Posted on February 11th, 2022 by Zane Cagle
No one ever plans to be in a car accident, yet almost all of us are in some type of car accident in our lives. Granted, the majority of us will not be catastrophically injured in car crash, but you don’t have to be catastrophically injured to feel the pain from an improperly done insurance claim. Over the years, we have talked to literally 1,000’s of people after car crashes and there are some common questions everyone has regardless of their age, wealth or health.
Who Should I Call?
Without a doubt, the first call should be to 911 or local police authorities. Failure to call law enforcement is a critical mistake made by many. No matter who you think is at fault, call the police. Failure to call the police may give the other driver an opportunity to change their story or deny the crash ever happened. Thus, if you are thinking about not reporting the crash to the police, you may risk literally owning all of the expenses. Frequently, your own insurance company will require a police report. These issues due to no police report happens way too often. Later, it can be frustrating to discover that nice driver who actually hit you recounted a completely different story to their insurance company. It can be really difficult for you to prove that the crash happened the way you said it did without a police report.
Will Insurance Cover My Bills?
This classic question is always asked. No matter the severity of your injuries, you always wonder if the insurance company will actually cover the bills. They may say a lot of things over the phone, but you really just don’t know until you see something in writing. We have a lot of good tips about dealing with the insurance carrier after a crash, but the overall advice is not to discuss your injuries with any insurance carrier, period. Insurance policies differ, and your coverage will depend on what you actually paid for. For example, if you have are at fault and have liability coverage, it should protect you from paying for the other driver’s costs, but you may still have to cover some of your own. On the other hand, if the driver is at fault but has no insurance, your policy (full coverage) should cover your costs with uninsured property damage or collision coverage. HOWEVER, dealing with any auto insurance company after a crash is NOT ALWAYS THAT SIMPLE.
Car collisions are traumatic ordeals. Pursuing an injury claim on your own behalf can simply be a nightmare. A minor collision with no injuries and little property damage may not require an attorney. A personal injury attorney navigates the complicated aftermath of a crash including gathering medical documents, navigating the insurance claim, advising you of best course of action and brining litigation if necessary.
Do I Need an Attorney?
You might not need an attorney but that can be really impossible to know for sure in the first few days. If you are hurt, the chances that you will need a car accident attorney is high. It is always free to get an initial consultation. Generally, we are better able to help our clients better when we are able to get involved early in the claim/case process.
The great thing about hiring a personal injury attorney is that you can hire an attorney without paying out of pocket. Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. Simply, it means that the attorney only gets paid on a certain percentage of a settlement or verdict. Thus, the attorney is betting on their success rate. Working under a contingency agreement provides incentive for the attorney to fight for the maximum compensation and move the case in a timely way.
When we talk with someone who has been injured in a car accident, there are questions we would love to be able to answer. From personal experience, when I’ve been hurt or laid up; I immediately focus on the worst case scenario! How long am I going to be hurt? How expensive will it be? Will I heal correctly? How will I ever keep up at work? When can I return to work? How long is all of this going to last??!! If you are home from the emergency room and trying to rest and recover, these questions haunt your thoughts and dreams. The surrounding worries make us jittering, confused and highly skeptical. Most often injured people are thoroughly overwhelmed.
While we cannot predict the future, we can assist you in preparing for uncertainty. And, when we take the headache out of dealing with insurance companies, then you can focus on you which is essential to recovery.
First Days: The first days after your injury, your doctors may not be able to predict with great certainty just how long it will take for you to recover. Thus, DO NOT discuss anything about your medical treatment with the insurance adjuster. Why in the world would you share with them medical information before you know the extent of your injury or the costs. Thus, report the crash to your own insurance carrier, but don’t make statements. If you are injured, do not make any statements while you are taking any kind of memory influencing medications such as pain medication!
Follow your doctor’s orders. Make sure that you follow up with appropriate medical treatment. Our first goal when we begin working with any client is maximum medical improvement. Granted, there are some catastrophic injuries and deaths, that no amount of medical treatment can ever make right. If you or your family are facing those kinds of traumas then a good personal attorney is not just recommended but required.
Property Damage vs. Bodily Injury
After a car crash crash with injury, you have two different claims. They should be treated as separate by you and the adjuster. First is the property damage. Your vehicle damaged in the crash is not going to change. Meaning, the insurance company nor you need weeks to figure out what it is going to cost to replace the vehicle. Either it can be repaired or not. Thus, there is no reason that the insurance carrier cannot move promptly. If the other driver’s insurance is disputing fault, then turn it in to your own insurance company. You need your vehicle replaced or repaired so that you can follow up with your medical treatment. The bodily injury claim involves any injuries you sustained due to the crash. No, there is not a magic formula for pain and suffering. Those who are entitled to a lot of pain and suffering generally have a lot of medical treatment. Thus, in the first few days or weeks, you do not have any idea of the medical treatment that is going to be required, so DO NOT negotiate with the insurance carrier about your bodily injury. In fact, do not discuss your injuries with them.
While many people think that car crashes are simple, they rarely are. Many websites will attempt to give you a formula to figure out your damages. There is no reliable formula to figure an approximate settlement. Each crash is as unique as the individuals involved. Many factors go into negotiating a settlement or readying a case for trial. Those factors include how the crash happened, where the crash happened, and the type of insurance coverage available. Most importantly, the severity of the injury and medical treatment is the basis for any injury claim.
It Can Get Complicated
After a car crash, everything just gets more complicated. It gets increasingly more complicated if you are hurt. There are some things that are DIY- Do It Yourself Projects but medical treatment and legal representation are not DIY. Failing to get the right medical treatment can result in failure to yield. Failure to get the right legal help and result in debt and overwhelming medical bills.
Insurance adjusters simply treat attorneys differently than individuals. They do this for a reason–the economics of it work. The insurance adjuster counts on you wanting to flip your claim quickly before you know what it actually wrong. Auto insurance is a multi-billion a year industry and it did not get that way by always paying out fair claims. If you are hurt, you need medical and legal help. We handle the complicated.