Did you know that car accidents injure approximately three million people in the United States? There is a chance you might be involved in an accident at some point in your life, no matter how careful and defensive you are behind the wheel. The cost of a car accident can be high, with medical bills, lost wages, and repair costs all factored in. Below are the 10 ways to get the most money from a car accident.
What Is the Duration of an Accident on Your Record?
Car accidents are stressful and, in some cases, life-changing. Aside from the shock of the accident, you'll also have to deal with insurance, paperwork, and police reports.
If you've been in an accident, big or small, you might be wondering if it will be reported on your driving record and, if so, for how long.
Understanding how accident reporting works can help you get a better idea of how long an accident will stay on your record.
Accidents can happen at any time, and for many people, that means their record is stained with an accident. It depends on the severity of the accident and your driving history.
If you are involved in a serious accident, it is likely that your record will reflect that for years to come. If you have a clean driving history, however, your accident may only stay on your record for a year or two.
Here are some examples of how long states keep accident records for drivers:
- In California, it's 3 years from the accident date.
- New York holds it for 3 years from the end of the year in which the accident happened.
- New Hampshire: 5 years from the accident date.
- Oregon: At least 5 years.
As you can see, an accident can stay on your record for 3 to 5 years in most cases. However, you should double-check your state's driving record requirements, as they may vary.
Now let’s move on to the 10 ways to get the most money from a car accident.
1. Consult a personal injury lawyer
The most common misunderstanding about hiring a car accident lawyer is that it’s not worth the expense. However, claims representatives employ various strategies to reduce your claim value. Insurance adjusters will take advantage of your lack of knowledge if you don’t have a personal injury attorney representing your case. They want you to sign away on deals, which might not be in your best interest.
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is the most important thing you can do to strengthen your claim and ultimately get the most money from your car accident. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have successfully recovered millions of dollars for their clients by working tirelessly on their behalf.
2. Insure your vehicle
Not only will this protect you financially if something happens, but it can also help prove fault in an accident should one occur.
Consider insurance when you buy a new car. You need to make sure that if something happens to your car, you’re not going to be out a lot of money. But did you know that insurance can also protect you financially if you’re in an accident?
If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company will help pay for your medical expenses and any property damage that was caused in the accident. And if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, your insurance company will still help pay for the damages. So make sure that you not only have liability insurance but also uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to protect you financially if something happens to your car.
3. Claim benefits
Whether it’s workers' compensation, personal injury protection (PIP), or uninsured motorist coverage, these programs can provide financial assistance after an accident.
Auto accidents can be incredibly costly, not just in terms of damage to the vehicle but also in terms of injuries to the people involved. In order to ensure that you are able to recover as much as possible from an accident, it is important to understand your options for claiming benefits. This includes workers' compensation, personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage.
Workers' compensation, or workers' compensation insurance, is a state-mandated program first enacted in the United States in 1937. The goal of this program is to compensate injured employees for their medical expenses and lost wages during the time that they are unable to work.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP is a separate program that was implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1974. PIP coverage pays for medical expenses and lost wages if you are involved in an accident where another driver is at fault. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
In the United States, car insurance companies typically charge higher rates to drivers who live in high-crime neighborhoods. Because drivers in these areas are more likely to file a claim. A study by Forbes found that the average annual rate for car insurance was $1,544 for drivers living in high-crime neighborhoods, compared to $1,086 for drivers living in low-crime neighborhoods.
4. Take photos of the damaged vehicle
Don't be afraid to take pictures of the damage to your car. If you have a dash cam, it can help protect you in case someone tries to make up a story about what happened. It'll also help protect you in case of a dispute with the other driver. Make sure to photograph the front, back, and sides of your car, as well as any damage to the windshield or other windows. If there is any visible damage to the other car, be sure to document that as well.
Know your rights and be sure to document everything that happens during the accident. This will help with any negotiations that may take place later on
5. Keep track of your expenses
If you were injured due to another driver's negligence, it’s important to keep track of your medical bills and other accident-related expenses. With a precise estimate of your spending, it'll be easier for the lawyer to determine the total settlement amount you’re entitled to. You may be compensated for the following medical expenses:
- Appointment transportation
- Sturdy medical equipment
- The first visit to the ER
- The ambulance ride to the hospital from the accident scene
- An extended hospital stay following a surgical procedure
- Occupational therapy or physical therapy
- Continual medical attention from specialists
- In-home caregivers to assist you after surgery
- Home modifications needed to help you with mobility
- Treatment for mental health issues related to the accident's emotional trauma
Your medical records are among the most important evidence you'll need to back up any claim for damages following a car accident. You must prove that you followed your doctor's treatment plan to get the most money from your claim.
6. Don’t Reveal Anything to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Following the filing of an insurance claim, the other party's auto insurance company will immediately begin an investigation to determine liability. They will look for ways to assign a percentage of blame to an innocent driver during this process to limit their losses when paying out on the accident claim.
The claims adjuster will most likely call you to obtain a statement and may demand that it be recorded. Remember that anything you say can be used against you in the future, and you are not required by law to speak with the other driver's insurance company. Politely decline any questions about the accident or your injuries. If you've hired a personal injury attorney, let them know and ask the company to not contact you again.
Following a car accident, you may feel compelled to tell your story to family, friends, or on social media platforms. However, posting to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site after filing an auto accident claim can jeopardize your chances of receiving a full and fair settlement amount.
Insurance companies and defense attorneys can use even non-accident-related posts against you. Although it may be difficult, it is usually best to refrain from using social media until your case has been resolved.
8. Continue Working if Your Health Allows It
You should continue working if your health allows it. Independent, brave people are generally favored, and you have a better chance of impressing the jurors if you keep working.
Settlement claims in car accidents can take some time to resolve. The sooner you can provide documentation of your losses and damages, the sooner you can receive compensation for your injuries. Keep all of your receipts and records related to the accident, and keep track of any time missed from work. If you cannot work due to injuries, let your attorney know.
Your case is automatically more valuable if you require surgery. However, you do not want to undergo a surgical procedure to get a higher settlement amount. If you follow the steps outlined above, your lawsuit may be worth more money.
9. Establish who was at fault for the accident
When two cars collide, the question of who is at fault and should pay for damages is often a complicated one. In order to establish blame in a car accident, police officers and insurance adjusters typically look at the evidence from the scene and consult with witnesses. If one driver was clearly more negligent than the other, that driver may be found liable for the damages caused.
In some cases, both drivers may share some of the blame for the accident. In these situations, each driver's insurance company will likely negotiate with each other to try to reach a settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may go to court. This step is necessary in order to determine who is at fault for the accident.
10. Keep your record clean to get the maximum settlement
When you're pulled over for speeding or tailgating, the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your case. But many drivers make common mistakes that can hurt their chances in court.
If you're ticketed for speeding or tailgating, don't panic. There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting the ticket dismissed. First, be polite and respectful to the officer. Next, make sure you have a valid license and proof of insurance. Finally, plead guilty and ask for traffic school. If you take these steps, you'll be on your way to keeping that ticket off your record.
When Should You Report a Car Accident?
A DMV report is required in many states after any accident, regardless of who is at fault. This requirement is frequently subject to a property damage threshold that determines which collisions are “fender-benders” and which are “accidents” that require reporting.
Regardless of where you live, if someone is hurt or killed in a car accident, you must report it to the DMV. Accidents that meet your state's reporting criteria almost always necessitate the assistance of the police or other emergency services. The cops are required to file a DMV report when they are involved. If the police are unable to respond in a timely manner, your state may require you to file a report first.
There we have it, folks. These are the top 10 tips that can help you get the most money from your car accident. Remember to be patient, stay organized, and consult with an attorney if needed. Most importantly, don't let the insurance company take advantage of you; make sure you are getting the compensation you deserve.
When you are in an accident, the insurance company for the other driver will likely contact you soon after to offer a settlement. In most cases, this settlement will be less than the amount of money you are owed. It is important to remember that you are not required to accept this offer and should speak with an attorney before doing so. An attorney can help you understand your rights and what you can expect in a settlement negotiation. They may also be able to assist you in obtaining a fair settlement from your insurance company.
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