Navigating Insurance Companies After a Car Accident
If you’ve recently been injured in an accident your expenses are probably piling up. Your life seems to be on hold, and there are a lot of decisions that you need to make that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable to you. You may be dealing with loss of income because you’re unable to work. You are dealing with physical pain, and emotional distress. If another person was at fault for the accident, then their insurance company may write you a check for some or all of the medical expenses and damages. Understanding how to navigate the insurance company can insure that you get the maximum compensation for your injuries and/or damages.
Contact Your Insurance Company First
You will want to contact your insurance company first before you speak with the other person’s insurance company. Before you leave the scene of the accident make sure to document as much as you can with photos. Take pictures of the damages done to your automobile from multiple angles. Also, make sure to take photos of any injuries that you received as a result of the accident. Make sure to get the contact information of any witnesses and every party involved. Your insurance company requires that you cooperate with their insurance adjusters. Make sure to present them with any evidence you have. This will help your insurance company to determine what kind of payout they will have to give if any. Remember speaking with your company’s insurance adjuster is different than speaking with the other party’s insurance adjuster.
Don’t Settle too Quickly
If you have been in an accident and both parties have insurance, then both of the insurance company’s adjusters will speak with each other. However, if you’ve been injured in a non-automobile accident like a fall in a grocery store, the owner’s insurance company may contact you directly. Remember that the insurance company’s adjusters are not there to help you in any way, even if they make it seem like they have your best interest at heart. They are paid by the insurance company to minimize the pay-outs and to find ways to limit the cost to the insurance companies. The adjuster will want to settle the claim quickly, but it’s in your best interest to wait until you can determine the cost of future medical treatment. You will almost certainly want to consult with an attorney before moving forward at this point, and avoid making detailed statements to the insurance adjuster. In the meantime, carefully document all of your treatment, bills, and lost wages.
Don’t Release Your Medical Records
The insurance adjuster may want you to sign a form to release access to your medical records. Do not sign this form, because this may give them access to previous medical records un-related to your case that can negatively effect the outcome of your settlement. Your safer option is to get any applicable medical records and send them to the insurance company yourself. Of course your safest option is to hire a personal injury attorney to do this for you because they will know exactly how to maximize your compensation.
At the end of the day your best bet is really to consult with an attorney. There are lots of qualified personal injury attorneys in your area that can help assist you with your case, but also help you pay some of your upfront medical expenses and day to day expenses.