If you get into a car crash and you end up hospitalized and having to pay for medical treatment, you are likely to look to your insurance company for help. Unfortunately, some people end up getting taken advantage of by insurance companies and don’t receive fair compensation for their injuries or their property damages.
To reduce your risk of ending up on the short end of the stick, follow these recommendations.
1) Wait to contact your insurance company.
You may feel compelled to contact your insurance company immediately. After all, we all want to get the cars repaired and get back to our lives as quickly as possible.
But give yourself a couple hours, first. You need time to calm down. Even if you think you’re fine, a crash causes stress, and you may say something that will hurt your case.Give your mind and body time to relax again, and then call. Better yet, contact your lawyer first.
2) Don’t give a statement to the insurance company.
After you report the crash, an insurance adjuster will probably call you within a very short time. He or she may pressure you to give a recorded statement regarding the details of the crash.
Even if it wasn’t your fault, your words may be construed to suggest that it was. Speak with an experienced car accident attorney first. Meanwhile, tell the insurance adjuster that you will provide a statement at a later date.
3) Don’t apologize to the other driver(s).
After a crash, you’re likely to be shaken up. You may feel like the crash was your fault and want to apologize to others involved.
Don’t… Hold your tongue. If you admit any wrongdoing at all and then find out later that the other driver shared fault, it may be too late. Anything you say can be used to diminish your settlement.
4) Keep your pen in your pocket.
Many insurance adjusters want to get the claim settled and done as quickly as possible, so they may offer papers early on for you to sign. Make sure you don’t sign anything until you know exactly what you’re signing away. Check with your car accident attorney.
5) Seek immediate medical care.
Even if you think you’re fine, go see a doctor after your crash. Some injuries like whiplash, back pain, and neck pain can take time to show symptoms. If you don’t have a medical record, you lose credibility when it comes to claiming injuries.
The insurance company may try to say that you were fine after the crash. Even if your doctor finds nothing in the original visit, the fact that you sought medical care gives you the evidence you need should you develop symptoms later.
6) Follow your doctor’s advice.
If your doctor gives you medications or prescribes other treatments, make sure you follow his instructions to the letter. Attend all of your appointments.
Don’t give the insurance company any reason to doubt that you are injured and doing your best to get better.
7) Hire a personal injury attorney.
Finally, if you are injured in a car crash and need help, don’t hesitate to hire a personal injury attorney. This is your best insurance against being taken advantage of.
Your attorney will watch out for your rights, negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf, and guide you toward all the things you need to do to obtain the highest settlement possible.