Winter weather, poor driving conditions, and inattentive drivers cause the majority of auto collisions. Today’s high-tech cars, trucks and SUVs offer vastly improved safety features compared to cars manufactured in years past.
However, drivers and passengers are often injured in even the smallest vehicle collision.
When someone is injured in an automobile collision that is the fault of another driver, at the very least, they deserve to be compensated for:
- Physical injuries and medical costs
- Time off of work due to their injuries
- Pain and suffering damages
- compensation for loss of established course of life
- Damage to their vehicle
Today we’ll talk more about the dangers of winter car crashes in Missoula, what you can (and should) be compensated for, as well as what you can do if you’ve been injured in a car crash caused by another driver.
Keep reading to learn more.
What’s a Bodily Injury Claim?
If you’re physically injured in a automobile collision that’s the fault of the other driver, who do you seek compensation from? Who’s responsible?
According to the law, you must be fully and fairly compensated for your injuries by the other driver and their insurance company.
This is known as a “bodily injury claim” and can be very complex.
A bodily injury claim pays you money for losses you suffer, that may include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Wage loss
- Emotional injuries
- Permanent disability
“How Much is My Claim Worth?”
As a lawyer specializing in personal injury law in Missoula, Montana, one of the most common questions I hear is, “How much is my claim worth?”
Unfortunately, this is a very difficult question to answer, because no two car accidents are alike. And this isn’t a question that can be answered quickly.
Any reputable professional won’t even begin to estimate the value of a claim until the victim’s injuries have healed or until the victim has an accurate estimate of the future costs associated with his or her injuries.
Even then, there is an incredible variety of additional factors that go into accurately estimating a claim’s value, including:
- Access to information about the collision and the extent of your injuries
- Time to research and evaluate your claim
- Experience is by far the most important factor. The more experience an attorney has working with auto collision claims, adjusters and jury verdicts, the more accurately they can estimate the claim’s value
Should You Negotiate Your Own Car Crash Claim?
Odds are, you simply don’t have the legal experience, knowledge, or know-how you need to negotiate a settlement that’s in your best interests.
If you’re thinking about pursuing your own claim without the help of an experienced attorney, know that it’s rarely a good idea if you want to get the most money.
Why Should You Be Cautious Pursuing Your Own Claim?
When negotiating a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company you’ll meet with an insurance adjuster. They’re the ones who will make an offer to settle your bodily injury claim and pay you some money. They are trained on how to talk to people who are not represented by an attorney.
How Do Insurance Adjusters Work?
Initially, you can expect an insurance adjuster to be friendly in an attempt to build trust and goodwill with you. Eventually, they will begin to intentionally frustrate you. Many people eventually get so fed up they accept a lower offer than they deserve.
That is their goal.
Here’s what to expect when you negotiate with an insurance adjuster to settle a bodily injury claim:
- The adjuster will promise you many things they will never deliver, all in an effort for you to accept less money.
- Once you start receiving significant medical billing or treatment, all of a sudden, they will no longer be friendly and helpful people.
- You will receive endless piles of confusing paperwork and you will not be able to contact them by phone or email.
- They will stop answering your calls and not communicate with you.
- More letters will come saying they are denying payment for the medical care you are receiving from your providers and you will be unable to contact them for explanation.
This is all intentional, in an attempt to frustrate you into either giving up, or accepting less money for your claim.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Experienced personal injury attorneys like those at the Judnich Law Office have negotiated many bodily injury claims and know what to expect. We see through the games played by insurance adjusters.
Our attorneys can obtain a top dollar settlement for you, that will usually result in more compensation in your pocket – even after paying your attorney – than you can obtain on your own. Did you know that most insurance companies have adjusters who only work on claims where an attorney is involved? Why? Because insurance companies know that experienced attorneys like us won’t fall for the tricks most adjusters use, that we know the law, and we are experienced.
When it comes to negotiating a bodily injury claim resulting from a car crash, our experience and knowledge is priceless to you. It’s the main reason why you should always consult with an attorney before pursuing any claim or speaking with any insurance adjuster.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, give the Judnich Law Office a call at (406) 203-0913 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the case.
Photo Credits: Henrik Thorn, Tom Page, Al Abut
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.