When you’ve been injured in an auto accident, receiving the compensation you’re entitled to can be difficult, especially at a time when you may be dealing with complex matters such as physical pain, emotional suffering, lost time at work, trauma, car repairs and a litany of other unexpected issues.
Resolving an insurance claim on your own can be very challenging, and few drivers accurately know their rights, responsibilities and how to navigate through the complicated web of processes required to receive the maximum compensation. Much of the time, employing the services of a lawyer will expedite and simplify this process greatly.
Claims adjusters may compensate you for damages to your vehicle and more immediate medical concerns, but it can often be difficult to receive compensation for extended hospital stays and additional tests and treatment, such as chiropractic care. Here are some tips you may find helpful:
When negotiating with adjusters regarding these protracted costs, avoid giving ultimatums. Making hard demands can result in the adjuster turning the case over to the insurance company’s legal department. It’s okay to step back and regroup then try again, but avoid statements like, “if you don’t do ___, I’m going to sue!”
Have Copies of All Legal Documents
Make sure you have copies of all your legal documents related to your accident/injury case. Copies of some documents can be obtained online. For others, you may need to visit the courthouse or your state or county records division. Courthouses and state and county records divisions can provide certified copies where needed. There may be a fee to receive copies of documents.
Keep all the documents organized in one place so you can easily locate them. If you have access to a scanner, consider making electronic copies as a backup. You should have a copy of the accident report and a copy of the at-fault driver’s contact information such as driver’s license and insurance company.
Know What’s in the Accident Report
Familiarize yourself with the contents of the accident report, as this is information you will need to substantiate your case. The police have special training that enable them to determine fault. They interview witnesses, drivers and passengers, and look for signs of culpability. Many accidents result from traffic violations such as failing to stop at a light, following too closely, speeding or reckless driving. Violators are normally ticketed, and this will be noted in the police report. Read the summary of the report, and also study the accident diagram. Read over any witness statements.
Follow Up with Witnesses
Police reports often include contact information of any witnesses. Reach out to the witnesses. Let them know you are not trying to get them involved in a lawsuit, but rather are merely trying to negotiate your claim against the insurance company. People are often very understanding about this and are willing to talk to you.
You are legally allowed to record their statements if it is only for your own records. If the witness is uncomfortable with being recorded, you can make detailed notes regarding what they state they witnessed. Many times a witness may later remember some detail that they did not state at the time.
Have a Record of Any Lost Wages
You should have an official record of any lost wages as a result of the accident. A statement on company letterhead signed by a person of authority should be sufficient. You might suggest to your employer it include your position, the dates you missed work, and your hourly compensation rate. A summary of total hours lost and lost compensation is helpful.
Keep a Record of Accident Related Expenses
Keep a record of all bills and expenditures related to the accident, including property damage and medical care, even the cost of gas driving to and from appointments, and any medications or pharmacy products. Keep receipts and copies of statements related to medical care. If you need copies of medical bills, contact the hospital, facilities and doctor’s offices. Create a summary of your medical care from beginning to end, noting treatments, tests, and injuries with dates and names of care providers.
Remember the adjuster’s job is to make a settlement with you rather than having the case adjudicated through the legal system. If the case winds up in the legal system, the adjuster has caused unnecessary expense to his employer so it is in the interest of the adjuster, as well as yours, for you to receive the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Our network of attorneys can assist you in in receiving the maximum benefit for your injuries if you have been in a motor vehicle accident. We are available 24/7 to assist you. The call is free: 855-272-6990.