If you were in an accident, you will likely file an insurance claim with your insurer and/or the other party’s insurer to recover damages. Even accident victims who hire an attorney to represent them are still a part of the process, and thus should avoid mistakes that can ruin the car accident claim. Below we discuss seven ways that you can easily ruin your claim, and should avoid whether you have an attorney representing you or not.
1. Talking to an Insurance Company Prior to Getting Medical Treatment
One fast way to ruin a car accident claim is to tell your insurance company that you are fine before seeing a doctor. Sometimes, it can take more than a day to feel the effects of an injury. Soft tissue injuries might become worse in the days following the wreck, for example. Never tell your insurance company that you are okay prior to seeking medical care. And, even if you think that your injury may not be severe, a consultation with a doctor is still highly recommended. After all, you have options to help you pay medical bills, even before you settle your case.
2. Not Telling the Absolute Truth
If you are not sure about a question that an insurance adjuster asks you, do not lie. Instead, just respond with the truth: “I do not know.” If you lie about something related to your accident claim and the truth comes out later, it could harm your claim and the insurer may not trust other statements that you make.
3. Saying Too Much to the Insurance Adjuster
Similarly, if the insurance adjuster is asking for a recorded statement, know that you are not obligated to provide it. If you speak with an adjuster from your insurance company or the other party’s insurer, provide basic details of the crash. This can include your name and basic information, location of the accident, and a very general description of the accident (e.g., the other driver’s vehicle struck mine from behind). Tell the adjuster that you will provide more details at a later date after investigating the crash in more detail.
4. Not Following Your Doctor’s Advice
If you receive medical treatment for an injury, follow the doctor’s advice. If you do not, and the insurance company finds out, they may assume that you were lying about the extent of your injury, and, therefore, may deny you much-needed compensation. So keep all doctors’ appointments and adhere to any limitations the doctor places on you until s/he releases you.
Also, refrain from posting any photos or status updates on social media, as a picture of you doing something active can quickly reduce your medical claim’s authenticity.
5. Not Knowing the Coverage and Terms in Your Auto Insurance Policy
Do you have full coverage on your auto policy? Make sure you know. Review every detail of the coverage in your auto policy. Know if you have full tort or limited tort coverage. Know what medical payments coverage you have on your policy. Know if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You can draw on these types of coverage to pay bills and damages related to your auto accident, though you should also file a claim with the other party’s insurance company if that party was at fault.
6. Signing Papers or Offers without Attorney Input
The insurance adjuster may make a low-ball initial settlement offer, hoping that you will sign it to get money quickly. But know that you cannot reopen your claim once you agree to a settlement. Before you sign a settlement offer, have your attorney review it.
The adjuster may also ask you to sign a medical records release or other documents. Whatever the insurance company asks you to sign, give it to your lawyer first.
7. Not Hiring an Attorney
People often wrongly assume that an insurance company – their own or that of another party – has their best interests at heart. Or that they do not need an attorney for a complex case. However, insurance companies are famous for offering claimants settlement amounts that are far too low. While many adjusters are good people, remember that they work for an insurance company and are therefore doing what they can to minimize payouts.
If you want to ensure that you get a settlement amount that is fair, you need an attorney who will negotiate on your behalf and handle any car insurance disputes that arise in the process. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we are ready to go to work for you. From gathering evidence to filing your claim to handling negotiations, we do it all. Get answers to your questions by setting up a consultation. Call us at 215-642-2335 today.