How Can I Get The Most Money for My Phoenix, AZ Car Accident?
When you’ve been in an accident, it’s natural to want to maximize your settlement. Accidents come with a lot of expenses. They can disrupt your ability to work and can throw your finances into a tailspin.
You may also be worried about the percentage you’ll lose to legal fees, which is also natural. You’re usually going to come out ahead when you work with a personal injury attorney…but maximizing your settlement never hurts.
Great news, though: there’s a lot you can do to make your settlement stronger.
Take the Right Actions Directly After Your Accident
Things you say directly after your accident can have a major impact on your case.
For example, you need to resist the impulse to apologize. You may do it because you’re a nice person, but avoid it if you can. The insurance companies can use apologies against you, saying you took responsibility for the accident. Phoenix, AZ has a “tort” system, which means determining who is “at-fault” for the accident determines who is the plaintiff and who is the defendant.
We’re also a “comparative negligence” state, which means each party is assigned a percentage of fault. You can recover as long as you’re not more than 51% at fault, but your award amount is reduced by your fault amount.
Next, unless you are too medically compromised to do it, you should be proactive about getting information. Get the other driver’s name, number, and insurance information. Call the police, but be careful what you say. Get the names and numbers of any witnesses. Take photographs.
When the EMTs arrive, get medical treatment. Get it even if you’re not sure whether you’re hurt or not. Whiplash takes several days to show up, for example, and if you turn down medical treatment you are basically saying you weren’t damaged. If you try to come back later and say you were you could get a lot less money.
Again, be careful what you say. This is not the time to be stoic. If you’re in pain, say so.
Follow all of your doctor’s instructions, even the ones that seem pointless or overly cautious. Again, if you don’t then this fact can be used against you later. This can be a huge problem if you are more injured than you think.
Secure an Attorney Right Away
Here’s a little-known fact. You don’t have to wait to hire a car accident attorney. Many people think you have to wait until the insurance company starts causing problems, or until they’ve reached maximum medical improvement, or until they’ve filed claims.
You can call an attorney literally while you’re still nursing your injuries in a hospital room. In fact, you should. Your personal injury attorney can file your claim for you. You can skip dealing with the insurance company altogether, which means they get fewer opportunities to try to trap you into saying things you shouldn’t. You can just refer them to your attorney and stop dealing with them altogether. This is the ideal situation if you want to maximize your payouts.
Follow Your Attorney’s Advice
Once you get a car accident attorney, put their expertise to work. Do exactly what they say. Gather the evidence they ask you to gather. Avoid saying and doing the things they tell you to avoid saying and doing. If they tell you to stay off social media until you’ve got a check in hand (and they will) then you do it.
They give you that advice for a reason. The reason is to keep you from harming your case. This frees them to build the strongest possible case for you.
None of these steps guarantee a massive payout, of course. They just give you your best chance of getting one.