How to avoid common errors people make following an accident and during the insurance claims process.
Hopefully you will never be involved in an automobile accident; however, if you are either through your fault or someone else’s, it is important that you are educated on how to properly handle the situation. There are several common mistakes people make following an accident and during the insurance claims process, and our goal is to help you avoid them.
Do not speak to the other person
It is important that you do not speak to the other person following an accident. The stress level will be high and emotions may lead you to say something that you otherwise would not have said, perhaps even taking responsibility for something that may have not been your fault. In these situations it is important that you let your insurance company handle the talking and provide the coverage and representation you are paying for. Hopefully the other driver will also be insured and you can let the insurance companies handle the matter.
Remember that the other person, or the adjuster, may be trying to get you to say damaging statements about yourself. The only information you should obtain at the scene of the accident is the name, address, and work and home phone numbers of witnesses. Following the accident you should also be sure to obtain the other driver’s personal and vehicle information including the name of their insurance company and policy number. If you have the opportunity, make notes about the accident and save any physical evidence while it is fresh in your mind. Should you choose to use the services of a personal injury attorney, this information will be very helpful in your case.
Make calls to the adjuster
When an adjuster calls you they will typically be prepared for what they want to say and know exactly what they are looking to get from you in a statement. It is important that you take the lead in this situation, if they call politely inform them that you will call them, this gives you the opportunity to put the ball in your court.
An adjuster may try to convince you that using the services of a personal injury attorney is unnecessary; however, you should not simply take the adjuster’s advice and handle the case alone, it can lead to costly mistakes. An adjuster’s loyalty will always be to the insurance company, not to you. Remember that the adjuster is looking to secure the lowest payment possible for the insurance company. Accident victims typically receive more money when they use an attorney’s help.
Do not sign anything
It is important that you do not sign any paperwork due to the fact that you may not fully understand what it is that you are signing. Until you have had a professional read through the paperwork and you fully understand what you are signing, avoid signing anything. You may be misled into signing paperwork that effectively ends your case and entitles you to very little compensation, if any. Do not sign any statements, forms or other documents until you have read and fully understood them, consulting an attorney can help you during this process.
Receiving medical care
If you have been injured as a result of an automobile accident it is important that you do not wait too long to visit a doctor. You should see a doctor as soon as possible so that your injuries can be documented and they do not become more severe due to a lack of treatment. Doctor’s records in regards to your injuries could also play a factor in the compensation that you receive. If you fail to see a doctor it may be argued by the insurance company that your injuries were not as severe as you may have claimed they were.
Avoid the internet
While the internet can often be a helpful resource for finding information, it is also common for incorrect information to be published. It is best to work with an experienced personal injury attorney directly when it comes to personal injury claims. Avoid reading the internet, incorrect information could lead you down the wrong path and hurt your case.
Talk to a personal injury attorney
Even if you decide not to use the services of a personal injury attorney you can often obtain a free consultation to discuss the details of your case, evaluate who was at fault in the accident, and get a professional explanation of the options you have moving forward. This will allow you to make a better and more informed decision for yourself. Remember that without adequate consultation you may make a mistake that could cost you. Some errors may be fixable, but often times an error cannot be fixed once it has been made. You do not have to rush to make a decision following an accident, it is important to first educate yourself on the situation and determine the best course of action.
There are many factors to be considered following an accident, these are just some of the more common issues that tend to arise. If you have questions regarding your legal options it is in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately, do not wait to seek legal help.