Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Settlement?
You are under no obligation to hire a lawyer to negotiate a car accident settlement. That said, entering into this process on your own could prove detrimental to your claim. Insurance adjusters negotiate countless numbers of these each year. Further, they are trained to minimize the financial exposure the carriers will face.
In some cases, you could be negotiating directly with an insurance company attorney. Taking them on alone is rarely in your best interest.
You are entitled to seek guidance from a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney to negotiate for you. Your attorney will lend their expertise and put in the substantial work to obtain the compensation you deserve.
The steps to resolve an accident claim
Whether you are engaging an attorney to represent you or dealing directly with the other driver’s insurance company, the process of initiating a claim is the same. If you intend to pursue this through the other driver’s policy, you must formally file a claim. Most insurance companies provide online forms that allow you to begin the process.
Typically, you can also file over the phone– but their website will usually direct you to their preferred method. However, an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer could handle the complex process so you can focus on healing.
What goes into obtaining a fair settlement
In most cases, the insurance company will make an initial offer, which is rarely fair, the moment you open your claim. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize liability and diminish the value of your vehicle. To obtain the compensation you are entitled to, you will need to build a strong case. This starts with gathering evidence.
There are many valuable pieces of evidence in any car accident claim–these could include:
- Medical bills
- Employment records
- Video evidence
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Photographic evidence
In addition, it is not enough to gather this evidence to get the most out of your claim. You will also need to formulate a strong argument about why you are entitled to the compensation you are seeking.
The negotiation process typically begins with a demand letter. This is a letter sent by the plaintiff or their Pittsburgh car accident lawyer to the other driver’s insurance company. This letter should outline the basis of your claim, the specific amount of compensation, and then support that demand using the evidence you have collected.
Counteroffers and Negotiation
In many cases, they will make a counteroffer. In other instances, they will provide their evidence, asserting that you were partially at fault or are overstating the value of your claim. At times, they will simply respond with a dollar amount.
The negotiation process can be time-consuming and frustrating. There is frequent gamesmanship, and insurance companies are not shy about aggressively pushing you to accept an inadequate amount. An attorney could assist you with standing your ground and obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today
We have extensive experience in negotiating with insurance companies. Our approach to this is simple. We take on each case and rigorously prepare as if it is certain to go to trial. Insurance companies quickly realize we will not be bullied or accept an unfair offer simply to avoid a jury trial. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.