This guest blog post is from DUI attorney Aaron Wallenstein. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in which the other driver was found responsible, you will likely need to go through their insurance company to obtain the compensation you’re entitled to. Ideally, the insurer will quickly settle the matter by paying out a fair amount that covers your current and future medical bills, as well as lost wages.
Unfortunately, getting compensation for personal injuries isn’t always that simple. Insurance companies will do everything they can to save money on their end by minimizing the amount they pay for your injuries or even deny your claim outright. Common arguments they make include claiming that you were partially at fault for the accident even if an official investigation places the responsibility solely on the other driver, arguing that your injuries come from a preexisting condition or that they happened after the accident. If the nature and extent of your injuries requires treatment by several different medical specialists, insurers have been known to devalue claims by arguing that the treatment received wasn’t medically necessary.
If the insurance company is arguing instead of giving you a fair settlement for your injuries, there are a couple of things you should do right away:
Understand That the Insurance Adjuster Isn’t on Your Side
Even if they sound friendly and sympathetic, adjusters from the responsible party’s insurance provider don’t have your best interest in mind. Their job is to protect the interests of their employer by saving them as much money as possible.
Consult With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Right Away
Attorneys specializing in personal injury cases will be happy to provide you with a free consultation during which they will evaluate your case and answer any questions you have.
Many times, insurance adjusters will discourage you from speaking to an attorney by claiming that you will need to pay huge fees in advance. This is simply a lie. Reputable personal injury attorneys get paid by collecting a share of the settlement from the insurance company, whether the case requires litigation or not.
The insurance companies have teams of adjusters and lawyers working to defend their interests around the clock. You deserve to have someone doing the same for you.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Adjuster or Sign Any Documents
A tactic commonly used by insurance adjusters is trying to trick injury victims into making statements or signing documents that can later be used against them to deny or devalue the claim.
This is why any qualified attorney will tell you not to talk to the insurance company. Instead, have your attorney represent you with the insurer and handle all interactions on your behalf.
Keep All Your Documentation Neatly Organized
Receiving compensation for injuries in an auto accident will require that you submit a variety of documents to the insurer in order to back up your claim and justify the amount you’re asking for.
Keep any invoices, receipts, medical notes or any other document related to the case, even if you don’t think it will be needed. You should also make several copies of paper documents and scan or take a picture of them so that you can have a record in digital format as well.
Not having the needed documents on hand can delay the settlement of your claim, which is why you should keep them in a safe place.
Take Action Immediately
Personal injury cases are subject to statutes of limitations that vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Insurers may deliberately stall a case in an effort to run out the clock. Signs of this include asking that you send documents to several people or departments, claiming they haven’t received a document you sent, failing to return phone calls in a timely manner, claiming that they need to speak to their superiors before taking further action and giving you vague timelines for the resolution of your claim.
If the statute of limitations is expired, you will lose your ability to file a lawsuit for your personal injuries. To avoid this, contact a personal injury attorney right away to set up an appointment for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.