Settling a Car Accident Claim
At Tapalian Law, we understand the difficulty and confusion you may be experiencing after a traumatic car accident. Getting injured in an auto accident can be a traumatic and chaotic time, both physically and mentally. While you struggle to recover, you may wonder what steps to take next to seek compensation for your losses. Attorney David Tapalian has worked with thousands of clients over the past 20 years as a Rhode Island car accident lawyer and understands the stress that ensues after getting hurt. If you are not sure how to proceed in seeking damages in a car accident settlement after a serious crash, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law are here to help you every step of the way.Timeline for a Car Accident Claim
Although every car accident is unique, there is a general timeline for proceeding with a claim:
- You are injured in a car accident
- Always call the police. Having the police arrive at the scene of the crash is the best way to document the accident and obtain the necessary information of the at fault driver. After the police assess the situation and take statements from both parties, a police report will be documented. It is important you obtain a copy of this document, because sometimes the information is inaccurate and may need to be revised. If you notice significant errors in the police report, you should have a competent legal representative reach out to the police officer to rectify the discrepancy.
- Seek medical attention right away
- Seek immediate medical care for your injuries, regardless of their severity. Even if you merely have stiffness and soreness from the impact of the collision, it is important that you treat with a medical provider immediately.
- Consult a Rhode Island car accident attorney
- Tapalian Law can help you negotiate a car accident settlement with the insurance company to ensure you are fairly compensated for your losses. While some people choose to file a claim alone, an experienced attorney can help you understand difficult aspects of the law and the confusing information that the insurance companies request. Remember, the goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little monetary reward as possible. The more you talk to the insurance companies as an injured victim in a Rhode Island car accident, the less valuable your case could become.
- An accident settlement is negotiated
- If liability for the crash is not cut-and-dry, as often happens with motor vehicle accidents, the insurance company may take some time to investigate who was entirely at fault. Rhode Island is a comparative negligence state, which means that fault for a crash may be shared by both motorists and a shared fault percentage determined. This process can take weeks or months. However, there are various tools a skilled accident lawyer can use to persuade the defendants insurance company to accept liability and settle the car accident claim much sooner.
- If you were struck by a vehicle insured in Rhode Island, you may be able to use a mandatory arbitration provision of motor vehicle insurance. Every insurance policy issued in RI must contain a provision, that if the claim value is less than $50,000 the defendant must submit to mandatory nonbinding arbitration. While this doesn’t issue an order or force the insurance company to do anything, it is often used as a weighty tool in the settlement process. The mere threat of arbitration can scare an insurance company into appropriate action.
- Initially, insurance companies often attempt to low-ball your settlement amount so they can settle quickly and cost-efficiently. Your car accident settlement attorney can send a demand that requests far more compensation than the insurance company would offer you if you didn’t retain legal representation.
- Eventually, in most cases both parties are able to come to an agreement that satisfies both sides.
- When Your Lawyer & the Insurance Company Can’t Agree- If your attorney and the insurance company cannot come to a mutually acceptable agreement, a civil lawsuit can be filed against the insurance company. This is a lengthy and costly process that happens only rarely. The insurance companies would rather settle privately with you than spend the time and expense of court proceedings. However, if you deserve more compensation than they are willing to pay, this may be the best course of action.
- You receive compensation for the accident
- Compensation may include money for lost wages, medical bills, or pain and suffering. If you have questions about what you may be entitled to, consult with your lawyer for settlement specifics.
- Compensation may also include valuation for future pain and suffering due to your motor vehicle crash injuries. In addition, you may be entitled to future lost wages and/or lost earning capacity. Only an experienced Rhode Island car accident lawyer can properly present your case and maximize value.
The amount of compensation that you receive for your injuries in an auto accident can vary greatly based on certain factors:
- Injuries: The amount of compensation you receive is partly determined by the extent of your injuries.
- The more severe your injuries, the longer it will take to settle your claim. An experienced attorney like David Tapalian can help you obtain a medical opinion and documentation that details your future prognosis.
- The insurance companies also request documentation detailing all of your medical treatment before making any offers.
- If your injuries are severe and you are not offered the compensation you deserve, Tapalian Law can help you recover a fairer settlement by taking the insurance company to court.
- Damages: The severity of the damage to your vehicle can have an impact on your settlement.
- The impact and damage to your vehicle can be used to argue causation of your injuries. If the impact is minimal, the insurance company will argue that your injuries could not have been caused by the accident. If there is significant damage to your vehicle, it makes an easier argument for your lawyer to prove causation of injuries. Some notorious insurance companies even have computer programs that factor in the impact to your vehicle and compare it to your own bodily injuries. This is where photographic evidence can be extremely powerful to your personal injury case. If there was significant damage to your vehicle, a picture can help convince an arbitrator or a jury of your injuries. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the other vehicles involved in the wreck. At Tapalian Law, we’ve encountered numerous situations where the damage to our client’s vehicle was minimal, yet the vehicle of the defendant who struck our client had horrific damage.
- Time: The timing of when you decide to open a personal injury claim and when you start treating for your injuries will both impact your settlement. Rhode Island Car Accident Attorney David Tapalian advises clients to seek legal representation immediately.
- The sooner you file a claim, the more compensation you may receive. Insurance companies value urgency because it demonstrates you are serious in settling your case. The sooner you seek medical attention lends more credibility to your injuries during the car accident settlement process.
- If you delay seeking medical treatment, it may appear that your injuries are not as serious as you are making them out to be.
- There is a statute of limitations for filing an injury claim of three (3) years after the date of the incident for a Rhode Island car accident claim.
Recovering losses from a motor vehicle accident is not a straightforward process. Though the goal is to reach a fair Rhode Island car accident settlement, the insurance company needs to know that your attorney, is ready, willing, and able to file a civil action in court if necessary. Attempting to settle a claim on your own can be difficult as the insurance companies tend to present low-ball offers to injured people without legal representation. To ensure that you receive fair compensation, contact Rhode Island Car Accident Settlement Attorney David Tapalian today. Conveniently located at 350 S. Main St., Providence, RI, our main office is easily accessible to anyone in Rhode Island. If you cannot travel to us in Providence due to your injuries, our legal experts can visit you in your home or at the hospital for a consultation. The dedicated team of personal injury professionals at Tapalian Law will help create a specific plan to strengthen your claim and guide you through the steps to receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.