Insurance is a big industry, and when companies settle claims, their main concern is often what helps them, not you. Almost without fail, adjusters will want to deny or reduce your claim. If you’ve been injured in a car wreck or other accident where someone else was at fault, you’ll be dealing with insurance companies on a daily basis. While nothing can replace the professional experience of a good personal injury attorney, it’s almost important for you, the client, to understand the process of getting a fair settlement.
Collect as much information as you can.
Start by collecting copies of your medical reports regarding the injuries you sustained from the accident. If there are witnesses, ask them for their contact information, and get in touch promptly to ask them for statements. Get a copy of the police report, as well.
If you have a serious injury with the potential for a high claim amount, consider hiring professional investigators and an accident reconstruction professional. Expert testimony can be a great asset if the case goes to court. Your insurance adjuster has been trained to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the case; you need someone on your side to do the same.
Take photos – lots of them.
Most people know they should take pictures of the accident scene. This is a very important step in the process of documenting your claim. Capture the position of the cars, the physical damage to your car from different angles, and your surroundings. But there’s something else you should be taking pictures of: your injuries. Cuts, abrasions, and bruises will heal, but they are still part of the injuries you’ve suffered. In our culture today, a picture is worth more than a thousand words – and could make the difference of thousands of dollars.
Ask your attorney before signing anything.
As any of the attorneys at Taylor King & Associates can tell you, the first rule of personal injury claims is that you should never sign anything unless specifically directed by your attorney. The other driver’s insurance company will likely ask for access to your medical records, which requires that you sign a release form. Only your attorney and your own insurance company should be given access to your medical records. Third-party adjusters can find small reasons (like that high school sports injury that might qualify as a pre-existing injury) to make big deductions to your settlement.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this three-part series to learn more.