So you have decided to settle your own Hyannis car accident case but you are wondering how you should prep for it. We have a few suggestions regarding how you should proceed but you should keep in mind that handling your own case can lead to disastrous results. In fact, you might damage your case so much that no lawyer would want to take it. Therefore, you have to be sure you are willing to take the risk before attempting to settle your own case. With that said, here are a few tips to help you with your case.
Find Out The Statute Of Limitations for Your Case
The statute of limitations is the date by which you must file a lawsuit. If you don’t file your case by the given date, the judge will dismiss your case.
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 Section A, anyone who is injured in a car accident must file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the crash. If a loved one died as a result of the car accident and you would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the statute of limitations is also three years.
The court will refuse to consider your case if you file your case after three years, which is why it is very important that you know the statute of limitations for car accidents and how the rules apply to you.
You might think three years is a long time so you don’t need to act now. However, the sooner you file your lawsuit the better. Remember you need to call in witnesses, you need to present your evidence and so on. Witnesses’ memories can become hazy or something might happen to the doctor who treated you and they may not be able to testify. All these are challenges you can avoid by acting early.
Additionally, waiting too long might not be a great strategy if you are planning to solve your case through the insurance claim process. You might not be able to claim that you will file a lawsuit during settlement talks especially if the filing deadline is coming up. A lawsuit can be used as leverage during negotiations with the insurance company so make sure you have plenty of time to file your Hyannis car accident lawsuit.
Don’t make Settlement Offers Before Your Maximum Medical Improvement
You’ve probably heard a lot of people saying that when you hire a car accident lawyer, your case will take too long to resolve. Part of the reason why your case might take a little longer than anticipated is because there are a number of things that your lawyer has to take care of in order for you to win your case.
One of those things is to ensure that you reach maximum medical improvement. You can read all about what maximum medical improvement is in this blog post. You can also read about why your case is taking too long in this blog post.
While we realize that you might want to settle your case much faster and get your money, this would not be a good idea especially if you haven’t yet reached maximum medical improvement. You can only know how much your case is worth after you have reached maximum medical improvement. If your injuries required you to go into surgery, you might want to wait and see if your treatment is working out the way it was intended to.
However, if the damages you incurred are more than the defendant’s policy limits, then you can go ahead and settle your case.
Don’t Give Recorded Statements
We also advise that you do not contact the defendant’s insurance company if you are not ready to negotiate a settlement. In fact, do not give in to any of their demands before reaching maximum medical improvement. Additionally, you shouldn’t sign a release, granting them access to your medical records. Giving this kind of access allows the insurer to review your entire medical history.
Some insurers have a habit of insisting that plaintiffs must make a statement so that they can start processing their claim. This is not true. All you need to do is to let the insurer know that you will make a settlement demand and provide necessary information when you have reached maximum recovery.
The only time you should speak to the insurer is to demand the claim number and the policy insurance limit of the defendant. All this information should be in the form of a declarations sheet for the policy.
Some states don’t require liability policy limit disclosure so the insurer isn’t legally obligated to provide you with the information. You can still try to settle your case in such a situation but it won’t be easy. If you live in such a state, then you might want to hire a lawyer to help you.
Luckily, in Massachusetts all insurers are legally obligated to reveal the defendant’s policy limits upon receiving a written demand from the injured party.
What You Need Before Negotiations
You need a demand letter and all documentation necessary to support your claim. You need documentation to support your wage loss claim and documents showing medical records and medical bills. You also need a copy of the long form accident report. You also need to obtain witness statements if possible.
You also need to make a list of all your out of pocket expenses such as over the counter medicine, bandages, etc. You will need to provide receipts for claimed expenses.
If you have any pictures of the accident scene, damages property or your injuries, make sure you attach copies of them in your demand letter.
Get a Free Consultation for Your Hyannis Car Accident Case
If you have a Hyannis car accident case, you might need to consult an expert so that they can tell you if your case is worth pursuing or not. At Kevin P Landry, we can evaluate your case for free. We can estimate how much your case is worth based on the extent of your injuries and a host of other factors. Call us to day at 508-775-1660 or visit our Hyannis offices for a free initial consultation.