Many people who experience a motor vehicle crash will want to move on with their life as quickly as possible. However, handling the situation quickly shouldn’t be nearly as important as protecting your rights in Spokane as an injured party.
When someone causes a crash that leaves you hurt or with massive property damage expenses, you have rights under Washington law. Still, it is easy to get so wrapped up in moving on with your life that you don’t stop to consider your rights to financial compensation until you’ve already made potentially serious mistakes. There are a couple of tips that can help you maximize the compensation you receive after a major motor vehicle collision.
Don’t play nice about the crash when talking to police
Most humans have an innate kindness and politeness at the core of their being that can leave them vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others. After a serious crash, you may feel bad for the other person, even if they clearly caused the issue through their own distracted driving or other problematic practices.
Your sympathy could leave you feeling like your best option is to minimize the severity of your symptoms or to gloss over what happened leading up to the crash when speaking with law enforcement. Unfortunately, that could mean that you wind up receiving some of the liability allocated to you.
You must be firm, truthful and thorough when speaking with law enforcement regarding a collision. If you suspect the other driver was texting or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you must speak up to ensure that those concerns get recorded in the police report.
Seek medical evaluation, and get the care you need
When you start to notice symptoms related to an injury from the crash, whether it’s a broken bone you immediately felt or symptoms of a brain injury that start cropping up several days later, you need to go as soon as possible to seek medical evaluation. A doctor can connect the symptoms you experience to the trauma of the accident and create an official record relating your medical care to the crash.
Your doctor will probably recommend medication or therapies to help you recover. However frustrating or expensive those recommendations may be, you should follow through promptly and thoroughly. That way, you can present evidence to insurance companies or the courts that you have done everything in your power to limit the impact of the injuries on your quality of life and professional career.
Don’t take a settlement unless you know it’s fair
A lump sum cash payment settlement after a crash can seem like the answer to your prayers if you have been struggling financially. An insurance company can make a settlement offer at any point after a collision, but that doesn’t mean you should accept the first offer they make you. It is common for insurance companies to offer low initial settlement offers as a way of avoiding massive payouts after a crash.
To make sure that the settlement amount is reasonable and fair, you need to know how much the crash has cost. Add up all of your current medical expenses, lost wages and property damage costs. Then you may want to increase the medical costs, especially if you know you will need ongoing care in the future.
If the settlement offer doesn’t cover all of those expenses with some left over, the offer is too low. You may need to counter the offer with a more reasonable figure or refuse it outright. The insurance company can either then work with you or choose not to, which could mean that you will need to go to court to get the compensation that you need. At that point, the accuracy of the police report and the records of your compliance with any medical requests will improve your chances of a successful case.