If you were involved in car accident and it is determined that it was someone else’s fault, their insurance company should reimburse you for all of the expenses relating to the accident, including medical bills, lost earnings, property damage, emotional distress, and more.

After the initial shock of being in a car accident where you are not at fault, it’s time to figure out how to get the compensation you deserve for your damages, losses, and injuries. The question of, “what should I ask for in a car accident settlement?” can lead to the complex task of figuring out the present and future impact on your financial, physical, and mental well-being. An experienced South Dakota car accident attorney can help you protect yourself and your family by ensuring you are fully compensated for every part of your life that has been affected. Knowing what you are entitled to, what insurance applies, and the procedures involved in a car accident lawsuit settlement allows you to proceed with confidence and avoid being intimidated by the insurance company.

Document Everything

South Dakota is a contributory negligence state, which means that if the other person’s insurance company can prove that you contributed “more than slightly” to the accident, you are barred from recovering anything. Because of this insurance friendly law, it is absolutely critical that you document every aspect of your case, from the moment it occurs. You will need to provide accident scene photos, police reports, and witness statements that support your claim. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance company does not have to pay for any of your losses unless ordered by a court or you come to an agreement on the total amount the insurance company should pay you for all your losses. Insurance companies frequently take a hardline approach to settling car accident claims.

What Should I Ask for in a Car Accident Settlement?

In order to assess the total impact the car accident had on your life, you will need to provide extensive documentation for every aspect of your life that has been affected. If you were injured, you will need to document not only your injuries, pain, and suffering, but also the long-term consequences of the accident, including changes to your appearance and loss of physical abilities. You have a right to be compensated for the emotional toll of the car accident as well.

In addition to compensation for your injuries, you will need to be reimbursed for any current or future costs associated with your treatment. Provide receipts and medical records for any doctor or medical provider that has provided you with treatment, including the costs for the emergency room, physical rehabilitation, in-home or nursing home care, and any other related medical expenses.

If the accident and your resulting injuries have prevented you from working, then you should detail your lost wages and any missed benefits. Your employer can supply you with this information in detail. Keep all of your bank statements and any overdue bills to demonstrate your financial loss. Any records or receipts for car repairs or car rentals should be provided so you can recoup the full value of damages to your property.

The totality of all these expenses, coupled with an honest self-assessment of the lost opportunities in your life, will help your South Dakota attorney determine what you should ask for in a car accident settlement.

Act Promptly to Get the Process Started

Insurance companies frequently attempt to keep the compensation for car accident lawsuit settlements as low as possible. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to string you along for as long as they can so when settlement talks begin you are so desperate for money you will accept a lower amount. Their insurance company also may try to make you accept some blame. You should avoid making any statements that can be construed that you were admitting some fault in the accident as it could give the insurer an excuse to reduce or eliminate your settlement.

In South Dakota, you have three years in most car accident cases involving personal injury to settle a claim or file a lawsuit, but the time can be much shorter if the at-fault driver was working for a governmental entity at the time of the crash. Collecting all of your medical records and supporting documentation for your claim can be a lengthy process, but you don’t have to wait until all that information is available before you ask an attorney for help. Early advice on how to handle your medical bills, for example, can make a big difference in helping you minimize your stress in the short-term and maximize your net financial recovery in the long-term. It’s in your best interest to more forward with your car accident lawsuit in a timely manner. Usually that means it is best if you at least start a discussion with an experienced car accident lawyer within the first few days or weeks of the collision.

If you want to increase the likelihood that you get the full compensation you deserve from your car accident lawsuit settlement, contact Turbak Law Office at 866.231.0914 to speak to an experienced South Dakota car accident attorney. At Turbak Law Office, P.C. we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that we do not get paid unless and until you get paid.