Every car accident victim has the same question when they talk to a Columbus car accident lawyer: what happens next? The claim process is a big unknown for most people, who never had to deal with it until now.
Today, we will explain the pre-litigation phase of a car accident case in detail. If you’ve been in an accident in Ohio, contact our law firm for a free consultation.
1. The First Moments after the Car Accident
One of the first and most important steps in a car accident claim takes place during the first moments after the crash. Your actions at this point are very important for the future outcome of your case.
Here are the things you should do:
- Report the accident to the police – as it is your legal obligation.
- Remain at the accident scene until the police officers arrive to investigate the crash.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
- Look for eyewitnesses and obtain their contact details.
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene.
When you call to report the accident, ask for an ambulance if you suffered severe injuries. If you believe you can safely do it, drive yourself to the nearest hospital or ER room. However, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible after the crash.
2. Follow the Treatment Plan
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have to spend days or weeks in hospital. You must follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter and undergo all treatments, refill prescriptions, and attend physical therapy sessions.
In law, there is a principle called “mitigating damages.” This means that you must take all reasonable measures to minimize the extent and severity of the damages. Untreated injuries often get worse, requiring more expensive medical treatment.
However, the insurance company may refuse to pay for them, claiming that they would not have been necessary if you had respected the doctor’s indications.
3. The Discovery Phase
When you are pronounced out of danger, you should consult with a Columbus car crash attorney and start preparing your claim. After evaluating your initial evidence, the lawyer will continue investigating the accident and looking for any other supplementary evidence.
At this point, the lawyer will:
- Talk to your doctors to evaluate your chances of making a full recovery
- Contact eyewitnesses to get their testimonies
- Evaluate your present and future damages.
Equipped with all the necessary information, the lawyer can start preparing your claim and calculating your total damages, including non-economic damages for pain and suffering
4. Sending the Demand Letter
The demand letter is a formal document that your lawyer sends to the insurance company. Its basic format contains:
- The name and contact details of the parties involved (you and the other driver)
- Date, place, and time where the accident happened
- A short description of the accident
- The amount of money you demand in damages.
The letter is often accompanied by copies of all the bills and receipts justifying your damages, including pay slips to prove lost wages. The insurance company must acknowledge the demand letter and respond to it.
Usually, they will deny that your damages are as high as you state and will offer a much lower settlement amount.
5. The Negotiation Phase
This is the moment in the pre-litigation phase of a car accident case when the Columbus car wreck lawyer steps to the table and demonstrates their experience. The attorney will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster, relying on the knowledge of the law and the available evidence.
If the insurance company refuses to settle, the lawyer will instruct you to file a lawsuit against the other driver. The insurer has no option but to defend their client. However, you will likely not have to go to court. Less than 4% of all personal injury cases reach this phase.
Once the lawsuit threat is made, the insurance adjuster will accept to close your claim for a fair amount of money.
Talk with an Experienced Columbus Car Accident Lawyer!
If you want to get the most favorable outcome in a car crash case, talk to a skilled Columbus car accident lawyer at our firm and let them guide you through the process. A claim cannot be settled too quickly, because you may not get fair compensation for your damages.
We encourage you to call us at 844-853-7373 as soon as possible after your accident and schedule a free case review with us!