How Do I Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?

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While some car wreck injuries may not require a lawyer, most car accident injury cases do require a lawyer to collect the maximum compensation. That being said, there are personal injury claims resulting from car accidents that don’t require a lawyer—a fact that many attorneys won’t tell you.

Car accidents involving no injuries are probably simple enough to handle without calling an experienced car accident lawyer. However, for other accidents involving any type of injury, property damage, or worse, you need a lawyer with the experience and skills to help you win the compensation you’re owed.

Determining whether you need a lawyer in your car accident case can seem confusing, but the basics are as follows:

1. Evaluate the Extent of Your Damages

Before working toward a settlement, make sure to have a clear idea of the damages you’ve suffered. Total up all the expenses you’ve incurred due to your accident, including car repairs, medical expenses, and lost income.

You might also be able to add future expenses and losses: for example, if your injury renders you unable to work, you can add your future lost wages to your total damages. Regardless, calculating the extent of your damages can be difficult. There’s no harm in over-demanding at first, then negotiating a settlement later.

2. Gather Evidence

Gather as much evidence at the scene of the accident as possible including photos of the crash, witness statements, dash-cam footage, and more. After the wreck, obtain copies of all police reports and medical records as these can serve as pieces of crucial evidence in your upcoming claim. 

3. Determine Negligence

Determining who is at fault in your car accident is a crucial step in filing a claim and can get extremely complicated, especially in Louisiana. Louisiana follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence, meaning multiple parties can share a portion of the blame. 

4. Talk to Your Insurance Adjuster

You should also speak with the insurance adjuster for your policy to find out what costs they’re willing to cover in regard to your claim. They’ll consider your car’s damage and your medical expenses, then calculate a payment amount they consider fair.

However, it’s rare for the initial settlement from your insurance to be fair. You’ll probably have to negotiate with your provider to get the most out of your settlement, which can be time-consuming, difficult, and frustrating.

5. Write Your Demand Letter

After receiving the initial offer from your insurance, you’ll need to craft a demand letter explaining why their settlement offer is too low and why you need more in compensation. You should take care to explain your injuries and losses in detail, including costs and other numbers.

Your demand letter is a starting point for the coming negotiations or court process. It may not be enough to increase your settlement amount, but insurance should send you a counter-offer, which you can accept, or you can continue to negotiate as you fight for what you deserve.

6. Review Your Settlement Offer or Take It To Court

Depending on your accident’s circumstances, the insurance companies may quickly offer you a settlement. Carefully review the offered settlement to determine if the compensation is reasonably sufficient to cover your losses and other expenses. If not, you may need to decline the settlement offer and argue for more compensation that adequately compensates you.

If you and the insurance companies are not able to come to an agreement, you may need to turn to arbitration in court. Going to court incurs administrative charges, court fees, and lost income while you argue your case in court. If at all possible, attempt to settle your claim out of court—that will save you time and money in the long run.

If you do go to court, be sure to research your case and others like it so you can argue more strongly for the amount you need. If you lose, you could have to pay the other driver’s legal fees—so make sure to be prepared.

While it is possible to represent yourself in your car accident injury case, it’s not the best idea. An experienced Louisiana car wreck lawyer from Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys will have the knowledge of the law, experience negotiating, and drive to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re probably trying to save money since it’s suddenly so scarce. When you Get Gordon, we guarantee that you won’t pay us a dime until we win your case—that’s the G Guarantee. Call us today at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation.