How Do I Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
When you settle a car accident claim without a lawyer, you handle each step in the process on your own. This can be time consuming and overwhelming for many injured accident victims. For this reason, it is always recommended to hire a Houston car accident attorney
from the start.
How Do I Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
You can settle a car accident claim without a lawyer
by going through this process:
- Investigating the collision and compiling evidence
- Identifying the liable party or parties
- Building a compelling case against them
- Informing the liable parties and insurance companies about your claim
- Navigating state insurance and personal injury laws
- Identifying and calculating the value of all your damages
- Negotiating for a settlement that addresses these damages
- Filing the paperwork to initiate a lawsuit when necessary
It's tough to juggle these tasks without any legal support, and
you'll have to do it all before the deadline to sue expires. This process can be difficult—if not impossible—while recovering from collision injuries. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk.
If you are seeking a car accident settlement, a lawyer can answer your questions, evaluate your claim, and decide if you have a good case. Reputable personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and will represent you for a contingency fee, so you'll never pay out of pocket for legal services.
Issues You May Encounter When Seeking a Car Accident Settlement
Though the claims process
outlined above may seem straightforward, issues may arise at any stage. In particular, you will likely experience pushback from the insurance company when you submit a claim. Beware: an insurer’s goal is generally to pay out as little as possible for each claim, and insurance adjusters will look high and low for reasons to devalue or reject your case. To name just a few of their tactics, the insurance company could:
Lowball Your Claim’s Value
When assessing car accident claims, insurance companies will often make a lowball offer early on to “save you from the hassle of negotiations.” However, there’s a catch: this offer rarely reflects the true value of your damages, leaving you to pay any future expenses and losses that come along. In this scenario, the insurer is relying on the fact that you are facing medical bills and time away from work due to your injuries—leaving you with little time or energy to fight for a larger settlement. When you hire a law firm to represent you, an auto collision lawyer will handle negotiations for you and will never settle for less than you deserve.
Take Your Statements out of Context
Watch what you say immediately after the collision, especially
in conversations with the insurance company and online. Any statements you make about the accident or your health could jeopardize your financial recovery. During interviews with the adjuster, discussing your potential fault or your actions before the crash could undermine your claim that the other driver is responsible. One careless comment could invalidate your case! Fortunately, you don’t have to walk on eggshells; a car accident attorney can communicate on your behalf to protect your claim and your rights.
Suggest You Caused the Collision
The insurance company could also blame you and reject your claim altogether, suggesting that your actions caused the collision or your injuries. In this case, you must decide whether to search for additional evidence to support your claim or take the at-fault driver to court. Either way, you will need to fight to prove your right to damages, and this fight could go on for months. A lawyer knows what it takes to prove a car accident claim, and uses this knowledge to fight for you.
Advantages of Having a Car Accident Lawyer on Your Side
After a collision, you deserve time to heal without worrying about how you will afford your medical bills or how soon you can get back to work. Instead of adding more stress to your plate—and potentially worsening your injuries in the process—you can hire a car accident attorney
to take care of your case. Personal injury lawyers take on many tasks when representing car accident victims, but throughout it all, the goal stays the same: to secure compensation for you in an efficient, stress-free manner. From the moment our firm signs on to your case, you can leave everything to us, though all final decisions are yours to make. For example, when a car accident attorney represents you
, you can expect them to:
Put Time and Resources Into Investigating the Car Accident
Your car accident injuries could keep you physically, mentally, and financially preoccupied for weeks or even months. We understand you may not be in a position to invest the time or resources a successful personal injury case requires. However, that shouldn’t mean you have to miss out on compensation from the liable party. The point of hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you is to have someone on your side taking care of every legal detail so you don’t have to. Attorneys work on car accident cases every day, so they know what is required to meet your goals and guide you through a successful recovery. We’ll handle it all, including:
- Collecting evidence
- Analyzing the car accident report
- Interviewing witnesses
- Consulting experts like collision reconstructionists
- Compiling everything we find into a strong case for financial recovery
Attorneys give their clients' cases the attention they need to seek fair compensation.
Bring in Reliable Experts When Necessary to Support Your Claim
Sometimes, input from industry experts is necessary to understand what caused a car accident and the full extent of the damages. When possible, your lawyer will work with such experts to ensure they paint a comprehensive picture for the insurance company and provide enough evidence to support your right to compensation. For instance, medical experts can shed light on the seriousness of your injuries and provide a prognosis, explaining what your recovery will look like. This information will help the legal team estimate your future medical expenses.
Identify Collision Damages You Might Not Know You Can Recover
If this is your first auto accident, you may not be aware of all the damages you could recover. The effects of a car accident can be far-reaching, touching many areas of your life both now and in the future. A lawyer will discuss your case and injuries with you, taking the time to identify your current losses as well as all of your potential future damages. For example, you could collect compensation for:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Transportation to doctor’s appointments
- Missing out on promotions or other work benefits due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced earning capacity in the future
- Disfigurement or disability
- Loss of consortium (intimacy with your spouse)
The goal is to ensure that you are not left footing the bill after your claim resolves. Note that car accident compensation depends on the specific damages you suffered. In addition, state laws may limit the type and amount of damages you can seek from the liable party.
Assign an Accurate Value to Each Recoverable Damage
Beyond identifying all of your damages, it’s crucial to assign an accurate value to each of them. For economic damages like medical bills, this process is fairly straightforward, but it does take time. The damage calculation process requires:
- Gathering all of your receipts and invoices related to the aftermath of the car accident
- Requesting pay stubs to estimate your current and future lost income
- Acquiring an estimate for the repair or replacement of your vehicle
Some damages, like reduced earning capacity and non-economic losses, require even more information to properly calculate. However, our firm is familiar with performing such calculations, so you can rest assured that your case will receive an accurate value before we enter settlement negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Protect Your Rights and Advocate for You With the Insurance Company
As we outlined above, insurance companies generally are not looking out for your best interests. To minimize your interactions with the adjuster and protect your case, a car accident attorney will:
- Communicate on your behalf, whether in writing, over the phone, or in-person
- Assist you in preparing any statements you need to make
- Prepare and file paperwork with the insurance company
- Present your case evidence and draft a demand letter
- Steer negotiations in your favor and advise you on any settlement offers you receive
- Let you know when it may be necessary to take the case to court
Provide Informed Legal Advice as You Make Decisions in Your Case
Not everyone is familiar with civil matters and the legal system in general, and the insurance companies are counting on the missteps of vulnerable victims. This is why hiring a lawyer is often beneficial after a collision. Attorneys understand what it takes to settle a car accident claim or fight for compensation in court. They stand up against insurance companies regularly and fight for the rights of victims just like you. Car accident lawyers know what a fair settlement offer looks like, so they can give you their informed opinion on any offers you receive. While you get to make the final decision on when to accept an offer, your lawyer will aim to give you as much knowledge and support as possible so you can make the right choice for yourself and your family.
Navigate Any Issues that Arise During the Claims Process
Filing a car insurance claim isn’t always smooth sailing. In fact, many different issues can pop up while pursuing compensation from an at-fault driver. Having served personal injury victims for multiple decades, your lawyer will have seen a variety of difficult scenarios and guided their clients through them. Common car accident claim complications include:
- Multiple parties may be liable. Determining liability in car accident cases can get complicated when more than two parties are involved. Multiple insurance companies enter the fray as well.
- It may be necessary to seek a court award. Though the majority of personal injury cases settle without going to court, this is not always the case. Bringing your claim in front of a jury could be the best option for seeking fair compensation.
- You may face partial fault. Some states consider the fault of all parties in an accident, including the victim. Depending on the state, this could reduce the amount of compensation you can receive—or bar you from financial recovery altogether.
If one of these or a similar complication occurs in your case, a car accident attorney will make sure you are ready for it.
Keep Your Case on Track for Timely Filing
Time is a critical factor to consider when seeking personal injury compensation. Some evidence is time-sensitive, especially in car accident cases—and you must collect it before it disappears. In addition, every state sets a deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits. Some states give you as little as one year to file, with even shorter timelines when government agencies are involved. For this reason, it is vital to begin the process as soon as possible and file within the time limit. When our firm represents you, one of our first steps will be identifying this deadline (known as the statute of limitations) so we can use the time available wisely.
It Costs Nothing out of Pocket to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
One of the most common reasons car accident victims hesitate to hire legal representation is fear of overwhelming attorney’s fees. No one wants to rack up more bills when they’re already under financial stress. However, most personal injury firms operate on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means that they only receive a payment if they secure compensation for you first! Here are the facts of a contingency fee agreement:
- Lawyers do not charge upfront retainers or hourly fees to get started on your case.
- The law firm handles all costs related to investigating, building, and filing the claim.
- If they do not deliver a settlement or court award, you owe nothing for their services.
- When they do take payment, it comes from a portion of the compensation they recover for you.
Moreover, your lawyer will outline the details of the fee structure before you commit to hiring them, so you never have to worry about surprise expenses. We’re happy to address all questions and concerns at your initial case evaluation.
Discuss Your Car Accident Case with A Lawyer for Free
After a collision, your health is likely your number one concern, followed by your finances. Even if you are facing significant medical debt and are unsure of when or if you can return to work, this shouldn’t stop you from seeking legal help. You’re not alone, and you do not have to settle a car accident claim without an attorney. You deserve to have a personal injury lawyer
in your corner and a team that is ready to support you at no upfront cost. Reach out now
for the money you need, and the representation you deserve.