In most cases, you will have to deal with an insurance company for compensation for damages and injuries after a car accident, so it is important to hire a lawyer who is experienced in such issues to help you negotiate with the insurer of the at-fault driver and get you a fair amount of compensation.
The temptation to dodge the insurance companies and settle directly with the other driver is strong however, especially if it is someone you know and trust, as this could spare you a lot of legal red tape and save you time. However, there are risks to not filing a settlement claim; here are 2 tell-tale signs that you should proceed on filing.
The damage is extensive
A serious car crash that results in your car getting totaled or sustaining extensive damage could be tricky to settle without involving the insurance companies. For starters, you may have difficulty estimating the real value of the vehicle, which could mean you end up receiving less than you deserve for the damage sustained.
If you are the at-fault driver, you shouldn't have to pay for more than the car is worth (if the car is totaled) or get ripped off on damage estimates, so it is better to let your insurer deal with the complex issues of estimating damages and settling on your behalf.
Someone got injured
If you get injured in a car accident, it is wise not to accept a direct settlement from the at-fault party, but rather file an insurance claim. If injuries are extensive, it would be advisable to involve a car accident lawyer--like Klafter & Mason LLC--as well, so he can push for full compensation for issues such as emotional distress and loss of income along with the actual cost of medical bills.
The main reason why settling (without involving a filed claim) could be risky is that estimating the cost of medical care could be very difficult without expert help, as medical bills can pile up fast and other injuriescome to light later on in the treatment process. If you are the at-fault driver, you run the risk of having to pay huge bills for injuries on your own, or being defrauded into paying for fake injuries. Either way, let an insurance adjuster and a car accident lawyer work out the true cost of treatment.
A quick cash settlement from the at-fault driver could appear appealing after an accident, but it may be better to resist the temptation, take the other driver's information and file an insurance claim. A car accident lawyer can also come in handy in helping you recover damages quickly or taking the matter to court.