We do not recommend settling a car accident claim without a lawyer. You may undervalue your case and the insurance company will try to underpay.
However, if you are committed to settling your case without a lawyer, here’s some information to help.
Gather evidence for your Michigan car accident claim
Get the police report. See this blog – How to get a police report for a car accident [link] – for information on how to do that. The police report describes the crash events and often says who was at fault. Use the police report to show the other driver was at fault.
Get your crash-related medical records. Use those medical records to prove you were hurt in the crash and needed medical treatment. If possible, use them to show you will need additional treatment in the future.
Get your crash-related medical bills. Depending on the circumstances, your car insurance or the at-fault driver’s car insurance may be responsible for your medical bills. Either way, get your bills. Use them to show you were injured in the crash and that there were financial consequences to the crash.
Injury and Crash Photos
Take photos of your injuries and scars to show the extent of your damages. Images tend to move people. Injury and scar photos can increase the value of a case significantly.
Take photos of the crash scene and cars involved. Documenting extensive vehicle damage tends to equate to higher settlements, because it’s harder for the insurance company to argue you were not hurt in the crash.
If a witness saw or heard something helpful, ask the witness to write it down. For example, if a witness says, “I heard the driver say he was on his cell phone,” ask the witness to write that down, and to sign and date it. Get the witness’s name and contact information so you can contact them later.
Determine the amount of money you want to settle for
After you gather your evidence, decide on the dollar amount you will ask for to settle your car accident claim without a lawyer
This is the tough part. We can’t tell you “the right number” because we do not know the specifics of your case. Here are some factors to consider:
- The severity of your injuries
- The duration of your injuries (temporary versus permanent)
- The degree to which your injuries are affecting your lifestyle
- The amount of your wage loss and medical bills
- The severity of the at-fault driver’s conduct (mistake versus recklessness)
- The evidence proving your injuries are from the crash (causation)
- The mental effects of the crash
- The character of the crash victim (likable versus jerk)
- The amount of insurance
Your opening demand should be high enough to leave room for negotiation. Ask for the highest number you can without sacrificing credibility. Insurance companies are used to big numbers. If anything, you are likely to undervalue your case.
You should not take the insurance company’s first offer. Once you have their offer, continue to negotiate. If your demand and their offer are far apart, it probably isn’t in your best interest to settle your claim without a lawyer.
If you want to talk about the value of your case, call or contact Conybeare Law Office now
Unless you do this stuff every day, it is difficult to know the right dollar amount to ask for. Talking with an experienced Michigan car accident attorney can help you better understand your case’s value and your rights.
The knowledgeable car accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will help you value your case and fight to get you the money you deserve.
To learn more about the legal services offered to our Michigan car accident clients, talk to our office today. Conybeare Law Office has offices in Saint Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and serves all of southwest Michigan and beyond. Call or contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to talking to you. Remember, if it’s not fair, call the bear.