For Billings, MT car accident victims, a settlement is often the easiest way to recover their losses. Insurance companies know that and take advantage by offering low settlement values. For those who want to secure a good deal, working with a Billings car accident attorney is the best option.
The best way to understand why is to review the Montana car accident claim and settlement process. Knowing what to expect should help you make an informed decision. We will help you set adequate expectations and make informed decisions in the following lines.
The Montana Claim Settlement Process and the Role of the Billings Car Accident Attorney
Let us assume your car accident just occurred. You step out of the vehicle, lucky to be alive, confused, and angry at the person who almost killed you. What do you do? Perhaps you start a fight with the other driver or express your regrets for the dire situation.
You may feel like running away, damage your car even more, or lie on the ground trying to catch your breath. You probably won’t think to contact a Billings car accident attorney. If you did, they would advise you to:
· Remain at the accident scene or as close to it as possible, avoiding to obstruct traffic. It is a requirement of Montana Code Section 61-7-103.
· Check if anyone is injured and call an ambulance or drive them to the hospital. Code Section 61-7-105 requires you to do so.
Report the accident to the police if anyone was injured or the damage exceeds $1,000. You should also file a report with the DMV within 10 days from the accident.
· Provide and request contact, vehicle registration, driving, and insurance information. This way, you and the other parties know whom to contact in order to solve the problem.
· Check if the other driver is insured. According to Montana laws, they should carry liability insurance. The minimum coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per event for personal injury. For property damage, it reaches $20,000 per event.
· Gather evidence of how the accident occurred. If you want compensation for your damages, you will need evidence. Most of it is only available at the accident scene. Find witnesses and video cameras surveying the area and take as many photos as possible.
· Get a medical evaluation. Just because you do not realize it immediately it does not mean you are not injured. Some injuries actually display delayed symptoms. You will need the diagnosis and medical letters to justify your compensation claim.
But let’s assume the worst has already passed and you feel ready to claim your compensation. How do you do it? If you worked with a Billings car accident attorney, they would handle the process for you. Depending on the evidence you provide, they may offer you a settlement or deny your claim.
If you find their answer unacceptable, you can file an appeal with the claims supervisor. The following appeal option is to file a complaint with the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. Each step involves its own set of formalities, so having an attorney to guide your steps would be great.
How Do Your Determine If a Car Accident Settlement Is Worth Accepting?
If you worked with a Billings car accident attorney, you would already know the value of your claim. Without one, it falls on you to do the math. Here’s how to do it.
1. Write down all your expenses: car repairs, past, present, and future medical bills, etc.
2. Calculate the wages you already lost and those you may lose due to your car accident injuries.
3. Don’t forget to assess your pain and suffering.
4. Deduct your share of fault, if applicable.
5. Draw the line and expect to be disappointed.
Settlements do not take into account what you know. They rely on what you can prove. Also, they do not cover all your expenses but just enough to convince you to give up the fight and settle. It is up to if you accept the one offered or not.
Let an Experienced Billings Car Accident Attorney Assess Your Settlement Offer
If you received a settlement offer for your car accident insurance claim, we can help you evaluate it. We will analyze your case details, assess your claim value, and compare that value with the settlement offer. It is up to you if you accept it or not.
The least you can do is call our law firm offices at 406-534-7694 and schedule a consultation. Once you have heard what our lawyer has to say, you are free to decide whether to settle. If you want more, we can help with the negotiations and, if necessary, appeals.