After a car accident, injured drivers and passengers have to deal with medical treatment and recovery, getting back to work, and taking care of a damaged vehicle. Unfortunately for many, this also means the frustration of dealing with an insurance company that may appear to be fighting you every step of the way. If you experience any complications in dealing with the insurance company, it may be time for you to call a lawyer, to make sure you receive full and fair compensation after an accident.
Contacting the Insurance Company
One of the first steps to take after an accident is to contact your insurance company. Your policy likely requires you to report the accident within a certain timeframe after the accident. Your insurance company may require information about the accident, including who was involved, contact information for any other drivers involved and their insurance company, the police accident report information, and a statement about the accident.
Talking to the insurance company after an accident can be confusing. Each driver may have their own insurance company, and in some cases, you may have the same insurance provider as the other person involved in the accident. It is important to understand who you are talking to and who they represent before you say anything.
Talking to Your Insurance Adjuster
Your insurance company may be your point of contact after you file an accident claim; however, that does not mean that they work for you. The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, and that company has an interest in paying out as little money as possible. They may try and get another insurance company to pay for your damages, or pay the minimum they owe or they think they can get away with.
When talking to your insurance adjuster, you may be required under the terms of your insurance policy to give them certain information, including cooperation when filing claims for a damaged vehicle or medical treatment. You should not lie about the accident because it could come back to hurt you and your chances at recovering damages after the accident. If you are unsure of how you should deal with the insurance company, talk to your attorney, who only represents you in the negotiations.
Talking to the Other Insurance Company
The easiest way to deal with the other driver's insurance company is simply to refer them to your attorney. Once you refer the insurance company to your lawyer, you will never have to talk to them again. Speaking with the insurance company can be complicated and may put your claim at risk.
Many drivers feel like they can talk to the insurance company because they have nothing to hide. They think that by simply explaining the accident, they will more quickly receive a settlement check. However, the insurance process is rarely so straightforward. Insurance adjusters have years of experience dealing with accidents, claims, and lawsuits. They may be trying to get you to say something that they can later use to decrease the amount they pay you, use your statement against you to deny your claim, or even make you pay for the other driver's damages.
Can I Select My Own Doctor to Treat My Injuries?
In most cases, your car insurance company will not select who you can see for medical treatment after an accident. Your medical treatment may be limited by your healthcare insurance options and limits. However, when seeking damages for your car accident injuries, the insurance company may only compensate you for treatment related to the accident.
If there is a dispute over your injuries, or a personal injury lawsuit is involved, the insurance company may have you go to a doctor of their choosing for an “independent medical exam.” Unfortunately, the “independent” doctor may not be so independent. These doctors may see hundreds of patients for the insurance companies. Some of these doctors may claim an injury is not so severe, does not constitute a disability, or is not related to the car accident.
If the insurance company expresses any doubts about your injuries or wants you to be evaluated by another doctor of their choosing, you should talk to an attorney. Your attorney can make sure you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company or their doctors.
Signing a Release
Signing a release is generally the last step in settling your claim with the insurance company. A release of liability and claims effectively means you are giving up your legal rights to sue or seek damages. Before you sign any type of release with an insurance company, you need to understand what that will mean for you and your case. Your attorney will be able to review your case and advise you on whether signing the release is in your best interests.
Many people who are injured in an accident will quickly sign a release, hoping it will be the end of dealing with the insurance company, even if the amount of money is not what they expected. Others may feel like if they do not sign the release, they will lose out on any compensation. However, insurance companies often offer a quick settlement to try and avoid paying full compensation.
In many cases, the injured driver may still be receiving medical treatment when they are offered to sign a release. They may not have taken into account continuing medical care, and how expensive treatment can be. In some cases, the injuries may get worse, and the driver may become disabled and unable to work. Any settlement should take into account the full extent of your injuries and damages, for the past and the future. We will review your situation and provide an estimate of your damages for your comparison to any release and settlement, free of charge.
When To Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
After an accident, many drivers wonder if they should contact a personal injury attorney. If you are thinking about contacting an attorney after an accident, too early is better than too late. The insurance company may try and trick you into admitting something they will later use against you. As soon as you experience any difficulties or problems in dealing with the insurance company, it may be time to reach out to an attorney.
Unlike the insurance company, your attorney works for you. They will represent your best interests, and not in the interests of the insurance company's bottom line. Your attorney can take the pressure of dealing with the insurance company off your back, so you can focus on your family and getting your life back to normal.
Many people worry that they cannot afford a lawyer. However, you may find that you can hire an experienced personal injury attorney with no out-of-pocket costs. With a contingency agreement, they will only get paid if you get paid. Additionally, an attorney may be able to get you a much higher award than you could without legal representation. Your attorney can negotiate a better settlement offer, or if necessary, take your case to court to fight for full compensation for your injuries.
Florida Automobile Accident Attorney
A Florida personal injury attorney will fight for you and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. They will deal with the insurance company so you can focus on getting your life back to normal. Koberlein Law Offices regularly appear before trial courts and represents accident victims in Columbia County, Alachua County, Suwannee County, Hamilton County, Lafayette County, Madison County, and Gilchrist County. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact KLO online or call 386-269-9802 for Lake City or 352-519-4357 for Gainesville.