One of the first things you want to know during the first appointment with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer is how soon your case will settle. You want your car accident settlement as soon as possible to cover your medical care bills and supplement lost wages.
There is no standard answer to this question because each case is unique. However, here are the steps involved in the entire process from the moment you were hit by another car until the final payout.
Steps to Take Immediately After the Accident
Your actions right after the crash can influence the duration and the outcome of your accident claim. A skilled lawyer recommends doing the following:
- Call 9-1-1 to report the accident and ask for an ambulance
- Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene
- Obtain statements and contact details from eyewitnesses.
You will get a visit from an insurance adjuster representing the other driver’s insurance company in a short time, often in the hospital. You must take care to avoid doing the following:
- Discussing the accident beyond giving a brief statement about how it happened
- Signing any document
- Giving a recorded statement
- Accepting a settlement offer, even verbally.
Talk to an Experienced Lawyer
As soon as possible after the accident, get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale car crash attorney at our law firm and schedule a free case review. Bring to the meeting all the relevant evidence you have:
- A copy of the accident report prepared by the police
- Medical records
- Photos and videos
- Witness statements
- Bills and receipts for expenses related to the accident.
If, upon reviewing the evidence, we believe that you have a strong case, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis.
The Attorney Investigates the Accident and Collects Evidence
Your lawyer will start working right away in order to collect sufficient evidence to prove:
- The other driver’s fault
- That you suffered injuries due to the accident
- That the accident resulted in quantifiable economic damages.
This step in the process can take weeks. In some cases, the lawyer may have to petition third parties to obtain evidence, such as:
- CCTV camera footage
- The driver’s phone log from their mobile carrier
- The driver’s history of traffic violations.
Your Lawyer Sends the Demand Letter
Once we have sufficient evidence, we prepare your demand letter and send it to the other driver’s insurance carrier. The letter will contain the reason for your claim, the names of the parties, a description of the accident, and the amount you seek as damages.
At this point, the insurance company will also start investigating the crash with the purpose of finding evidence to disprove your case. They may send a counteroffer, which does not cover all your damages.
The Parties Start Negotiating
At this point, your Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney will start negotiating with the insurance adjuster. Using available evidence, legal principles, and previous experience in similar cases, we will push back against attempts to shortchange you.
What Happens If the Insurer Refuses to Settle?
In some cases, insurance companies refuse to settle, believing that you will drop the claim. In this situation, we will file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The insurance company is obliged to defend them in court.
Thus, once we notify the insurer of the pending lawsuit, they usually become more open to settling the claim out of court. They already know that you have strong evidence and professional legal representation, thus you are very likely to win in court.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer!
Reaching a fair car accident settlement will not happen overnight. But, if you want the best possible outcome, let an experienced attorney handle your case.
We offer each new client a free case review, and you pay no upfront legal fees. Call us now at 768-686-2857 to talk to a skilled Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer!