How to Deal With an Insurance Company After an Accident
How to Deal With an Insurance Company After an Accident. After being injured in an accident, the at-fault party's insurance company is required to compensate you for your damages. But too often an insurance company's main goal is paying out as little as possible instead of doing the right thing and giving you the financial recovery you deserve. Personal injury lawyers are experts at standing up to bullies like resistant insurance companies. Read on to see how to deal with an insurance company after an accident.
The DOs and DON'Ts of Dealing With an Insurance Company After an Accident
Insurance companies use a lot of tricks to try and avoid paying out claims, and it's important to know how to combat them for the best possible results in your case. Below is what you should — and should not — do when dealing with an insurance company after an accident.
DO Keep a Complete File of All Your Records Related to the Accident
An insurance adjuster is not going to compensate you for something you can't prove. You need evidence, such as police reports finding the other driver at fault, pictures of the crash site, medical records to prove your injuries and the extent of your treatment and W2s to show your wage loss damages. You can also keep a daily journal detailing how your injuries have affected you mentally, emotionally and physically.
DON'T give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company
You'll likely get a call from a friendly-sounding insurance adjuster who tells you that, as a normal part of the claims process, they need to ask you a few questions and take a recorded statement. There is no law in Missouri and Illinois that requires you to do any such thing. The statement may later be used against you to assign you partial or full fault or minimize your injuries. In some cases, the true severity of an injury is only seen in the days or weeks after the accident, and giving an account of your injuries one or two days afterward is not an accurate description.
DO Get All of the Medical Treatment You Need
If you're missing work and insurance doesn't cover certain aspects of your treatment, it may be tempting to hold off on completing the treatment you need to reach your maximum medical recovery. But you will be reimbursed for that in the future. Getting your full medical treatment not only helps you reach a full recovery faster, but will result in a higher financial compensation when calculating for pain and suffering.
DON'T Sign a Blanket Medical Authorization
The insurance adjuster may tell you they need your full medical records to evaluate your claim; that is not true. While they will need to review medical reports, they are only entitled to those directly related to the accident you're filing a claim for. If they see your full medical records, they may try to say your injuries are preexisting.
DO Stay Off Social Media
Many of us have gotten used to sharing certain events in our lives with family and friends on social media. While it can be tempting to post after getting injured, it's best not to use say anything about the accident, your injuries, events in your life or what you expect to do with your settlement money. If you post pictures of you bowling after claiming a severe ankle injury, or mention how you can't wait to get a new computer, your motivations and the veracity of your claim to the insurance company could be questioned.
DON'T Accept the First Settlement Offer
This is an infuriating but, unfortunately, standard part of the claims process. The adjuster will tell you that after their review of the facts they only can offer so much. Their initial offer will be lower — most likely substantially lower — than what you are owed. While it can be tempting to take the offer if you need money quickly, taking their first offer likely means leaving thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands, of dollars on the table.
DO Speak to an Attorney
Often, an insurance adjuster's best weapon is simply the knowledge and experience they have with the claims process. If you've never had to file an injury claim before, or are finding this experience more difficult than the last, always reach out to a personal injury attorney to see whether or not a settlement offer is fair or not. Most personal injury lawyers answer questions and offer case reviews for free. You deserve the full financial recovery you are rightfully owed, and a powerful insurance company or dishonest insurance adjuster has no right to keep it from you. If the insurance company won't be fair, it's likely time to hire a personal injury lawyer.
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