Submitting a claim to your insurance company after an accident can be a tricky process. Depending on the insurance policy, you may have to notify the carrier that you were involved in an accident; however, your words could potentially be misconstrued and used against you.
Even well-intentioned admissions, like accepting some fault in the accident, could inadvertently lead to reduced compensation or an outright claim denial.
One of the reasons people hire personal injury attorneys in Augusta is so that their lawyer can speak to the insurance company and its representatives on their behalf.
What You Shouldn’t Tell Your Insurance Company After an Accident
You could harm your case’s outcome if you say the wrong thing to the insurance company. You should refrain from saying:
I Caused the Accident
Do not tell the insurer that you caused the accident. That could give the adjuster a reason to lowball or deny your claim completely. Some insurance companies will look for any reason to save money and offer low payouts. When you admit fault, you don’t do yourself any favors. The insurance company will not reward you for your honesty.
When you initially speak with the insurance company, choose your words carefully. For example, saying something as simple as I’m sorry could harm your case. The insurance company could take that as admitting fault. Regardless of whether you live in a fault or no-fault state, you don’t have to discuss who caused the accident. If the insurer needs to know the at-fault party, a representative can investigate the collision.
Shortly after an accident, adrenaline could mask the initial symptoms you feel. However, as time goes on, the pain could come to the forefront, and you could notice you did indeed sustain injuries in the accident. If you initially tell the insurance company that you’re fine or otherwise downplay your condition, that could affect how much you can pursue.
Proving you suffered injuries is the crux of your personal injury claim.
By refuting your condition, you could miss out on recovering compensation for:
- Medical expenses: The cost of your current and future medical bills related to the care you received to treat your accident-related injuries
- Lost income: The current and future income losses you sustained if you couldn’t work because of your injuries from the accident
- Pain and suffering: Physical pain and emotional suffering you endured because of the injuries you sustained in the accident
- Loss of enjoyment: The loss of the ability to participate in activities you could before because of your injuries
- Emotional distress: Mental health complications you now have to face because of the accident or your injuries
Some damages don’t have monetary values associated with them. You could have a difficult time recouping those losses if the insurer questions the severity of your condition.
This Is What I Think Happened…
While you might feel like you need to tell the insurance company every small detail of what happened in the accident, you don’t. Especially on the initial phone call, do not provide any unnecessary details. Until your attorney fully investigates the accident, you don’t have the full story.
If you work with an injury lawyer, they can provide the insurer with the required information. Using evidence, they can share information about fault, liability, and your damages’ cost.
The Names of Uninvolved Parties
It’s easy to get caught up in friendly banter with an insurance representative. Yet, they may use this opportunity to ask for the contact information of your friends, family members, and doctors. Then, they could reach out to these parties and look for information to discredit your character and claim.
You only have to share basic details with the insurance company. When you work with a lawyer, you don’t have to share anything. Your attorney will share all the information needed to process your claim.
No Need to Negotiate—I’ll Take the First Offer
Soon after the accident, the insurance company could contact you and make an offer. Often, insurers initially make low offers, hoping that injured claimants will accept less than they’re owed. You should think twice about accepting any offer before understanding the severity of your condition, the cost of your damages, and the accident’s effect on your quality of life.
An attorney can calculate the value of your losses, so you have a full understanding of what you need. They can also negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
I Don’t Have a Lawyer
If you currently don’t have an attorney, do not share this information with the insurance company. The adjuster could use this fact to offer less than you need, demand a recorded statement, or otherwise complicate your case’s progression.
These are just some statements you should avoid sharing with the liable insurance company. While you’re required to share some basic details about the liable policy, your damages, and the incident itself, you shouldn’t overshare or speculate.
Forgoing Medical Care
When you get injured in an accident, you must show the insurer that you have done everything possible to fully recover.
- Visiting a healthcare provider
- Following your treatment plan
- Attending physical therapy
- Using assistive devices as instructed
Getting medical care accomplishes two things. First, it puts you on the road to reaching maximum medical improvement. It also furnishes evidence to support your case, such as medical bills, x-rays, and diagnostic testing results. Additionally, your lawyer could use your doctor’s testimony when negotiating a fair settlement.
Failing to Notify Officials of the Accident
Whether you suffered injuries in a collision or slip and fall, you need to report the incident immediately.
This could involve filing a report with:
- A store manager
- A leasing office
- Law enforcement
- A nursing home’s administration
An early report of the accident does more than document what happened.
It also lists:
- Whether you suffered injuries
- The names of relevant contacts
- The details of the accident
- The incident’s time, date, and location
- A diagram of the accident scene
- Other relevant information
If you fail to promptly notify the relevant parties, they could dispute your injury’s cause. What’s more, they could even deny that the accident ever happened, complicating matters further.
Giving a Recorded Statement
Initially, you might think that when the claims adjuster asks for a recorded statement, they want to learn your side of the story. Yet, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
During this conversation, the representative may ask loaded questions that attempt to paint your case in a bad light.
These questions may include:
- Did you know how fast you were going when the accident happened?
- Why did you choose to park in that spot?
- Do you have any pre-existing injuries or health conditions?
- Have you ever been in an accident before? If so, what caused it?
- Is it true that you received a speeding ticket once?
- Why were you driving at that time of day?
- Do you have any visual or audio disabilities?
You don’t have to give the insurance company a recorded statement. As noted, you’re only required to share basic information. Anything beyond those details could be a bad-faith effort to discredit your claim.
Accepting an Unsatisfactory Settlement
Some insurance companies are experts at offering low settlements, then convincing injured claimants to accept. You don’t want this to happen to you. If you accept a low settlement offer, you must sign a waiver of liability to get that check. Then, even if you incur further expenses, the insurance company is no longer liable.
Never accept an offer out of impatience or desperation. Rather, you should consider the benefit of letting an attorney advocate on your behalf. They can calculate the full value of your injury-related losses and advocate for a fair settlement.
Disregarding Your Pain and Suffering
Some injury-related damages don’t come with inherent dollar values, but they’re still compensable through an insurance claim. Take pain and suffering, for example. This expense accounts for the accident’s effect on your life. Yet, some insurance companies overlook these losses to save money.
You deserve compensation for each of your losses, including non-economic damages. By consulting an attorney, you can learn more about what types of damages you can recover and what it takes to secure them from the liable party.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Manage All Insurance-Related Obligations
A personal injury attorney can manage all communications, negotiations, and other obligations with the liable insurance company.
When pursuing damages, some of their specific responsibilities include:
- Speaking to the insurance company: To avoid saying anything you shouldn’t to the insurance company after an accident, an attorney can handle communications on your behalf. When they speak to the insurance company, they can offer the information required while also protecting you from bad faith insurance practices.
- Offering legal guidance: In a time like this, you have financial recovery options. An attorney can provide legal advice on what route could benefit your situation. By understanding your options and next steps, you can make informed decisions.
- Investigating the accident: You need evidence to have a solid personal injury case. Supporting information in your case depends on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, if you suffered a collision, evidence, in that case, could include traffic camera footage, the police report, and eyewitness testimony.
- Identifying the cause of the accident: Learning the cause of your accident allows your lawyer to determine fault and liability. Furthermore, proving negligence allows them to pursue the full cost of your damages.
- Filing your claim and negotiating a fair agreement: Negotiating a fair settlement requires your lawyer to understand the cost of your past, present, and future damages. This process also holds the liable insurance company to its obligation. Many personal injury cases end successfully with negotiations.
- Filing a lawsuit (if necessary): If the insurance company doesn’t pay what you deserve, an attorney can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This includes interviewing witnesses, taking depositions, and understanding civil law.
- Ensuring you meet the relevant statute of limitations. Each state has a deadline for how long you have to file a lawsuit. Once the deadline passes, you could lose your opportunity to hold the liable party accountable. If you reach out to an attorney soon after the accident, they can ensure you don’t miss the deadline.
Going through an accident claim alone can cause tremendous stress. Yet, an attorney can add tremendous value to your case. They can offer the guidance and support you want while recovering from your condition.
Many Personal Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency
If you’re dealing with serious injuries, you could face serious financial hardship, too. After all, if you can’t work because of your condition, how can you expect to make ends meet? This may make you think twice about hiring a lawyer.
Yet, many personal injury lawyers offer help on contingency, meaning their attorney’s fees are contingent on your case’s outcome. If they don’t win your case, you owe nothing. If they recover compensation, a percentage of those funds account for their time and efforts.
The bottom line is that you can afford a lawyer regardless of your financial standing. Lawyers exist to help you regain your financial footing, not jeopardize it.
You Could Benefit From a Free Case Review With an Accident Lawyer
The last thing you want to do when dealing with injuries includes a legal battle. An attorney can take on these legal issues for you. Most importantly, an attorney can handle communications with the insurance company so you don’t say anything to hurt your case.
Contact an Augusta Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Suffering through an accident can be a challenging ordeal, both physically and emotionally. You don’t have to deal with insurance companies alone.
By contacting a personal injury lawyer in Augusta, you can get the professional guidance and support you need for your accident. They can help you pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve, allowing you to focus on your recovery and restoring your life’s normalcy.
Don’t let an accident dictate your life – reach out for the support you deserve today.