First, you need to reach out to both insurance companies—yours and the insurance provider of the other driver. Let them know you are going to be making a claim for the damages that occurred in the accident. If you choose not to retain legal counsel during the claims process, you will need to take a strong stance early on, letting the insurance company know that you will fight for what you are owed.
As soon as possible after the accident occurs, you will want to begin gathering evidence that proves your version of events. This will help you show who should be held liable for your claim. Your evidence should show how the at-fault driver was acting negligently and provide a direct correlation between the accident and the losses you are facing.
By providing evidence of guilt, you can form a stronger basis for settlement negotiations with the insurance company. You want to be prepared to defend the actions you took before, during, and after the accident. This will help you deflect accusations that you may be responsible for your own damages.
When asking yourself, “How can I settle an insurance claim without a lawyer?” remember that many accident victims try to reach a settlement for smaller claims on their own, such as those that only deal with vehicle damage. More serious claims can lead to a more complicated settlement process.
If you feel like you are not getting the compensation you deserve in your negotiations, or if the process becomes overwhelming, a personal injury lawyer may be able to assist you in taking legal action against the liable parties.
Documentation to Gather Before Trying to Settle a Claim
Regardless of if you are trying to settle a claim with an attorney or not, the insurance company will want to see multiple pieces of evidence. This may include:
- Bills and receipts related to economic losses, such as medical costs, proof of lost wages, and receipts for vehicle repairs.
- Evidence from the accident scene, including video, pictures, police reports, and other tangible proof.
- Medical documentation, including reports about the severity of your injuries, your medical diagnosis, and the potential need for further treatment.
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Calculating Potential Recoverable Damages
Every state has unique laws about how much compensation you can recover. For victims in Ohio, the Ohio Revised Code § 2315.18 documents several limits on compensation, including:
- A cap of $350,000 for punitive damages.
- A maximum of $250,000 for non-economic damages, or three-times the amount of economic damages, up to $350,000. These limits apply to settlements awarded to each individual victim involved in a claim.
There are no caps on damages for victims suffering from catastrophic injuries, or on economic damages.
Time Limits on Settlements
Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10 outlines a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This time limit begins on the day of the accident. If you wait until this two-year period expires, you may no longer be eligible for compensation.
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Securing the Compensation You Deserve
If you are planning on seeking damages for serious injuries you sustained in an accident, the insurance company will investigate the credibility of your claim. This may involve several interviews between you and an insurance adjuster, who will then compare your statements to the evidence available in the case.
If you were not able to provide enough substantial evidence to support your case, the adjuster may deny your claim or offer less than what you deserve. If you are wondering, “How can I settle an insurance claim without a lawyer?” this is the most important factor to consider.
Personal Injury Lawyers Can Fight for You
Here at the Fitch Law Firm LLC, we will fight for your right to fair compensation in personal injury cases. This means assisting you every step of the way, including:
- Helping you gather evidence.
- Attempting to prove liability.
- Negotiating potential settlements.
Our lawyers can also help you catalog proof of your pain and suffering, such as documenting medical expenses, assigning a monetary value to your mental anguish, and bringing in experts to testify regarding your non-economic losses. In doing so, we hope you can find peace in the outcome of your case.
Above all else, our attorneys are here to help take the pressure off you during this difficult time. For more information about our services, contact our team today. You can set up your free consultation with a representative at the Fitch Law Firm LLC when you call (614) 963-2808.