How to maximize your insurance settlement after a car wreck
A serious car crash can change your life. It can happen so fast, and then you have so much to deal with at once. You may be seriously injured, and if you had passengers, you may have loved ones or friends who also need help.
The first thing to do after an accident is to check how everyone is doing. Second is to call 911 immediately for help.
Next, record your accident
After you’re sure everyone is OK, use your cell phone, or pen and paper, to record contact information from other drivers involved, and from any witnesses. Then use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the accident site right away.
Ask a passenger or bystander to get others’ contact information and take photos if you don’t feel up to doing it yourself.
Photos from the scene will later make your insurance claim more effective, and they provide invaluable evidence if you and your attorney decide to take your case go to court.
Here’s the evidence you should try to capture:
- The accident site, including skid marks, scattered vehicle parts, and other debris. Taking photos from several different angles gives a more complete picture of the scene.
- Damage to all vehicles caused by the accident. Take close-up photos and some from 10 to 15 feet away to give a full perspective of the extent of damages.
- Your injuries and injuries of your passengers. Document these injuries at first, and continue to do so as you receive medical treatment and throughout rehabilitation.
- The location and condition of traffic signals and traffic signs, especially if any are poorly functioning or obscured by trees or other objects.
- Any weather conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
Then, keep good records
Keeping good records after an accident greatly strengthens your claim and can help you get a better settlement. That means requesting a copy of the police report and saving all your receipts from medical care, including ambulance transport, surgery, doctor’s office visits, and physical therapy.
When you feel up to it, jot down everything you can remember from the accident. But don’t discuss your accident on any type of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Even if you are using your privacy settings, an insurance company can access this information and use it against you.
File a claim with the proper insurance company
As soon as you’re able, start thinking about filing a claim with the right insurance companies – yours and/or the other driver’s. Virginia has strict statute of limitations laws, so get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
After filing an insurance claim, require the insurance company (yours or the other driver’s) to give you any settlement offers in writing. Remember that an insurance company seeks to maximize their profit. This means they’ll likely offer you a lowball settlement amount that won’t fully cover the costs of your injuries. An insurance company’s first offer is never its best.
So, before you talk to an insurance company or agree to anything, you may want to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney first — someone who knows how to calculate full costs of injuries. At a time like this, you want someone on your side who’s working just for you.
We’re on your side
At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we understand how devastating a car accident can be for you and your family. In fact, we have been through it ourselves. For us, helping our friends and neighbors in times of need isn’t just our job – it’s a calling that we pursue with extraordinary diligence and compassion. Our results speak for themselves.
If you or a loved on has been injured or killed in a car accident because of another person’s negligence, we’re here to help. Call (804) 413-6777 to meet with us for free. Also check out our no-fee guarantee, which means we only get paid when you get paid.
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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.