Most people understand they can file a lawsuit for compensation after a car accident. But did you know that most car accident disputes end with a private settlement? 

These are out-of-court agreements between the liable party and the victim to cover the costs due to the accident. However, the amount available in a settlement offer can vary significantly from case to case. Attorneys and insurance companies must consider many factors to reach a final number. 

Silva Injury Law has over 20 years of experience negotiating compensation for accident victims. Our attorneys know how to get more money from a car accident settlement and are here to guide you through this process.

Our experienced California auto accident lawyers have prepared the following tips to help you maximize your potential compensation. Once you’re ready to take the next step toward justice, call our office at (209) 600-4389 or send us a message to schedule your free consultation. 

1. Contact Law Enforcement

Reporting the accident to local police can help protect your physical health and legal rights. Law enforcement officers know how to handle emergencies. They can investigate the crash and prepare an official report. This report will be valuable evidence during settlement negotiations. 

Moreover, California law requires drivers to report car accidents that cause death, injury, or property damage over $1,000. You can face steep penalties for ignoring this law, so it’s always best to report the accident, no matter how minor the damages seem.

2. Exchange Information, But Don’t Admit Fault

You should check on all people involved in the crash. Be courteous and exchange basic information with the other driver, such as name, insurance coverage, and license plate number.

However, don’t discuss the cause of the accident or speculate on who’s to blame. If you imply that you’re at fault, the other side might try to hold you liable.

Wait in your car if the other side refuses to speak with you or is irate. Once police officers arrive, they can help you collect the necessary information.

3. Seek Medical Attention 

Even if you feel okay after an accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away. Adrenaline can mask injuries and make conditions like whiplash difficult to notice.

A medical evaluation ensures a complete picture of your health and creates a record of any injuries. This record may indicate the cause of your injuries and may be vital evidence when seeking compensation.

Follow the doctor’s advice. Keep up with medication and rehabilitation to improve your well-being and demonstrate your commitment to recovery. 

4. Document Everything

In the chaotic aftermath of an accident, it’s easy to forget important details. That’s why documentation is key to maximizing your settlement. Gather as much evidence as possible while your memory is fresh.

Take pictures of the accident scene from multiple angles, capturing damage to vehicles, skid marks, and traffic signals. If possible, note down the date, time, weather conditions, and anything else that might have contributed to the accident. Also, get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Your attorney can use this information to establish liability and gather support for your claim.

5. Be Careful Talking with Insurers

Insurance adjusters will want to speak with you after your accident. While you must cooperate with your own insurance company, be cautious when speaking to the other driver’s insurer.

These insurance adjusters want to minimize the value of your claim. They might use high-pressure and unfair tactics to get you to admit fault or say something that harms your potential payout. 

If possible, don’t speak with the other insurance company at all. Ask to talk with your attorney so they can protect your rights and seek the highest settlement possible.

6. Stay Away from Social Media

It’s natural to want to share details of your life online, especially after a car accident. However, you should avoid making any statements online. 

Insurance companies and opposing attorneys often scour social media for information that can weaken your claim. Even seemingly innocent posts about your injuries or daily activities can hurt your case. 

It’s best to avoid social media posts altogether until you settle your claim. If you struggle to stay off social media, speak with your lawyer about adjusting your privacy settings to restrict who can see your posts.

7. Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer

The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, and you may make short-sighted financial decisions. Insurance companies for the at-fault driver know that you’re vulnerable at this time. They might contact you shortly after the crash to offer an early settlement. While the promise of a fast resolution can be tempting, resist the urge to accept this first offer.

Remember, insurance companies prioritize profit. Their initial offer will likely be significantly lower than the actual value of your claim. It might not cover the full range of your medical expenses, lost wages, car repairs, and other losses. 

Don’t accept this offer. Instead, call a car accident lawyer. They know how to increase car accident settlement values and can seek a fair settlement that captures the full extent of your losses.

8. Hire an Attorney

While navigating a car accident claim can be complex, you don’t have to go through it alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can be your strongest advocate throughout the process.

Here’s how a lawyer can help:

  • Legal guidance. Car accident laws can be intricate, and an attorney can clearly explain your rights. They know how to get more money from a car accident settlement and can advise you on your options.
  • Evidence collection. Your lawyer will gather evidence to build a strong case that maximizes compensation. They have the unique skills to analyze this information to calculate a fair settlement demand.
  • Negotiation expertise. Insurance companies have skilled negotiators on their side. A lawyer will know how to fight back against these companies to seek a fair settlement that reflects the total value of your claim.
  • Trial representation. If negotiation doesn’t lead to a fair settlement, your lawyer will be prepared to represent you in court. They will present your claim to a judge or jury and show why the law supports your need for compensation.

Contact Silva Injury Law to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Let us handle this stressful process so you can focus on recovering.

9. Act Fast

In California, there’s a legal time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. This is known as the statute of limitations. In most cases, the statute of limitations for car accidents in California is two years from the date of the accident.

Missing this deadline can have serious consequences. If you wait too long, the court will likely dismiss your case. You’ll lose the right to sue for any damages, regardless of how strong your claim might be.

It’s crucial to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after your crash. They can make sure you file your claim on time and meet all other court-required deadlines.

10. Be Patient

The car accident settlement process can take time. Medical records need to be reviewed, negotiations might take place, and in some cases, a lawsuit might be necessary. It’s important to remain patient throughout this period. While you might want a quick resolution, rushing the process could compromise the final settlement amount.

Trust your lawyer to handle the legal aspects of your case. Focus on your recovery and follow your doctor’s orders diligently. Your lawyer will keep you informed of any developments and fight for a fair settlement that reflects the full impact of the accident on your life.

Schedule a Free Case Consultation with a California Personal Injury Lawyer

At Siva Injury Law, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial challenges car accidents bring. For over 20 years, our dedicated team of car accident lawyers has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients across California.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call us at (209) 600-4389 to schedule a free case consultation today to learn how to get the most money from a car accident.