If you’ve ever been in an auto accident before, you know how financially devastating they can be. You mind your own business, driving on the same road you take every morning for your evening commute home from work, and someone who didn’t get the message about drinking and driving crashes head-on into your vehicle, coming out of nowhere and too fast for you to avoid. Even if you don’t get injured from such an accident, it’s likely that your car has been severely damaged, requiring thousands to make whole again: and that’s without considering the increase in insurance premiums that can happen even though you aren’t at fault. That one event can ripple, draining your finances for years to come: and that is, again, assuming that you weren’t seriously injured in the aftermath of an accident, which can come with its own long-term consequences.
Auto accidents are a pandemic all their own, as across the United States, statistics for car accidents remain high, as well as the costs involved in recuperating from them. In 2019, for example, according to the national safety council, the total costs in medical bills associated with car accidents topped 463 billion. While you can decrease your chances of getting into an accident by driving defensively and keeping an eye out for any strange behavior from your fellow drivers, you can’t eliminate the possibility of getting into an accident altogether: and unless you want to be one of the people paying thousands upon thousands to put their lives back together after an accident, you’ll want to have a plan in your back pocket that gives you the best chance of recouping your costs.
If you’re looking to find out how to give yourself the best chance of making your money back in settlements and insurance claims, read on, and we’ll talk about some basic steps you can take to increase your chances of recouping quickly.
Get New Insurance
Before you hit the road, you should make sure an affordable insurance provider covers you with comprehensive coverage. Things like accident protection, roadside assistance, and the like are all offered by particular insurance providers, and you can always conduct some research on your own time to see if particular providers pay settlements quickly and take the side of their customers often. If you notice that your particular policy doesn’t cover enough and you’re worried about being unprotected, you can check out our guide on getting quality insurance on a budget.
When an accident occurs, after getting the responsible drivers’ insurance information, you’ll want to document as much of the accident as you can as thoroughly as you can. Be sure to take pictures of injuries you’ve sustained, the liable drivers’ injuries, and damage to both cars, as if you don’t have evidence that these things happened as a direct result of the crash, the other person’s insurance can cast doubt on your claims.
You’ll also want to get the police involved. Some drivers would prefer you didn’t because getting the police involved can raise their insurance premiums; still, give them a call anyway. When officers show up on-site, they are required to fill out an accident report, an authoritative document from a reliable source that can be used to establish liability and back up your claims. Choosing to get the police involved can give you the best chance of reaching a settlement quickly, as it sets the facts of the case in stone in the eyes of the law.
Get a Lawyer Involved
Let’s say that all of the evidence you’ve accumulated isn’t enough, however: that your insurance company doesn’t pay you the needed settlement to cover your medical and auto-shop bills, or that the other driver is uncooperative and doesn’t give you the information you need to file a claim. In those cases, you’ll need to consider hiring an experienced auto attorney who has dealt with cases like yours, one who knows their way around auto accident law and can best argue your case in court.
Choosing to get a professional involved can be a way to efficiently navigate the legal system and get yourself the best settlement possible for your particular case, giving you everything you need to cover bills as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you should find yourself involved in an auto accident, take heart: it doesn’t have to be a crushing financial burden that ripples out for years, affecting you for what feels like forever. Like many other disasters, auto accidents are recoverable: you just have to have the right strategy and the right people by your side.