Car accidents can be costly — emotionally, physically, and financially. Accident victims often find themselves dealing with emotional and mental trauma alongside difficult physical injuries and hefty medical bills. From emergency medical care such as an ambulance ride and ER bills, to ongoing medical care such as diagnostic tests, imaging, pain medication, surgery, physical therapy, and more, the sheer volume of medical attention needed following a severe car accident can put some victims and their families in dire straits financially.
Texas law allows for car accident victims to hold the at-fault party responsible for the financial damages incurred as a result of the accident. During car accident litigation, settlements can be made that give the victims the financial aid they need to recover.
Unfortunately, settlement amounts are often based on a variety of factors outside of the victim’s control, such as the severity of the injury, the damage done to the vehicle, and more. Victims are often left wondering how they can maximize their compensation despite these uncontrollable circumstances.
Luckily, victims can make certain choices in the aftermath of their accident that can help put them in the best position to receive maximum compensation. It is often the following factors that help car accident victims get the most money from their car accident claim.
Take Proper Steps at the Scene of the Accident
Unless you are too injured to do so and require emergency medical care, remain at the scene of the accident to ensure that the following important steps are taken.
Call police to assess the accident.
Swap contact, vehicle registration, and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved.
Collect detailed information on the accident by taking notes as well as photos and video from all possible vantage points.
Gather contact info from potential witnesses.
Scan the scene for potential cameras (red light cams, traffic cams, security cameras, etc.) that may have video of the accident.
Although it is vital to collect the information listed above, resist talking to others at the scene about who is at fault for the accident. Insurance companies can use even the smallest of comments regarding fault to justify reducing settlement amounts.
Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
In severe accidents, you will likely be transported to the nearest hospital and receive emergency medical care. However, even if the accident does not seem severe at first glance, you should still seek medical care as soon as possible.
Even if you believe you don’t need medical attention, it’s usually a mistake to avoid seeing a doctor. Often common, life-threatening injuries can take hours or days to show symptoms, and if afflicted by a costly injury you’ll need to be able to prove it was the accident that caused it — even if you didn’t feel immediate symptoms. Receiving compensation for car accidents is heavily based on medical documentation as proof of injury, and you want to ensure you protect yourself physically and legally.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Regardless of who you believe is at fault for the accident, always report accidents to your insurance carrier. Many policies require policy holders to report all accidents, and failure to do so could result in a loss of your legal rights or cancellation of your insurance policy.
Be honest about the details of your accident, but be aware that even your own insurance provider will be on the lookout for reasons to avoid having to pay damages. When discussing the details of the accident with your insurance company or that of the other driver(s), stick only to the facts and do not discuss who you believe is at fault. Leave proving fault to your car accident attorney.
Keep Detailed Documentation
Documentation is of the utmost importance when it comes to maximizing your compensation from a car accident claim. The more proof you can give insurance companies and the courts, the better. Documentation can include:
Bills related to the accident (medical bills and expenses that came as a direct result of the accident, such as medical supplies or modifications to the home to assist with your injuries, hired help, etc.)
Medical records (ER visit, doctor visits, diagnostics, medication, physical therapy, etc.)
Payroll information to prove lost wages
Detailed journaling/notes regarding your injuries, recovery, and their effect on your emotions and personal life to prove pain and suffering
Continue Medical Care No Matter What
Insurance companies are constantly looking for ways to avoid paying settlements. This means they will judge victims based on a variety of factors, including how they manage their own medical care. If you miss a doctor’s appointment, therapy session, lab visit, or opportunity to pick up a prescription for any reason, there’s a chance that could be construed by the insurance companies that you aren’t as injured as you are. Consistent medical records are vital to receiving maximum compensation.
Don’t Discuss or Post Online About the Accident
Insurance companies will look for any reason to dispute your claim. This includes any passing comments to friends and family, social media posts, or details revealed to anyone other than your lawyer about your accident. Speaking to or posting about any aspect of the accident can potentially be used against you to devalue your claim and lower your settlement amount. Staying quiet, unless authorized to do otherwise by your attorney, is the best choice victims can make to help maximize their settlement.
Find an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
There is no better way to navigate the complexity of a car accident case than with a personal injury lawyer who has experience in handling car accident cases. Proper representation is the key element to ensuring that you receive maximum compensation, because car accident attorneys have a keen understanding of Texas law and know the ins and outs of battling insurance companies. To make the most of your car accident claim, a car accident attorney is a must.
Do Not Accept Settlement Offers Unless Approved by Your Attorney
Do not miss your chance to maximize your compensation and receive the damages you deserve by accepting a settlement offer without speaking to a car accident attorney. Texas residents have legal rights that protect them following a car accident, and experienced attorneys know how to advocate and fight for victims to receive what they are owed.
Insurance companies are often quick to provide settlement offers that are much too low, and if not properly represented, victims can potentially leave money on the table. It can be difficult to imagine giving up a settlement, but it’s almost always a mistake to accept settlement offers without the advice and consultation of a car accident attorney.
Lopez Law Group’s Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
We understand the devastating effects that a car accident can have on victims and their families. Our experienced car accident attorneys are some of the best in Texas and are committed to fighting for the compensation victims and their families deserve. We aim to help victims recover physically, emotionally, and financially from accidents. We proudly serve Weslaco, Tyler, Spring, Mission, McAllen, Laredo, Houston, Edinburg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, and other areas throughout Texas.
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, give us a call at +1 (956) 968-7800 today for a free case evaluation. Our team of experienced car accident attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve.