If you have had an accident, whether you were injured or not, it is highly likely that you will have to deal with at least one insurance company, even if it is only your own.
If you have been injured in a car accident and are sure that it was another driver’s fault, you will need to deal with the other driver’s insurance company at some point, especially if you are contemplating filing a personal injury claim with the help of an attorney. The tips below are designed to help you do that.
Tip#1: Do Not Make Friends With the at-Fault Party’s Insurance Adjuster
Insurance companies may do the right thing and deal with you in an honest and responsible way, but don’t count on it. They are primarily concerned with their company’s ability to make a profit and that doesn’t involve admitting fault readily. One strategy that is commonly employed is for the party at-fault’s insurance adjuster to approach you in a friendly and seemingly co-operative manner.
This is fine as long as you are aware that whatever you say may be used against you. The best suggestion is to not communicate directly with the defendant’s insurance adjuster yourself, but leave this to your chosen attorney.
Tip#2: Be Prompt When Filing a Claim
Injuries must be treated as first priority, but when you feel fit enough t deal with the financial fallout from your accident, a prompt personal injury claim will be more likely t be successful than a tardy one.
All states have a statute of limitations, commonly two or three years unless the accident was caused by a government employee or agency in which it may be much less. Insurance companies representing their at-fault clients are well aware of this time limit, even if you aren’t.
Tip#3: Be Thorough When Collecting Evidence
Insurance companies are used to insurance claims and will find any excuse at times to avoid having to make a payment for compensation. They will find this more difficult to do if you are well prepared and provide your attorney with sufficient clear evidence showing who was at fault.
This may include photos you took at the scene of the accident, police reports, witness statements which may have been made at the time, medical bills, and statements from your employer documenting any loss in earnings, as well as an estimate made by a repair facility of the damage done to your vehicle.
The claim may depend on what your state allows. This will be discussed with your attorney. For example, you may be able to claim for non economic damages, such as pain and suffering as well as punitive damages if obvious recklessness can be proved.
Tip#4: Talk To a Personal Injury Attorney As Soon As You Can
You may find that you are approached by an insurance adjuster who appear sympathetic and suggests a settlement. This may seem tempting but in most cases, you are far more likely to obtain a fair and full settlement if you retain a personal injury attorney to help you prepare your case and handle any negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
In most cases, personal injury attorneys will provide a free initial consultation in which you can discuss the chance that a claim will have a satisfactory outcome. Personal injury attorneys’ legal fees are usually waived until a satisfactory settlement has been won on your behalf.