Decoding Your First Car Accident Insurance Settlement in Washington

Getting into a car accident is a scary process that can easily become overwhelming. After the accident, you will need to submit a claim with the insurance company so that you can get compensation to help you cover your damages. Getting a settlement from the insurance company isn’t always as straightforward as you may think, which is why you should know what to expect and how this process works.

At NBF Accident Law, our Washington auto accident attorneys can help you decode your first car accident settlement offer and judge its fairness. We can also help you throughout the entire process to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Process of Receiving a Car Accident Insurance Settlement

Navigating the process after a car accident will require some patience and knowledge to get the best possible outcome. This can take some time as insurance companies aren’t always incredibly motivated to hand out large settlements. That is why the best thing you can do throughout this process is to remain patient, as you do not want to rush to accept a settlement that doesn’t provide the compensation you deserve.

Create Your Claim

One of the most important steps after a car accident is creating a claim. Even for first-time car accident insurance claims, you should hire a car accident attorney who can help you create a strong claim.

Your attorney can help you gather important documentation that will prove the amount of damages as a result of the accident. This includes things like photos, videos, receipts, medical bills, lost wages statements, and police reports.

You should also take some time to review your insurance policy to better understand what it is supposed to cover. For instance, it is helpful to understand policy limits so that you know the maximum amount your policy could pay for damages. You also need to be familiar with any exclusions from your policy where certain types of damages or losses may not be covered.

A common mistake many people make when filing their car accident insurance claim settlement is filing the settlement too late. Even if you have filed your claim in time, waiting too long can result in a lower settlement amount as well as a denial of coverage from your insurer.

Evaluate the Settlement Offer

When you receive your first car accident insurance settlement, you will need to take your time to review the initial offer. You will usually receive the initial settlement offer after your insurer has processed your claim and done their own investigation. This is another area where having a car accident attorney can be useful, as they can also review the offer to gauge its fairness.

It is not uncommon for car accident settlement first offers to be quite low if the insurance company doesn’t want to have to pay out. Because of this, it is not uncommon for people to have to negotiate or dispute the original settlement offer. Here are some aspects of the offer you should evaluate for fairness:

  • Medical expenses
  • Long-term impact
  • Property damage

Other factors that your attorney can take into consideration regarding the offer are damages that have been excluded and whether or not it is in line with the policy you have.

Negotiate the Amount

If you and your attorney decide that negotiating the settlement amount is the best course of action, you will need to be prepared for this process. Prepare to present your case and provide documentation to prove that you are entitled to a higher settlement amount.

Some strategies that your attorney can use to negotiate your settlement is by highlighting inconsistencies or areas of unfairness regarding the insurance company’s evaluation of your claim. For instance, they may not have considered certain pieces of evidence that would have increased your settlement amount.

What Insurance Companies Consider

When you submit an insurance claim after a car accident, the insurance company will do its own investigation and evaluation of your case. This is how they ultimately come to their own car accident insurance claim settlement, which you will receive as your first offer. Here are some examples of how insurers decide on a settlement amount:

  • Injuries: Physical damages are some of the most common types of compensation if you are injured in a car accident. The insurance company will look at your claimed injuries, any previous injuries, doctors’ notes and records, and medical expenses.
  • Property damage: The insurance company will look into previous damage or repairs your car had and how that compares to your proposed property damage.
  • Wellness and long-term impact: The insurance company will also evaluate how great an impact the car accident will have in the long term. For instance, it may have caused extreme emotional or physical harm, which impacts your ability to function in everyday life or hold down a profitable job.

You will need to keep in mind that most insurers will try to devalue much of the information in your initial claim. For instance, if you have a bad back but claim an injury after the car accident, they may try to discredit this as being an injury that happened before the accident. The more documentation you can provide, the less likely it is that the insurance company will be able to avoid providing the settlement that you deserve.

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney at NBF Accident Law

After getting into a car accident in Washington, you will most likely want to file a claim with the insurance company. When you do this, you will get an insurance settlement, which you can either accept or negotiate on. Understanding how this process works and what you are entitled to will ensure that you get the coverage you need.

At NBF Accident Law, we will fight purposefully and passionately on your behalf so that you get a fair settlement to cover your damages. We will help you throughout the entire settlement process as you submit a claim, review the car accident settlement first offer, and either accept it or negotiate.

Contact us today at 206-923-8888 to schedule a consultation with one of our Washington car accident attorneys.