Auto injury claims are the primary means of recovering medical expenses and associated costs if you’re injured in a car accident that isn’t your fault. But there are some common mistakes that can seriously derail the process, and it’s surprisingly easy to fall into them without proper research and support. Here are five errors you’ll want to make sure you avoid:
- Getting the Wrong Files
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is allowed to ask you for any files that can be used to reasonably help them make a decision on your claim. The important word to note is “reasonably”; while you should supply your medical files related to the accident, for example, you shouldn’t get sidetracked on irrelevant requests such as all your medical records from birth.
- Not Understanding Fault
If you shared fault for the accident, you should find out whether you’re living in a state that still allows you to receive compensation scaled to the percentage of fault assigned to the other driver (the legal phrases you should be looking for are contributory negligence and comparative negligence). You shouldn’t assume that because you were 10% responsible for the accident, you shouldn’t even bother filing an auto injury claim.
- Overestimating Damages
When it comes to negotiating car accident settlements, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is simply demanding too much. This can stall negotiations because the insurance company is less likely to make you a reasonable counteroffer.
- Jumping Straight to Court
If negotiations with the insurance company do stall, you shouldn’t assume that an auto injury lawsuit is your only option. There are alternate resolution routes such as mediation or arbitration that may be successful while keeping your legal expenses lower.
- Hesitating to Ask for Help
The reason auto accident injury attorneys go into their profession is to help people like you. While a straightforward claim may be able to be taken care of without legal assistance, you should know that lawyers aren’t just for trials; they can also help you expedite paperwork, carry out the necessary investigations and seek a fair settlement outside court. Most offer free initial consultations, so it may be wise to at least get a professional opinion before proceeding.
What else should people know about filing auto injury claims? Join the discussion in the comments.