lifelong medical care, you and your family will suffer financially in the long run. It is imperative that you don’t agree to a car accident settlement without first consulting a car accident attorney.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney ASAP
You don’t need to wait until you’re knee-deep in insurance negotiations before you contact an accident attorney. You can – and should – speak with an attorney as soon as possible. You can schedule a free consultation on the same day as your accident. In fact, there are many benefits to contacting legal counsel right away. The sooner evidence is collected from your car crash, the stronger your case will be. It can be challenging to get the police report, interview witnesses and re-create the accident scene weeks later, so if you’ve been in a serious accident, be sure to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.
Many accident victims delay contacting an attorney because of financial concerns, but a car accident lawyer will not cost you upfront. Personal injury lawyers charge their clients on a “contingency fee basis.” Or they collect their fees when the insurance company pays out your settlement, so you typically don’t owe them any money upfront. This payment schedule makes legal representation accessible to anyone who has been injured in an accident.
Don’t Publicly Discuss Your Case
The media might reach out to you or your loved ones if you were involved in a high-profile accident. Politely refuse to be on camera and state that you have no comments. Refer them to your attorney if necessary.
The same is true for social media. Many people chronicle their lives on Instagram, Twitter, and other websites. A car accident is a significant event, but it’s not one you want to discuss publicly. The insurance company’s legal team could distort your comments, videos, and photos. Public comments could jeopardize an active investigation and legal proceedings, so it’s best to stay silent on your social media accounts.
Averages aren’t helpful when it comes to personal injuries. How your accident affects you and your family is an individual experience. However, an adequate car accident settlement would recover compensation for the following:
Accident-related medical bills
Pain and suffering
The law requires all motor vehicle operators to act responsibly. The law may also hold municipalities, businesses, and other entities responsible for the car accident in a personal injury lawsuit.
Some examples of negligence on Columbus area roadways may include:
The burden is not on you, the injured party, to determine fault in your personal injury case. Your memory and perception of the crash may differ from what happened from a legal standpoint. Your attorney will gather evidence and fight against false claims against you.
Ohio personal injury law does limit how long you have to take legal action after an accident for your personal injury claim. According to Ohio Revised Statute § 2305.10, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a car accident lawsuit. There’s a good chance the judge will refuse to hear your case if you file after that deadline.
While two years after an accident can seem like a long time, there is no benefit in waiting. Medical bills and lost income can quickly add up. It can be more challenging for your attorney to build a strong case if you wait to take legal action.
While a car accident settlement can’t undo your injuries, this money can secure your financial future. Don’t accept less than what the law entitles you to for your car accident claim. Let The Jones Firm help you deal with the insurance company and get you maximum compensation for your injuries. Contact our law office today to schedule your free case review.