The car accident settlement process in New Bedford starts when you start gathering information about your accident and ends when you receive compensation for your losses. Let’s get a little into how the process works.
When Do You Present Your Car Accident Claim?
It’s recommended that you start gathering information about your car accident immediately after the accident but you won’t be able to present it and try to get compensation until you have reached maximum medical improvement. We recently wrote about what maximum medical improvement is and you can read all about it here.
Your doctor will tell you when you reach maximum medical improvement but if you feel you haven’t, you can always seek a second medical opinion.
You need to wait to reach maximum medical improvement because this is the only time the value of your case can be accurately evaluated. If you settle your claim before then, you risk not being fully compensated. Let’s say you get into a car accident and hurt your back. If you file a claim immediately after being discharged from hospital, the amount you will be able to recover will only cover your medical expenses. However, if you haven’t reached maximum medical improvement and complications arise soon after you were discharged from the hospital, you won’t be able to file another claim.
When you reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company and you sign on the dotted line, you give up all rights to make any more claims arising out of the accident.
Are There Any Deadlines?
There is what is known as a statute of limitations whereby if you do not file your personal injury claim within a specific period, your case will be dismissed in court. Massachusetts has its own statute of limitations. If, however, you plan to sue the government, there are special rules that you must comply with that could affect the deadline for filing your claim. Make sure that you speak to a personal injury lawyer in New Bedford to determine a way forward for your case.
What’s the First Step of the Settlement Negotiation Process?
First, you need to send a demand package to the insurance company. Your package will include a copy of all documents that prove your claim and a letter explaining how the car accident happened, why the insurance company should pay you and all the consequences of the accident.
Your letter should explain how the accident has affected you and how much you will accept to settle your claim. Your letter should also include evidence that supports your claim.
What Happens After You Send Your Letter of Demand?
The insurance company will review your letter, evaluate your claim and then contact you with an answer. You might get a response within a few days or a month later. If you do not get a response within one month, you should contact the insurance company to find out what’s happening.
If you suspect the insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact your New Bedford personal injury lawyer so that they can look into it.
When the insurance company responds, they normally have a counter-offer. This is normal and is part of the negotiation process. If, however, they accept your initial demand, just know that you asked for very little.
You should expect a back and forth negotiation process that will eventually lead to a car accident settlement.
Facts to Remember about Insurance Companies
They might be friendly, they might be corporative but insurance companies do not care about you. They will not inform you of your rights or give you too much money. They will take advantage of your naivety to protect their own interests.
You have a better chance of settling for a fair amount if you show the insurance adjuster that you know what you are doing and you know the value of your claim.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Will Make the Entire Car Settlement Process Easier
You do not have to worry about drafting a demand letter or sitting at a table with the insurance adjusters trying to negotiate a fair settlement if you hire an experienced and qualified lawyer.
At Kevin P Landry Law Offices, we have so much experience working with insurance companies that we know all the tricks they use. If you have been in a car accident in New Bedford, we can analyze your case for free. Simply call us at 508-999-0800 today or visit our New Bedford offices for a free initial consultation.