One of the first things you should do following an auto accident is to notify your insurance company. If there is relatively minimal damage and no serious injuries, the insurance adjuster may request that you obtain estimates for repairing your vehicle. Once this is approved, they will usually send the claimant a check to cover these costs.
When the accident involves serious bodily injury or there is a question about liability, the case becomes much more complicated. Determining who is at fault is a key element in any personal injury case and will affect the amount of damages the victim is entitled to receive. The role of the insurance adjuster is to keep money in the pocket of the insurance company, rather than doling it out to injured victims. They may try to settle your claim quickly by offering you a low-ball settlement. Once you sign a release, you will be prohibited from getting any further compensation for your injuries. Some injuries don’t show up right away and agreeing to settle early may work against you.
Insurance Claim Strategies
There are several things that you should do if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident:
• Seek medical treatment for your injuries immediately. If you wait, the insurance company will think that you’re injuries are not serious.
• Continue to get medical attention and follow through with all of your appointments. If there are gaps in treatment, this looks as if you don’t need further medical help.
• Keep a journal of everything you remember after the accident. These details fade with time and having a written account may prove helpful if you decide to sue in the future.
• Save all your receipts and bills for any expenses related to the accident, including prescription medications, replacement costs for cell phones or a laptop computer.
• Try to conduct your dealings with the insurance through written communication. This way you will have a record attesting to what transpired rather than relying on the “he said, she said” scenario.
Here are some examples of what not to do when dealing with the insurance company:
• Never agree to give a recorded statement regarding the accident. This locks you into one version of events, and may not be accurate if you are recovering from a head injury or other trauma.
• Do not sign a release for your medical or employment records. The insurance company can send these off for review and have some third party give their opinion about your condition and whether or not you can resume work.
• Do not submit to an independent medical examination by a doctor of their choosing. These people are paid to side with the insurance company and discount your injuries.
• Never lie about the extent of your injuries because insurance companies hire investigators to watch your movements. They will take video of you going to the gym, running errands in order to catch you in a lie.
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
Insurance companies are in the business of making money and paying a profit to their shareholders. Their goal is to pay out as little money as possible to victims. People often agree to take the insurance company’s first offer because they need to pay their bills. In the long run, this may not be the best solution for your case. It is a proven fact that individuals who are represented by a Las Vegas personal injury attorney obtain a much better settlement than those without legal counsel. Call the law offices of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright today for a free consultation about your case.