Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims in the United States. Victims of car accidents often don’t know what to do immediately following an accident. That lack of knowledge can be used against by insurance adjusters who may seek advantage of you. When dealing with your or the at-fault driver’s insurance company, there are things that you should know to do and not to do according to a car accident lawyer from our friends at the Brandy Austin Law Firm.
Here Are Things That You Should NOT DO:
- Don’t give any recorded or written statements to the at fault driver’s insurer until you are sure you understand the full extent of all of your injuries.
- Don’t sign any medical authorizations, releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice. If you are facing a difficult personal financial situation, it may seem as if it is necessary to accept a premature or inadequate settlement from your insurer.
- Don’t accept a final payment until you are ready to do so. Once you sign a release and accept the insurance company’s offer to sell, that’s the end of your claim. You would not be able to go back and ask for more money if you find out later that your injuries are worse than you first thought.
- Don’t automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your property damage given to you by the insurer. It could be too low. Determine the value of your car through Kelley Blue Book so that you know what the true value of your vehicle may be.
- Don’t ignore time limits set by your policy. Most policies require a signed proof of loss within a certain time limit. In some states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. The clock starts the day that the crash occurs and filing a claim is not the same as filing a lawsuit. Only a lawsuit stops the limitations period, filing a claim does not.
Here Are Things That You Should DO:
- Do take pictures of damages to your vehicle, the accident scene, and your injuries.
- Do report the accident or injury to the police immediately and inform your insurance agent promptly.
- Do keep detailed notes of every conversation with insurance company representatives and get names, phone numbers, and job titles of people with whom you speak.
- Do be honest and forthcoming with your insurer. Failing to be candid with your insurer could invalidate your policy or lead to a denial of coverage. Make sure to make them aware of all of your injuries and issues.
- Do review and have a full understanding of your coverage before talking to your insurer or your agent. Read the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections in particular.
Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims in the United States. While some of the minor claims can be resolved through your or the at-fault driver’s insurer, accidents that result in serious injuries, or even death, are best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, contact a legal professional near you for help immediately on your case.