How Do You Deal With Insurance Companies in a Personal Injury Case?
If you are injured in a car accident that was no fault of yours, planning to file a claim for compensation with an insurance company is only natural. But filing a claim and recovering compensation are often very different propositions for a simple reason.
You and the insurance company have very different objectives. While you want to recover the compensation that can help you move on from your accident quickly, the insurance company’s objective is to conclude the case for as little as possible.
Even if this means you don’t recover enough to cover your loss or injuries, or you don’t recover quickly enough to move on, it’s okay with them. Their primary duty is to their bottom line, not to you.
So, while you cannot avoid dealing with an insurance company after your accident, you should keep in mind that they will only be looking out for their best interests and not yours.
To help you understand how to deal with insurance companies after an accident, our personal injury attorneys explain what to do after a car accident.
Do Not Contact The Car Insurance Company Right Away
Being in an accident is bound to leave you shocked, confused, stressed out or likely injured. So you most likely are not in the best frame of mind to contact your insurance company. You need to gather facts and pull yourself together first.
Hopefully, the accident is not so serious as to leave you unconscious and hanging to life. If you are able to, the first thing you should do is to call 911. Any call you would make should be to the police, if they are not already on their way to the scene of the accident. You can also check on the passengers of the other car to see if anyone is injured
Get As Much Information As Possible To Aid Your Claim
You will need to get the other driver’s information to aid your claim. Information which you should get include:
- Insurance information of the other driver
- The full name and contact information of the other driver (also that of the passengers in the car)
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, colour and model of the other driver’s car
- Location of the accident
You will need to share your information with the other driver as well. Also,take pictures of the accident scene and the damage done to both cars .
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
It is best to seek medical care immediately after the accident. Explain all the symptoms to your doctor . This will enable your doctor to treat you appropriately.
Also ensure you keep getting treatment if you are still experiencing any symptoms. Failure to do so will make the Insurance company think you are fully healed.
Notify Your Car Insurance Company
After the accident, you are to notify your insurance company by filing a claim . If the accident was not your fault, your insurance company is expected to get your car fixed, pay your medical fees or pay you for any loss incurred.
The Insurance company would assign a Claims Adjuster to your case. A Claims Adjuster is a person assigned by the insurance company to manage your claim. It is his work to save the insurance company money, hence he would be on the lookout to sabotage your claim.
There are ways in which the insurance companies sabotage injured victim claims which would be explained below:
Make you accept fault
Missouri is a Comparative fault state. This means compensation for victims of accidents are granted only if they had no role in its cause. This legal doctrine is also known as contributory negligence.
What it means is that, should the insurance company find out you had a fault in the accident, your claim will be invalid.
However, what you need to do is get a St. Louis personal injury lawyer who will assess your claim and make sure you get just compensation for your injuries.
Create contradictions in your earlier submitted information
After filing your claim, insurance adjusters try everything within their power to discredit your claim in order to use it against you.
They monitor your movements and your social media handles just to get facts that contradict your earlier submitted information. This is all done in a bid to lower your settlement or deny your claim. It is always advised to get a personal injury attorney at this stage to help you handle the insurance adjusters.
Make you accept settlement before contacting a lawyer
The Insurance company would always want to make you accept their settlement before contacting a lawyer. These settlements are usually low and won’t cover the costs incurred after the accident.. However, contacting a lawyer before accepting a settlement is always best.
When dealing with your insurance company: (It is usually best to have your lawyer by your side to guide you)
- Do not accept fault for the accident.
- Do not sign a release form (or any other document) from the insurance company without consulting a personal injury attorney.
- Do not distort facts or exaggerate
- Do not give any official recorded statement without consulting a personal injury attorney.
- Never answer any question which you are not sure of. Rather, it’s best to answer “I don’t know” to any questions to which you can not give a factual answer. Usually, it is questioned as to the speed you were driving at or other estimates.
- Do not agree to any settlements from the insurance company without consulting a personal injury attorney. Usually, the initial settlements from the insurance companies are quite low.
Hire A Personal Injury lawyer
This is one of the most important factors. A personal injury attorney will ensure you get the best compensation for any losses incurred.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure your claim is properly handled by the company.
Ultimately, such lawyers are more experienced in dealing with insurance companies. They are in the best position to know the true value of your claim, taking into consideration present and future damages.
It is however important you hire a personal injury lawyer early in the process in order for him to help you manage the insurance process.
Usually, your personal injury lawyer would:
- Make sure you receive adequate medical treatment and order for your medical bills and medical records. After you have been properly healed, he would submit all your treatment information to the insurance company.
- He would handle the negotiating process with the insurance company.
- Your personal injury lawyer would submit a demand for settlement on your behalf to the insurance company. Then negotiations begin with the insurance company making the first offer, and it goes back and forth until your lawyer gets the best amount suited to your claim. Nonetheless, the decision to accept the offer or not lies with you.
Should you accept the offer, the negotiations ends. But if you don’t, your lawyer will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the party at fault. It usually takes longer than a settlement but you may be able to recover more compensation for your injuries.
This is why it is usually best to work with a lawyer who can advise you on how best to proceed. At Combs Law Group, our personal injury attorneys are amongst the best in the country.
We understand how difficult it is to deal with insurance companies. We are aware of the tactics they usually use to avoid paying fair compensation and know exactly how to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in an accident and are now contemplating filing a claim, call us at 314-451-2711 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a contact form.