What To Do After a Car Accident – Your Next Steps
After a car accident, one typically begins a road to recovery both medically and financially. Part of this aftermath process includes dealing with your insurance company. Unfortunately as a victim, your power isn’t as high and mighty as an insurance company’s. It’s an insurance company’s goal to pay out the smallest amount possible for submitted claims – if they provide any payout at all. Companies work to provide vigorous training to employees and agents on the right questions to ask, the right words to use and bargaining tactics that are designed to leave you coming up short. Arming yourself ahead of time with all information and an idea of what you can expect during this process is critical to getting the settlement you deserve. What’s your key to success? Working with a reputable and seasoned personal injury attorney!
Don’t wait to contact insurance parties
Get the ball rolling right away with both insuring parties. Your own insurance company along with the at-fault party’s company will need to know right away about the accident. Most insurance companies have a short grace period in which you’ll be allowed to file a claim, and waiting too long could mean that your claim would be rejected or that you’re going to be privy to a smaller settlement. The insurance companies have various reasons up their sleeves for claims that aren’t submitted in a timely manner. Their outlook is, if you waited so long to file a claim, could your claim really be that serious?
Everything is in the details – Talking about the accident
The insurance company itself needs to do its due diligence to investigate the validity of a claim before paying out. This means that you’ll be asked questions about the accident itself ranging from when and where to how and other questions about the period of time since the accident. Unfortunately this process can be intimidating and they’re out for blood, hoping you’ll slip up and admit some sort of fault. Be careful and focus on just the facts and avoid personal feelings or emotions. You aren’t required to talk about your opinions or ever admit fault. A personal injury attorney can coach you through a conversation like this, or even take care of the entire conversation itself.
Written statements and correspondences with insurance companies
Depending on the companies you’re dealing with for the car accident, they may need you to provide a recorded or written statement. This is tricky as they’ll try to make it seem like a necessity for moving forward, but there’s a good chance that you aren’t legally obligated to provide such a statement. There are some exceptions to this and your personal injury attorney will know the correct course of action to follow.
In addition to your (potential) written statement, the insurance company will want to cover itself and will likely provide written correspondences from here on out to adequately document the case. Letters will be sent out to acknowledge the claim, talk about the timeline and information that you will use during the process to reference your claim. The whole set of documents will include a wealth of information, and what to expect within these documents varies for each case.
Review settlement offers and provide extra proof if necessary
As your claim process comes to an end, you will receive an offer from an insurance adjuster with how much they plan to pay in damages for your accident. Review this carefully, and don’t let their first offer stress you out if it isn’t what you were expecting. A common tactic is to try and only pay out for some of the damages and to weasel their way out of taking care of you fully. Older cars or an accident that is lacking in large amount of evidence are more likely to suffer from these tactics. Don’t feel forced to accept this offer. It isn’t too late to work with a personal injury attorney to get what you deserve.
Review the offer with your personal injury attorney and listen to his or her thoughts on potentially submitting more bills or evidence of your damages from the accident. These could include medical bills, receipts for minor purchases due to the accident, statements or communications with the other insurance party and more. It’s not good business to simply “take someone’s word” for what happened, so a little more work is needed on your end to make it happen.
There’s immense value in working with an attorney that specializes specifically within personal injury. They know the sly games that the insurance companies play each and every day, as they spend their days working for honest individuals like yourself. You’ve gone through enough already! Give yourself enough credit and let a personal injury attorney work on getting you an excellent settlement. Accepting a settlement that’s less than you deserve means picking up medical bills and repairs on your own. A proper settlement lets you move forward with your life and gives you the freedom to focus on what’s important to you.