After being involved in a car accident, one of the most important steps of the post-accident process is dealing with insurance companies. Although insurance coverage is designed to provide financial protection during situations like these, navigating the claims process can be challenging and overwhelming.
Today we want to discuss the dos and don’ts of dealing with insurance companies after a car or truck accident to ensure you handle the process most effectively and maximize your chances of a successful settlement.
Dos when dealing with insurance companies
Following are some tips to follow when dealing with the insurance company.
DO: Notify your insurance company promptly
After a Little Rock motor vehicle accident, promptly contact your insurance company to report the incident. Provide accurate and detailed information about the accident, including the date, time, location, and a basic description of what happened. Adhere to any timelines or reporting requirements outlined in your policy. Provide the facts only and leave any details to your attorney.
DO: Gather evidence and documentation
Collect as much evidence as you can to support your claim. This can include photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles involved, and your injuries. Obtain a copy of the police report, exchange information with the other parties involved, and gather witness statements if available. Keep all medical records, repair estimates, and any other relevant documentation related to the accident.
DO: Review your insurance policy
Ensure you are familiar with your car insurance policy’s terms and coverage limits. Understand what damages are covered, including property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. Review things like exclusions or limitations that might affect your claim. Understanding your policy thoroughly will help you set realistic expectations about the claims process.
DO: Seek immediate medical attention
See a physician whether or not you sustained visible injuries in the car accident. Some injuries may not symptomize for hours or days, so it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Ensure you follow your healthcare provider’s advice and treatment plan to the letter. Keep detailed records of all medical appointments, diagnoses, treatments, medications, and related expenses. This documentation will be crucial when negotiating your settlement.
DO: Consult with a lawyer
Consider consulting with an experienced Little Rock personal injury attorney who focuses on car accident claims. An attorney can provide valuable guidance throughout the claims process, protect your rights, and advocate for your best interests. They can help you understand your legal options, negotiate with the insurance company, and pursue legal action if necessary.
DO: Communicate in writing
When communicating with the insurance company and other parties, especially regarding settlement negotiations, it is always best to do so in writing. Use email or certified mail to send letters or requests so you have a record. Keep copies of all correspondence and document the date and time of each communication. This ensures a clear record of your interactions and helps prevent misunderstandings or disputes.
DO: Keep a journal
Try to maintain a detailed journal documenting the effect the accident is having on your daily life. Include things like pain, discomfort, limitations, emotional distress, and all the challenges you are facing as a result of the accident. This journal can be a very valuable resource when calculating your damages and losses.
DO: Review any settlement offers carefully
If the insurance company does present you with a settlement offer, carefully review all the terms and consult with your Little Rock attorney before signing or negotiating. Ask yourself if this offer adequately compensates you for all of your damages – including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and all of your future needs. You should never feel pressured to accept any offer that does fairly compensate you for your losses.
Don’ts when dealing with insurance companies
Now that you know what you should do when dealing with the insurance company, you should also keep in mind these things not to do:
DON’T provide a recorded statement without legal advice
Never give the insurance company a recorded statement without first consulting with your attorney. Insurance adjusters are infamous for using your statements against you to minimize their own liability. Before giving any statement, be extremely cautious and ensure you are aware of all your rights.
DON’T sign an agreement or release too soon
You should also be cautious if presented with a release or settlement agreement, especially if it happens soon after the accident. Signing anything can potentially limit your ability to seek compensation in the future. Take any releases or agreements to your attorney for review and ensure you know any long-term implications before signing anything.
DON’T accept blame or apologize
It is crucial you avoid admitting fault or apologizing – either at the accident scene or during conversations with the insurance company. Doing so can jeopardize your ability to recover compensation and even make you liable for an accident you did not cause. Simply stick to the facts and let the investigation play out to determine fault.
DON’T settle too quickly
We understand you have bills that need to be paid, but resist the urge to settle your claim quickly, especially if you’re still undergoing medical treatment. It is possible your injuries haven’t even fully manifested at this point, or your injuries have long-term consequences that are not even apparent yet. Rushing into a settlement could result in inadequate compensation for your future needs.
Remember, dealing with insurance companies after a vehicle accident can be challenging, but understanding the dos and don’ts of the process is crucial for a successful claim. By following the recommended dos, such as notifying your insurance company promptly, gathering evidence, reviewing your policy, and seeking legal advice, you can position yourself for a favorable outcome.
Additionally, being aware of the don’ts, including not accepting blame and not settling too quickly will protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages. Consulting with a knowledgeable Little Rock personal injury attorney can provide you with the guidance and support you need throughout the claims process.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, our attorneys want to help. The team at Bailey & Greer, PLLC have been representing the people of Little Rock for decades when they are injured through no fault of their own. To schedule a free consultation, call our offices or fill out our contact form today.
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC we do everything in our power to assuage those fears, and to help our clients find resolutions to their problems. Our Little Rock based law firm offers a wide variety of legal services to individuals and families throughout Arkansas. When you are hurt, you can trust the injury attorneys of Bailey & Greer.