How to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer: step-by-step guide

How to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer

Many people wonder how to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer. Indeed, there are cases where it can be done independently. To settle your case independently without a lawyer, you need to thoroughly understand your insurance policy, know your rights in this situation, stay calm, be attentive, and be persistent in achieving your goal.

How to settle a car accident claim without an attorney: whether it is possible

To understand how to settle a car accident claim without an attorney and whether it is possible in your specific situation, you first need to properly assess the severity of the situation. The more complicated the case, the fewer reasons you have to handle it on your own. Many important details may be unnoticed by a non-professional, and overconfidence in your own rightness can play a cruel joke on you.

You can determine whether you can handle it on your own by the following signs:

  1. Minimal damage to participants in the accident: This is a minor collision that occurred in a parking lot or in a traffic jam, where you sustained minimal or no bodily injuries.
  2. The vehicle sustained minimal damage: The vehicle may have a scratch, a broken headlight, or a cracked windshield, but it remains operational.
  3. The fault of the participants is clear and uncontested: All involved parties acknowledge their roles in the accident and there is no dispute over who is at fault.
  4. There are more than two uninterested witnesses: There are at least two witnesses to the incident who are not interested in the outcome of the case.
  5. The damage does not affect the participants’ livelihoods: The accident does not impact the participants’ ability to earn a living from their current occupations.
  6. No children were involved in the accident: No children were in the car, caused the accident, or were involved in the traffic (on bicycles, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, or as pedestrians) at the time of the incident.
  7. The accident was caused by domestic or wild animals: The accident was due to the actions of domestic or wild animals.

If any of these points apply to your situation, you can try to resolve it without a lawyer. However, note that if the accident occurred outside the state where you normally reside and are familiar with the laws, it is best to hire a local lawyer for the most effective resolution.

If you are confident that you can handle it on your own, your next steps will be as follows:

  1. Ensure the safety of all participants: Check if anyone needs urgent medical assistance. Remember that the most serious injuries can sometimes be internal or not immediately visible. If someone has hit their head or possibly injured vital organs, it’s best to call emergency services. After providing assistance, be sure to request a medical report.
  2. Call the police patrol: If required by your state’s law, call the police. When the officers arrive, request a copy of their report.
  3. Collect contact information: Obtain the contact details of the other participants in the accident, if any.
  4. Identify witnesses: Determine if there are any witnesses to the incident and immediately request their contact details. Ask if they have any footage from a dashcam.
  5. Document everything: Start documenting everything that happened—photos and videos of the damage, the accident scene, and anything that might help determine the cause of the accident.
  6. Ensure you are not blocking traffic: It is unacceptable to cause another accident by obstructing traffic. Once you have documented the position of your vehicle at the accident scene with photos or videos, if the vehicle is obstructing traffic or hindering the view of other drivers, you need to move it off the road.
  7. Check for surveillance cameras: Look around to see if there are any surveillance cameras nearby (at gas stations, cafes, private residences) and note the address and time of the incident so you can later request video footage from the owner.
  8. Estimate repair costs: Compile an estimate of the costs to repair the damages (vehicle, personal belongings, medical expenses).
  9. Document lost wages: If you missed a workday and lost earnings due to the accident, request a statement from your employer confirming the amount of lost income.
  10. Draft a claim to your insurance company: Write a detailed claim to your insurance company, providing complete information about the incident and the amount you are claiming. Be sure to state that you expect a response within a specific timeframe (e.g., 30 days).
  11. Meet with the Insurance adjuster: The insurance company will schedule a meeting with an adjuster. During this meeting, you need to recount the situation and present all evidence.
  12. Await the compensation offer: Wait for the compensation amount proposed by the insurance company.
  13. Negotiate if necessary: If the compensation amount offered by the company is too low, you can reiterate your claim with justification for the amount.

After this, you have two options: wait for a document from the insurance company confirming the desired or a compromise compensation amount, or dispute the low amount in court.

How to sue a car insurance company without a lawyer

If the insurance payout on your claim was unjustifiably reduced, you can sue a car insurance company without a lawyer.

To do this, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Give the insurance company a final chance: Notify them of your intention to fight for fair compensation. Document all communications with the insurance company’s representatives and keep records.
  2. Review your policy: If the insurance company refuses to pay the compensation amount you requested, review your insurance policy again and choose a basis for your complaint, such as breach of agreement.
  3. Choose the appropriate court: Determine the court in which you will file your claim and understand the process for filing a complaint.
  4. Make sure to be present at the court hearing.
  5. Prepare thoroughly for the hearing: Organize all your documentation in a logical order and present it clearly.
  6. Arrange witness testimonies if necessary: If needed, organize for witnesses of the incident to testify.

How to negotiate a car accident settlement without a lawyer if the court supported the insurance company

If the court has ruled in favor of the insurance company and denied your claim, it means you have limited chances of resolving this matter on your own. How to negotiate a car accident settlement without a lawyer in such a case, and is it worth trying?

Here, you face a choice: either involve a lawyer in this matter or continue to fight on your own. It’s difficult to say what to do in this case. Try once again to critically assess your situation. What might have caused the denial? Do you have enough evidence? Is the compensation amount you are demanding too high?

If you are firmly confident in your position, you can try to appeal the court’s decision and go through the procedure again on your own.

However, if after the denial you clearly see the weaknesses in your evidence, it is better to seek legal assistance and file a new claim with a lawyer.

Where can you get accident claim help?

Whether you decide to continue handling this issue on your own or seek assistance from a lawyer, you can find accident claim help with the OwchBuddy service. Install the app on your phone. It can be useful in the following ways:

  • Organize all documentation in one place: Keep all case-related photos, reports, and records together.
  • AI assistant: Quickly find necessary information for your case, such as useful contacts and relevant laws.
  • Access to legal and medical Help: The app offers a large database of specialists with various qualifications. Using AI technology, the service will match you with a specialist with relevant experience.
  • Video consultations: Conduct video consultations within the app.

OwchBuddy will support you throughout the entire process, regardless of the settlement approach you choose to take.

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