Why You Shouldn't Negotiate An Auto Accident Settlement On Your Own

Posted on: 10 May 2023

If you've been in a car accident, you might want to get everything over with as quickly as possible. However, there are several reasons why it's not a good idea to negotiate an auto accident settlement on your own.

Your Statements Can Be Used Against You

Any time you talk to an insurance company, they're either recording things or writing things down. Next time, they'll compare what you said to the last time you talked to them.

Insurance companies often use small inconsistencies or omissions to try to avoid paying claims. For example, they might say you're lying because in one conversation you said you stopped at the stop sign briefly and another time you said you stopped for several seconds.

Another common trick they use is to say you left things out because they didn't actually happen. For example, in one conversation you might not think to mention that the other driver was speeding and when you mention it later, they say you're now making it up.

When you let an attorney talk for you, what the attorney says isn't evidence and can't be used against you.

You May Give Up Rights

When you accept an auto accident settlement, you usually give up the right to make any additional claims in the case. That's a fair way to end a case in theory, but it's not fair when they're getting you to give up rights you didn't know you had.

For example, many people don't realize that the fine print on an insurance check says they can't make additional claims. They often think it's just a first payment.

On the other hand, some waivers of additional claims aren't legally valid. So if you don't have a lawyer, the insurance company might try to convince you you agreed to not sue for additional money when you're legally entitled to do so.

You May Not Understand the Law

Most people don't understand the legal technicalities of auto accident claims. That's why there are lawyers.

One common thing to miss is that you may be entitled to damages you didn't think of such as missing time from work, needing to rent a replacement car, or long-term rehabilitation. Many people only think about the hospital bill and car repair bill.

Many people also don't have a good understanding of how fault is decided in an accident. You might not realize that the other driver was legally responsible, or you might not realize that your mistake doesn't remove the other driver's responsibility.

For more information about handling an auto accident, contact a local lawyer.