While some car accident cases end up going to trial, most are resolved through the settlement process.
If you were involved in a serious collision and want to seek financial compensation for your losses, you should discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A local attorney can explain the steps to settling a claim and why you may not want to negotiate your own settlement. But, you may find the following information helpful.
Reporting a Car Accident
Most states have laws requiring drivers to report car collisions to a local law enforcement agency. The police or state highway patrol must be notified when accidents result in serious injuries, death or significant property damage.
Your insurance company also likely requires you to report auto accidents soon after they occur. You don’t, however, have to go into detail about the incident – you can simply provide the date, time and location of the crash and the contact information of the other drivers involved.
No-Fault Car Accident States
In states that follow the no-fault auto accident liability system, like Utah, injured victims can recover medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is responsible for causing a collision.
Under this system, you only deal with another driver’s insurer if you meet the threshold of financial losses. In Utah, that typically means exceeding $3,000 in economic damages.
At-Fault Car Accident States
In states that follow the at-fault system, such as California and Idaho, the driver who causes an auto accident can be held financially responsible for the resulting damages.
Under this system, injured victims have the option of filing a claim with their own insurance company, filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider or filing a lawsuit. An experienced local personal injury lawyer can offer advice on the best route to take.
Settling a Car Accident Claim
As we mentioned, most car accident claims are settled out of court. Getting through the settlement process involves a great deal of work, as you’ll need to gather evidence to support your claim, draft a demand letter, explain the extent of your injuries and make clear the amount of damages you’d like to recover.
You can count on the insurance company investigating the case, and if they don’t deny your claim, they’ll likely make a lowball offer. At this point, you’ll need to negotiate – and if the insurer refuses to offer a reasonable settlement amount, you can file a lawsuit.
Settling a claim and getting the compensation you deserve is no easy task on your own. Car collisions are subject to state-specific laws, and many injured victims underestimate their losses. If you’ve been in an auto accident, letting an experienced local personal injury lawyer help with the settlement process is a smart move. For expert legal assistance in Utah, California or Idaho, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates and schedule a car accident settlement consultation today.