A car accident settlement is designed to compensate you for any financial losses you suffered due to a crash. While no one starts their day expecting to suffer injuries in a car accident, it happens more often than you might think. When you suffer injuries due to another person’s negligence, they may be liable for your financial losses. Many clients want to know how to negotiate a higher car accident settlement. Our team of personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Carlton F. Bennett, PLLC, is here to help.
We can walk you through the process of filing a car accident lawsuit and help you determine whether you qualify. Contact our office today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Car Accident Statistics in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported 967 traffic fatalities in Virginia in 2021. Of these, 98 involved teenagers between 15 and 19 years old. Additionally, Virginia reported approximately 161 traffic injuries every single day. Car accidents can happen for a variety of different reasons. If a car accident occurs due to another person’s negligence, you probably can hold them liable for your financial losses. If you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, you must prove their negligence caused your losses. If you don’t know how to prove a driver was negligent, you’re not alone. That’s why people hire attorneys. An experienced car accident attorney can walk you through the process of proving negligence and securing your settlement.
Auto Accident Settlement Negotiation Tips
Our team has decades of experience helping our clients secure favorable car accident settlements. Some common questions about auto accident settlements include:
- How do I negotiate more money from a car accident claim?
- How to get a higher payout from my car accident case?
- Can an attorney help me increase my car accident settlement?
An attorney at the Law Office of Carlton F. Bennett can answer your questions and walk you through the lawsuit process.
Tip #1 – Start the Lawsuit Process Soon After Your Accident
The evidence surrounding your car accident claim will fade away over time. Therefore, it is critical to initiate the lawsuit process soon after your accident occurs. If you wait too long, the court may bar you from bringing your claim altogether. Additionally, you should contact the insurance company as soon as possible to file your claim. Your recollection of the accident is likely best in the immediate aftermath of the crash, not several months after. If you cannot file a claim with your insurance company, make sure you document the details you remember about your crash in case you forget them later.
Tip #2 – Proving the Opposing Party’s Fault
Virginia is considered a “fault” state when it comes to facing liability for losses suffered in a car crash. Virginia refers to the party responsible for the crash as the “at-fault party.” The at-fault party bears financial responsibility for any losses stemming from the accident. You can prove that a party is liable for an accident by showing that they breached their duty of care to drive safely. Many driver actions indicate a breach of duty, such as:
- Ignoring posted traffic signs and signals,
- Driving recklessly, or
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Evidence like police reports, lab results, or eyewitness testimony may help you establish the at-fault party’s liability for the collision.
Tip #3 – Document Relevant Information About Your Crash
Documenting your collision typically starts with contacting law enforcement authorities. Virginia law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to report the accident to law enforcement immediately if it results in injury to or the death of any person. When you report an accident to law enforcement, they will create a formal accident report. This accident report will likely include:
- Names of the parties involved and their insurance providers;
- Types of vehicles involved in the accident;
- Date, time, and conditions at the time of the crash; and
- Opinions regarding the cause of the accident.
Along with contacting law enforcement, you can take other steps after your car accident to preserve evidence to prove who caused the collision. Seek out witnesses who saw the collision and obtain their contact information so your lawyer can reach out to them for testimony. Additionally, take photographs of the accident scene that illustrate the cause or aftermath of the collision.
Tip #4 – Calculate Your Car Accident Damages
Each settlement amount will differ depending on the facts of your case and the extent of your injuries. Damages that might apply to your case include:
- Medical bills,
- Rehabilitation costs,
- Loss of future earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering,
- Lost wages,
- Disfigurement, and
The higher your damages are, the larger the settlement offer you should receive. In most cases, insurance companies will start with a settlement offer far below what you deserve. With a qualified lawyer in your corner, we can negotiate with the insurance company for you and ensure you receive a fair offer.
Tip #5 – Do Not Accept Early Settlement Offers
The vast majority of car accident claims end with a settlement instead of a trial. Insurance providers make more money if you accept a settlement offer lower than your claim is worth. The adjusters may give you a lowball settlement offer hoping you will opt for the quick payout instead of pursuing the full extent of your losses. Consult an experienced car accident lawyer to review any settlement offer to ensure it fairly compensates you.
Tip #6 – Consult With a Qualified Car Accident Settlement Attorney
With more than 47 years of combined legal experience, our team at The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett knows what it takes to protect our clients’ rights and secure favorable settlements. Do not let an insurance company settle your accident claim for less than you deserve. Contact an attorney at our office today to schedule your free initial consultation.