Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on October 20th, 2016,
by Zane Cagle

“Dealing” with Insurance Claims After a Car Crash in Missouri

Posted on October 20th, 2016 by Zane Cagle

Should You Really Have to “Cope” with Insurance After a Car Accident that is Not Your Fault?

14326331409vda8Dealing with an insurance company after any car accident can be a time-consuming pain. But, if the crash was not your fault, it only gets more complicated.  You are dealing with an insurance company of someone you don’t even know and “assuming” the insurance company will treat you fairly. There are some common mistakes to avoid after a car accident and below, we offer some more tips and information to consider if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Some Tips to Follow After a Crash:

Gather Information

It is critical to gather as much information at the scene of the crash as possible. Obviously, if you are critically injured, you will not be able to do any of this.  If you are able, collect the following information:  other driver’s name and address, other driver’s insurance information and policy number, contact information for all witnesses and take pictures of the accident scene, including all vehicles preferably at the crash site still in place.

Gathering information may bolster your position on the cause of the crash and damage, both property and bodily injury.  Use our handy The Cagle Law Firm smartphone app to help you be certain you have the important documentation.

Notify the Right People, Including an Attorney

First, notify your insurance carrier that the crash occurred. Second, notify the other driver’s insurance carrier. Caution:  Do not discuss your injuries in detail with either insurance carrier.  Odds are you will not know the full extent of your injuries for several days or even weeks. Third, call an experienced car crash attorney.

If you are injured, you will need legal representation.

I talk to individuals every day who messed up this critical part.  I hate to hear of it happening to anyone.  If you are hurt, talk to a car accident attorney immediately. Do not go this on your own.  Insurance adjusters are trained to gather information that may work against you in minimizing your damage claim.

Your insurance company and especially the other driver’s insurance company do not want you to contact an attorney. They know that once you contact a professional, they cannot dismiss your injuries and it will be more difficult to “low ball” you.

In theory, you shouldn’t have to notify the other driver’s insurance carrier as it is the responsibility of the insured, but most of the time you do.  The other driver may hope that you don’t know how to file a claim or assume that you are not hurt. If your claim is simply a property damage claim, then insurance companies are usually not bad considering estimates and the objective nature of property damage. Theory is not always reality.  Car insurance companies may try to make all kinds of demands before they will pay for property damage and of course, their demands are significantly greater if you have physical injuries.

Be cautious.  Haggling with insurance adjusters is not what you do for a living—unless you are an insurance adjuster. And, anyone that is an insurance adjuster usually knows they need to hire a qualified car accident attorney.

Understand the Battles

The at-fault driver’s insurance may tell you to seek payment from your own insurance company because it has no evidence of its policy holder’s fault. Although most states have laws in place making it illegal for an insurance company to deny a claim without investigation, they may deny your claim even if the other driver admitted fault at the scene. The other driver may be a “nice person”, and may have apologized at the scene and accepted blame; but you should remember that they have little influence over whether or not their carrier will pay out a fair claim.

How Do I know if I Need an Attorney?

If you only have property damage, then honestly, you may not need our help.  However, if you are injured, then you do truly need our legal assistance.  Typically, insurance companies make significantly higher offers to those injured individuals with representation than they do to those not represented.

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) conducted a study and concluded that payouts to injured victims were much higher when the injured party was represented by an attorney. In another study, the All-Industry Research Advisory Council (ARAC) came to the same conclusions.  Both studies made it clear that having an attorney can make a large monetary difference when it comes to gaining compensation after a car crash.

The IRC found that when examining claims, 85 percent of all money paid out for bodily injury claim are paid to victims with an attorney representing them.  Claims with attorney representation were often paid 3 1/2 times more than those who did not have representation. Even when your attorney works on a “contingency”, legal representation more than pays for itself.

If Injured, Can you Really Afford Not to be Represented?

Don’t Go It Alone

If you’ve been injured, you have enough to deal with just arranging medical treatment and following medical provider’s instructions. It’s a stressful and overwhelming time. Insurance companies love to find  any “pre-exiting condition” or any reason to find you partly “liable” or at-fault.  I could tell you some crazy stories—perhaps, that would be a great blog all in of itself.  The point of my article is “If you are hurt, be smart and contact an attorney as soon as possible”.

Our St Louis car accident attorneys know the pitfalls of handling a case on your own. We represent individuals injured every day. The Missouri personal injury lawyer that you hire is truly the only group on your side. Your insurance company ultimately looks at their bottom dollar and same goes for the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Ultimately, it is smart to consult an attorney who will look after your individual interests rather than the financial interests of the insurance company.

Call us at (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation.