When you are injured in a car accident in St. George, Utah, you have a bodily injury claim in addition to the property damage claim that you have probably already settled. This bodily injury claim is the part where an experienced personal injury attorney will be invaluable to you. If you wish to attempt to proceed on your own, there are some basics that you must understand. Even an excellent understanding of the basics will not compensate for the value of years of education and experience that an injury attorney would bring to your claim, but a basic understanding is better than no understanding at all.
When you are injured because of the negligence of another, the cost of the harm rests with the at-fault party in the eyes of the law. Most drivers cannot afford to pay to right their wrongs. That is why drivers carry liability insurance. The at-fault party’s insurance provider will be responsible to step up to the plate and pay you an amount that is enough to put you back to pre-accident status. Simply paying your medical bills associated with the accident is usually not enough to fully compensate you. Insurance adjusters know this, yet they will typically offer you that amount as a settlement. An experienced attorney knows that you are entitled to recover damages for lost wages, as well as general damages such as loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress. The value of every case is different. The value of each case depends on a vast variety of factors and it ultimately depends on how your case would come out in court. An attorney can assess whether you can prove the necessary elements necessary for a particular cause of action for negligence, and then determine how much your case might be worth in the eyes of a judge or jury.
If you are ready to attempt this process yourself, you should obtain all the records you can. The police report and all medical bills and records are extremely helpful if not essential. Once you have those, submit them to the insurance adjuster along with a demand letter. Your demand letter should describe all the damages you suffered and should ask for a specific dollar amount to settle your claim in exchange for you signing a release that dictates that the at-fault driver and his insurance company are now off the hook. Keep in mind that the demand letter is just the beginning of what could be a lengthy negotiation process, therefore, always ask for a number much greater than the amount you would actually be willing to settle for.
When your insurance company responds to your demand, they will do the same thing to you. They will offer you an amount quite a bit lower than what they might actually be willing to pay. The task is then to negotiate for an amount towards the higher end of the available spectrum. The problem is, the insurance adjuster does this process every day, they know how to compare your claim to others, the adjustor also has attorneys at his or her disposal to predict how your case may come out in trial. Without help, this negotiation can be a very difficult one to win because the odds are heavily stacked against you. If you feel like David and you are ready to take on Goliath, then proceed with your claim and make sure to document absolutely everything that you do. If you run into a troublesome patch along the road, it’s still not too late to involve an auto accident attorney.
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.