After a car accident, seeking medical attention should be your only concern. The next step is filing a claim through the insurance company covering the driver liable for the accident. The settlement offer will depend on many factors, such as the severity and circumstances of the accident, property damage, and injuries sustained. Hiring a car wreck lawyer in Jackson, Wyoming maximizes your chances of getting a good offer.
Ask a Car Wreck Lawyer in Jackson,Wyoming: How Do You Know If You Get a Good Settlement Offer?
Most insurance companies will offer a settlement to avoid a trial, which can be more expensive and time-consuming. But determining what constitutes a fair offer varies from case to case, especially if you suffered substantial injuries and will require continued medical treatment. Before accepting any settlement or even talking to insurance adjusters, you need to find a good lawyer to review your case.
The Role of Insurance Adjusters
After you file a claim with an insurance company, an adjuster will begin an investigation to determine how the accident happened, who is liable, and the extent of the damages. Their primary role is to protect the insurance company, so you should never talk to them without your attorney present.
Insurance adjusters may ask for medical records or recorded statements, which the insurance company may use to refute your claim. It’s imperative to understand that you are not required to give them any information other than your lawyer’s contact.
Your Role and Your Lawyer’s Role
Insurance companies are known for trying to minimize the settlement amounts, so it’s your job (with the help of your lawyer) to provide proof of your damages. It’s crucial to get copies of all your medical records, document your income losses, and work with medical professionals to calculate future losses resulting from your injuries.
You should never accept a settlement offer if you are still undergoing significant treatment, as you may incur hefty medical expenses that you’ll need to pay out of pocket. The statute of limitations to file a car accident compensation claim in Wyoming is four years. Even when it’s better to file your claim fast, you have plenty of time to recover from your injuries before starting any legal procedures.
Factors that Affect a Settlement Offer
Insurance adjusters and lawyers will try to determine several factors when determining an offer. The most important include:
- The severity of your injuries and likelihood of recovery
- Economic and noneconomic losses (including present and future loss of income)
- Property damage
Other factors that may affect the settlement offer include limits to insurance policies and partial fault for the accident. Wyoming law states comparative or modified negligence, in which you can collect damages according to your percentage of responsibility, as long as it is lower than 50%.
Underinsured or Uninsured Drivers
According to Wyoming law, motor vehicle drivers must have insurance coverage for up to $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries. However, this amount may not be enough to cover your medical expenses. If your policy covers underinsured or uninsured motorists, you will need to file a claim with them, even if you were not responsible for the accident.
If the other driver was uninsured, you might also need to file a lawsuit in a civil court. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Wyoming is one of the states with the lowest percentages of uninsured drivers (5.8%). Finding a good car wreck lawyer in Jackson, Wyoming is imperative if you need to file a lawsuit against an uninsured driver.
Negotiating a Settlement Offer
The first offer you get after filing a car accident claim with an insurance company will usually be on the lower side. Don’t be discouraged by this, and never accept any offer without first reviewing it with your lawyer. The first offer is only the starting point of a negotiation process. Keep in mind that a settlement negotiation may be long but will maximize your chances of getting fair compensation.
To negotiate an offer, you must talk to your lawyer and determine what you consider a fair compensation amount. Insurance companies may stall the process to get you to accept a low amount, so you must be patient.
When to File a Lawsuit
If you have negotiated with the insurance company, and their offer is still not enough to cover your medical expenses and other losses, you may need to take your case to court. You will also need to proceed with a lawsuit when the insurance company denies your claim. While the court process may be longer, sometimes it’s the only way to be compensated fairly. Keep in mind that you must remain under policy limits for your claim to be accepted.
Negotiating with car insurance companies can be overwhelming, and you need help from a licensed attorney. Before hiring an attorney, ask about their fees (usually a percentage of your settlement amount) and success rate in similar cases.