If you’re involved in a car accident, your first instinct may be to panic. You may feel overwhelmed by the potential complications, the inability to drive for weeks or months, and the potential for serious injuries. However, if you take a moment to collect yourself and act proactively, settling your auto accident claim without the assistance of a lawyer is usually possible and not so difficult. Unless you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. Then hiring an attorney becomes almost mandatory. Fortunately, most drivers are sober when they get into car accidents. Let’s look at some tips on how to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer if you cannot because of personal circumstances and needs.
Check your insurance policy.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have enough coverage to settle your claim. Most states make drivers prove financial responsibility by carrying a certain amount of liability insurance in their car. If you’ve been involved in an accident with another driver, you’ll need to show enough coverage to cover their claims.
If you don’t have enough coverage, your insurance company will try to get you to claim another policy, like your home or health insurance. Don’t let them do this. Insurers fight tooth and nail to avoid paying claims, and they have teams of lawyers that are very adept at digging up dirt on you and your family. That’s why you don’t want to go to them first and make a claim.
You want to go to your insurer first and see how much coverage you have. You’ll want to be honest. If you don’t have enough coverage, you’ll want to add more anyway. With all the new laws on hit and run accidents, driving without adequate coverage or proof of financial responsibility will result in higher penalties and fines. They can even take your car away.
Get a Police Report
The second thing you should do is to get a police report. You should get the report as soon as you can; you don’t want the report details to become hazy with time and be forgotten with time. The report will have the names and contact details of all the involved parties, the times and details of the accident itself, as well as any available evidence.
You’ll want to contact the accident victim and see if they have any evidence. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, you’ll still want to get a police report. If you’ve been cited for a traffic violation, you should make sure the citation is accurate because a traffic infraction can affect your insurance premium. The police report will also have the names and contact details of any witnesses. Witnesses can be very helpful in terms of corroborating your side of the story or contradicting theirs.
Contact The Other Party’s insurance company.
Once you’ve got a police report, you should contact the other driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. By law, the other driver’s insurance company has a certain amount of time to respond to you. It’s usually around 30 days. You should request a copy of their policy and give them all the information about your injuries. Be up-front about your medical condition, both short-term and long-term.
Your state may have special rules about how you can settle a car accident claim without a lawyer. In some states, you have to go straight to the insurance company and give them the first right of refusal. In other states, you can try to start a settlement negotiation with the driver, but you may have to give the insurance company first refusal if nothing comes from negotiations with the driver. You may not have to start with the company that insures the other driver. If you were in a hit-and-run accident, the company that insures you may have to pay for your injuries without a settlement.
Exchange Repair Estimates
If the accident is minor and your car can be repaired, you should start a repair estimate conversation with the other driver. If your car can’t be repaired and you’re just looking to get it declared a total loss, you should talk to the other driver about their car.
If you can’t agree, you can try mediation and see if a neutral mediator can come to a resolution. Mediation is usually free and available from the city or county where the accident occurred. The mediator will take statements from both parties and try to agree. If you can’t resolve your claim with the other driver, you should try to get their insurance company to make a settlement offer.
To Determine the Value of Your Claim
You may want to hire a car accident lawyer to help you determine the value of your claim, even if you’re trying to avoid hiring a lawyer. You can use the services of an expert car accident claims adjuster to help you come up with an estimate.
To give yourself an idea of what your claim might be worth, you’ll want to take several factors into account, including:
– The extent of your injuries, both short- and long-term.
– How long you’ll be out of work?
– How much it will cost to cover your medical bills?
– How much it will cost to cover lost wages?
– How much it will cost to repair your car?
How to Negotiate a Car Accident Claim Settlement Without a Lawyer?
Keep in mind that an insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible, while your goal is to get as much as possible. You’ll want to go into negotiations with a plan, a timeline, and a deadline. This should be when you want to end negotiations and go to court. When you go to court, you’re starting all over again, and it’s a lot more complicated. You’ll want to make sure to have a complete and thorough file of your negotiations.
This should include copies of all correspondence and your notes on the conversations that took place. To help you come up with a settlement figure, you can use a car accident injury settlement calculator. A car accident settlement calculator will ask you a few questions about your accident and your injuries, then calculate an estimated settlement amount. Keep in mind that these calculators are just estimates, and they’re not 100% accurate. They’re more like guidelines to help you come up with a ballpark settlement amount.
After the accident, you may feel overwhelmed. However, if you take a moment to collect yourself and act proactively, settling your car accident claim without the assistance of a lawyer is usually possible and not so difficult. You’ll want to start by getting a police report, contacting the other driver’s insurance company, and exchanging repair estimates. You’ll want to determine the value of your claim, and then negotiate a settlement without a lawyer.