If you are the victim of a DUI accident, then it means that you are facing life-long consequences from another person’s poor decision. That driver was behind the wheel while under the influence. Their impairment and lapse in judgment have a domino effect that affects other people – like you.
In the initial stages after a DUI accident, injured victims usually focus on medical treatments and recovery. But, whether you require hospital admission or a few hours of ER care, your highest priority is focusing on your health.
Once everything starts to calm down, it’s common for DUI accident victims to ask other questions. For example, how are you going to pay these medical bills? Will the injuries affect your lifestyle in the coming years?
It’s an excellent time to talk to a personal injury attorney for recommendations. For example, when another driver causes an accident, you might be a good candidate for an insurance payout. Your attorney can offer assistance in selecting the right strategy to maximize your available compensation.
Follow these tips to improve the outcome of your insurance negotiations:
Tip #1: Choose the Right Attorney
Don’t pick a random legal firm without asking about their relevant experience. You deserve to work with a team that has years of experience in personal injury and DUI cases. Selecting the right attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make during this time.
Your DUI attorney can offer advice about settlement strategies and whether you should go to court. Additionally, an attorney provides full-service support with filings, paperwork, and more.
Tip #2: Choose a Target Settlement Amount
Your attorney will help you put together a demand letter to send to the insurance company. This paperwork outlines the compensation you deserve and starts the negotiation process.
How much is your claim worth? It’s essential to add up the numbers and determine the right amount you are asking for in the letter. There is a sweet spot to optimizing the likelihood of a good payout. Asking too much makes your claim seem over-the-top. But asking for too little means that you are likely leaving money on the table.
Remember that you won’t necessarily receive the amount from the demand letter. Instead, this is just the initial step to begin negotiations and find a win-win situation with the insurance company. First, the insurance adjuster will have questions and ask for evidence. Then, your attorney will help you decide if you should move the number up or down, depending on how the conversation is going.
Tip #3: Don’t Take the First Offer
It might be tempting to finish the process by accepting the first offer that comes through. Usually, this initial number seems more than generous. But remember that the insurance company’s goal is to reduce the overall amount they need to pay. So, this first offer is likely lower than what you could receive.
If it’s a reasonable offer, then your attorney might suggest making a counteroffer. The goal is to show that you are trying to find a space for compromise. On the other hand, if the offer is too far off from the amount you would like to receive, then your attorney might suggest a new course of legal action.
Tip #4: Build a Solid Case
In addition to sending a letter with your requested compensation, you also need to show the documentation to back up your claim. Medical bills require invoices and billing statements to show the dates and amounts due. But it is harder to quantify other costs like lost wages and pain and suffering.
You’ll need to back your request with solid evidence showing why you deserve the compensation. Your DUI accident attorney can offer personalized recommendations to justify the reasons why you qualify for the money.
Also, remember that you can ask the insurance company to justify their point of view. For example, if they come back with a low offer, request information about why they feel it is a reasonable payout. Then you can use these specific reasons to offer additional evidence to support your side of the negotiations.
Tip #5: Focus on Facts and Emotions
Factual evidence is essential to build your insurance case. But, at the same time, it’s also necessary to emphasize emotional points that show the pain and suffering you are experiencing.
You can’t put a dollar amount on the emotional stress you are experiencing. But you can paint a picture to show the severity of the accident. For example, sharing a picture of the smashed car can help the insurance adjuster see how much damage the impaired driver caused. Building the emotional elements of your case is beneficial in helping you get a fair settlement from the insurance company.
Tip #6: Finalize the Settlement on Paper
A handshake agreement is never enough when you are working with an insurance company. You might come to an agreement through conversation. But always follow up to get the settlement details in writing.
As soon as you come to terms, confirm the details in a letter to the adjuster. The written information can be short and to the point. Simply state the settlement amount and any other essential information you determined in the negotiations. Also, list the timeline for when you expect to receive the settlement.
Tip #7: File a Civil Claim if Necessary
The hope is that you will be able to reach a settlement agreement out of court. But if the insurance company isn’t offering a reasonable payout for your DUI accident, then it might be necessary to file a civil lawsuit. Your attorney can assist in this process.
Most insurance companies want to settle these claims outside of court. So, be proactive in the negotiations first before jumping to conclusions about filing a lawsuit.
DUI Accident? Call Our Pro Team
Do you need legal assistance after a DUI accident? Our experienced team at Shamieh Law is here to assist. Reach out to schedule a consultation so you can learn more about the available services we are offering.