Any time you are involved in a serious accident, you're likely to suffer injuries that will lead to health care costs, lost work time, and more. Unfortunately, it is common for the initial settlement offers to be very low. Sometimes, those low offers are the direct result of your own actions. If you want to ensure that you are eligible to get the best settlement possible for your claim, you need to take some precautions. Here are some tips to help you negotiate the highest possible settlement with your lawyer.
Get Medical Attention
The strongest negotiating factor you have for your accident settlement is your medical records. However, you can only get those by seeking medical attention when the injury occurs. You have to remember that everything you do related to your physical condition will affect the information in your medical records, so it's in your best interest to follow the appropriate processes.
For example, always call 911 and have police and EMS service dispatched to the accident. If you don't do this, or you decide you'll just go to the emergency room on your own, it opens up questions about whether the injuries treated actually happened at the accident scene, or if they happened between the accident scene and the hospital.
Further, delaying your medical treatment, including telling the paramedics that you are fine at the scene, can call the validity of your claim into question. If you don't seek medical attention right away, or you tell paramedics that you don't need it, the other party's attorney and insurance company may argue that you aren't as injured as you claim to be and therefore don't need a significant settlement.
Document The Scene
The better documentation you can get of the accident scene, the greater your chances of supporting your case well enough to get a significant settlement. Make an effort to get pictures of the accident scene, gather contact information from all of the witnesses on the scene, and get pictures of all of your physical injuries.
Call For Legal Help
You need legal assistance to support your claim no matter what the situation is. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate the claim on your behalf more effectively than you can do it on your own. In addition, he or she will provide you with some recommendations that will protect your interests.
For example, your lawyer will recommend that you not give the other party's insurance company any kind of recorded statement. That statement could be used against you in the course of your claim, even if you think you've been careful of what you said.
Notify Your Employer
Especially if you are claiming time lost from work, you have to notify your employer of the accident right away. Further, you will need to provide them a doctor's note for your missed days at work. Keep a copy of that doctor's note so that you have it to support your claim as well. Documenting those missed days will help you seek restitution for the lost pay. In addition, keep a detailed calendar of the dates and hours of lost work.
Be Responsive About Your Negotiation
Another key part of adequate representation for your case is to ensure that you are in contact with your attorney on a regular basis. Always respond to calls and questions from your lawyer in a timely manner. Failing to do so could be seen as a lack of cooperation in negotiations.
Further, you need to ensure that every bit of information you provide, whether to your attorney, the insurance company, your doctor, or the police, is completely accurate. Don't try to make your symptoms seem worse than they are, nor downplay them. You need to address everything as openly and honestly as possible.