After an automobile accident, most insurance companies will try to minimize the amount they have to pay for the accident, or sometimes, try to avoid their payment altogether. Practice these important steps to protect yourself both before and after an automobile accident:
Make Sure You Understand Your Policy’s Fine Print
When it comes to accidents, many people lose important benefits because they don’t realize what claims they should file based on their insurance policies. In many cases, there are strict time limits and notification requirements when it comes to filing a claim. Car accident victims who don’t respond to notification requirements on time run the risk of losing their coverage. That said, contact your insurance company immediately after you get in an accident. Know all the details of your insurance policy—most importantly, what coverage is included.
Don’t Give Adjusters Your Story Right Away
When insurance adjusters approach you right after an accident, it may seem natural to tell them what you know and sign whatever papers they give you without thinking twice. By signing these papers, you may be signing away your rights to sue. It is important that you carefully review these papers, preferably with a personal injury attorney, before signing away your rights. Furthermore, any statements you make early on may be used against you as you try to obtain coverage. Always remember that you are not required to sign any documentation right away, despite what the adjuster(s) tell you. Take time to review documentation with your lawyer prior to signing anything that could get in the way of your plans to sue.
Get a Lawyer’s Approval Before Accepting a Settlement Offer
Even if the amount of money an insurance adjuster offers you after an accident seems great, you should never accept the first offer. There is more to coverage than just hospital bills. Due to an injury, you or a loved one may lose wages if you if can no longer work, or there may be follow-up appointments in the future that could get expensive. It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney and ask for advice. Seeking their advice is typically free—and they can give you an honest opinion of whether or not it’s worth it to pursue your case further.
Learn the Games Insurance Companies Like to Play
It seems natural to rely on your insurance company for advice after an accident. While an insurance company is there to help you cover the costs of your automobile accident, they will also do whatever it takes to pay as little as possible. For that reason, many insurance companies will deny claims, fail to return your phone calls, put you on hold for long periods of time, or pass you around from one adjuster to the next—all delay tactics to put off payment as long as they can. Don’t let the stress of their delay tactics lead you to accept a really low settlement offer. To be sure you get the appropriate amount of coverage, contact a personal injury attorney and drastically increase your chances of gaining the compensation you need.