Dealing with Insurance After a Wreck
Insurance companies make money through premiums charged to drivers for protection from liability in car accidents and vehicle repairs. Insurers do not make any money paying out claims. Paying out settlements, in fact, is simply not good for their bottom line. That’s why conversations with your insurance company after a car accident should be handled very carefully.
Low-Balling In The Insurance Industry
Low-balling, or offering the lowest possible settlement, is widespread in the insurance industry. Some even go so far as to practice intimidation tactics to get you to accept a smaller settlement than you deserve.
Don’t be led astray by the insurance adjusters’ kind demeanor, either. They might be trying to get you to admit guilt. Talking to your insurance company after a car accident can be intimidating, but maximizing your settlement should be your only goal.
Three Ways to Maximize Your Settlement
Collect Evidence at the Scene
Immediately after any accident, you should start gathering evidence, such as:
- Photos and video of the scene
- Statements from bystanders or witnesses
- Try to get footage from nearby public surveillance video cameras
You’ll also want to file a police report and be transported to the hospital so you have a record of injuries. You will have to be agile, even though you will likely be suffering. Quick thinking on your part will help you get the payout you deserve for medical bills, vehicle repair and pain and suffering.
Keep Good Records
It’s imperative that you visit the emergency room regardless of whether you think your injuries are serious. The ER physician will provide you with a document that outlines your injuries. If you wait, you may wind up facing a judge who thinks that your injuries happened before the accident because he has no solid proof the accident caused them. Keep every doctor’s appointment and all of your doctor’s notes.
You should also get two copies of vehicle repair estimates, police reports, and any other documentation that’s even remotely related to your accident. Keep one copy for yourself and give another copy to your attorney. A car accident attorney will let you know if further documentation is needed and negotiate with the insurance companies for you.
Be Wary of Signing Documents
It is highly likely that the insurance company will ask you to provide them with a statement or sign official documents related to your accident. Be extremely careful of anything you are asked to sign because oftentimes these documents will either restrict your legal rights, limit your ability to collect a settlement, or prevent you from being able to go after the full amount of your claim at all. Always have a lawyer look over anything you’re asked to sign.
Avoid Social Media
Most people document their entire lives on social media, but that is a very bad idea for anybody involved in any kind of lawsuit. If you claim you cannot walk because of a back injury sustained during a car wreck and you are trying to sue the negligent party but then post a video of yourself on Instagram dancing at your cousin’s birthday party, guess what? The defense attorney is going to present that as evidence against you.
Some people find it particularly hard not to communicate with loved ones and family through online platforms at the scene of the accident. You will definitely be shaken up after a wreck, but your judgment will be off because of the stress, so it’s important, particularly at this time, to avoid communicating the wrong things.