How to Handle Your Own Car Accident Claim
If you were involved in a collision that caused minimal property damage and no more than a few superficial wounds, you may be thinking about handling the subsequent claim yourself. While doing so will certainly save on attorney’s fees, you might run into complications, delays, and disputes that a lawyer could have helped you avoid.
If you’re determined to proceed without representation anyway, make sure to avoid the most common mistakes that victims who handle their own claims make. Examples include:
- Giving a Recorded Statement
Don’t let the claims adjuster pressure you into giving a recorded statement. If you discuss your injuries before reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI), you could inadvertently “lock in” the total damages. This, in turn, could severely limit the total compensation to which you are entitled.
- Demanding Too Much or Too Little
If you demand far more than your claim is worth, the opposing party will know that you don’t actually understand how to determine damages. If, on the other hand, you demand too little, you could walk away with a payout that doesn’t actually restore your financial security in the wake of the wreck.
- Accepting a Premature Settlement
You may be strapped for cash in the aftermath, but accepting a payout before reaching MMI is unwise. If your condition were to take a turn for the worse after settling, you would not be able to seek any additional funds from the liable party.
- Overlooking Health Insurance Liens
Health insurers are generally entitled to a portion of their policyholders’ personal injury payouts since they’re the ones who actually cover the associated medical bills. If you’re unfamiliar with how liens work, however, you could end up giving your carrier far more than is necessary. Or, you could overlook your obligations altogether, thereby jeopardizing your future coverage with them.
- Failing to Identify All Liable Parties
Personal injury payouts are generally capped by the total combined insurance coverage of the at-fault parties. As such, it’s essential that you identify all those who played a role in the accident in which you were hurt. Overlooking just one liable party could reduce your potential compensation by six- or even seven-figures.
- Letting Critical Deadlines Pass
If the opposing party refuses to settle, filing a formal lawsuit may be the only way to pursue the payout you deserve. Should you let the statute of limitations pass, though, your case will likely be dismissed.
In California, the standard filing deadline for car accident suits is two years—unless you’re suing a government agency. Should this be the case, you have just six months to commence the proceedings by filing an administrative claim.
Discuss Your Case with a Car Accident Lawyer in California
If you’ve decided that you do, in fact, want representation for your car accident claim, contact Harris Personal Injury Lawyers. We require no money upfront, nor do we charge a retainer in order to take advantage of our experienced legal services. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney in California.