When you’ve been in a car accident, you eventually need to figure out how to settle your car accident claim. If someone else crashed into your vehicle, you’re going to need them to pay for your car repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Even though car accidents are common, many people don’t know what to do when it comes to settling their claim. Here’s what you need to know to do that and start putting this traumatic incident behind you.
What to Know about Car Accident Settlements in Arizona
Settlements are the most likely way car accident claims are resolved. It typically involves negotiations from both sides that continue until an agreement is reached.
You may even be happy that you don’t have to negotiate when the other party’s insurance company offers you a check. While it may be tempting, you should make sure the amount they have offered is enough. All too often, Arizona accident victims take that first offer only to realize it isn’t enough to cover all of the financial losses they incurred as a result of the crash.
Factors That Affect the Amount of Your Settlement
When the first check is offered, you should make sure that the damages you’ve suffered have been accurately calculated. It makes sense and protects your best interests to run the numbers.
Every accident is unique and will have a different sum of money for damages. To get the best estimate, you will want to look at the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, your medical bills, any future treatments your doctor has advised for your injuries, lost wages from missing work, and pain and suffering, to name a few.
A better idea is to speak with a car accident attorney who can help you determine if the amount is fair, or if you need to keep negotiating. If you have sustained serious injuries, you will want to leave all this up to an attorney to pursue compensation on your behalf.
How Long Does It Take to Go Through the Settlement Process?
It can take some time for a settlement after a car accident claim. This is why many victims are relieved to be offered a check from the insurance company quickly afterwards. However, it takes time to settle things the right way. You may want your money, but you do not want to take less than what you’ve lost. That will just put you in a worse financial predicament.
If you decide the amount you’re being offered is not fair, it might be wise to file a car accident lawsuit. Time is of the essence to move forward since Arizona’s statute of limitations is two years from the date of the crash. If you became aware of your injury at a later date, then you have two years from that date. Keep in mind that for either scenario, you should keep your medical bills and records organized, along with any other evidence that can back up your claim.
Even though settling takes less time than a trial, there are numerous things that can make it a time-consuming process. If you are seriously injured, it may take some time to determine what your ongoing medical care will look like. You may also have trouble getting the other party to agree to a fair amount.
In other cases, the at-fault driver may deny that they’re liable. Also, the insurance adjuster must investigate your claim. They check to see if your injuries are real and if they can poke holes in anything you’ve said to reduce the amount they offer.
There are so many variables, which means it can take a while unless you choose to accept a lower settlement. This is not advised, and if you’re struggling to negotiate the terms on your own, you should hire an attorney who can advocate for you.
How Much Can I Get When I Settle My Car Accident Claim?
Since each car accident varies in the finer details, it is impossible to provide an exact sum. There will be certain things that can impact the settlement amount, such as the severity of injuries, how long you will be out of work, and other things. For example, if you broke a few bones in the crash and are able to go back to work in a few weeks, you’ll get less than someone who becomes paralyzed and can no longer work.
How much you get may come down to how long you’re willing to wait for your money. You can always get your money faster if you take the first offer. This is not advised since it is unlikely to cover all of your expenses from the crash.
You may end up getting less for your settlement if you file your car accident claim on your own. A lawyer is not required but with their knowledge of the law, they can be an asset to your case. Often, accident victims make the mistake of saying something to the insurance company or the at-fault driver that harms their case. With an attorney, you’ll be advised on what you shouldn’t say, and you’ll also be able to direct anyone to speak to your lawyer.
If you don’t act quickly, you may not get anything at all. Failing to file your injury claim before the statute of limitations runs out means you may be prevented from recovering compensation.
Why Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Is More Favorable in Car Accident Claims
No attorney can ever guarantee the outcome of your case; however, with their deep knowledge of the laws, they can be a tremendous asset. When you get an attorney for a car accident claim, you will have someone who looks out for you and protects your legal rights.
At the very least, talking to a lawyer at a free initial consultation can give you a better idea of what to expect as you work to settle your claim.