Dealing with the Insurance Company after Your Wreck
Being involved in a car accident is an overwhelming experience. The accident itself can be traumatic, especially if you or a loved one suffered injuries. In addition, the aftermath can be extremely stressful and confusing. Not only do you have to seek medical care for your injuries, take time off work, and get your car repaired (or replaced), you also have to deal with insurance companies. It is important to be prepared and know how to respond if you are faced with an accident. Knowing the right steps to take and the right calls to make can save you thousands of dollars in medical bills and repairs and help you get compensation for your injuries faster.
Dealing with your insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver can be a complicated, frustrating process. In theory, you should be able to notify the insurance company of the accident, take your car to a mechanic, get medical care from a doctor, and send your bill to insurance. In reality, however, it is almost never that simple. Car insurance companies generally do not operate with your best interests in mind, doing everything in their power to pay you as little as possible and maintain their profits. This is why it is extremely important to know how to deal with the insurance company and the importance of having trained legal experts represent you.
What to Do Immediately After Your Accident
If you have been injured in an accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Injury Attorney David Greene says, “Obviously if you are bleeding, have broken bones, or are in extreme pain, you need to get checked out right away. Allow first responders to escort you to the nearest Emergency Room. For minor accidents, as a general rule, if there is any damage to your vehicle there very well may be damage to your body, and it’s worth getting checked out by a doctor. Many injuries from car accidents aren’t particularly obvious at first, but they can still have significant long term effects if not caught early.”
Often, even if you do not feel as if you have been injured, it is important to get checked out by a trained medical professional. Sometimes injuries from car accidents do not show up until the next day or even longer after the accident. If you have been injured in any way, it is important to get the treatment you need.
If you are able to do so, focus on gathering evidence from the scene of your accident. The evidence you are able to gather following an accident will play an important role in substantiating your claim. Take pictures, make notes, obtain witness statements and document every aspect of your accident. This will increase your chances of being able to prove fault and pursue the full value of your claim.
Keep strict records of every accident-related transaction and communication between you and your insurance company. If the insurance company calls you, it is important that you know what to do. An Alabama Injury Attorney can help you deal with an insurance adjuster correctly. Keep copies of medical records, diagnoses, doctor recommendations, repair estimates, the police report, and any other documentation or evidence relating to your accident. Even when you file a claim with your insurance company, keep copies of everything so you have a complete record.
In the days after your accident, you may get a call from an insurance adjuster regarding your accident. This may be an adjuster from your own insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver in the accident. Attorney David Greene cautions accident victims that receive these calls, “Many times they will call you and seem very friendly and helpful in walking you through their claim process, but that should immediately raise red flags for you. These adjusters are not your friend. Many are very skilled at their job in convincing you to take less money than you deserve from your injury. You’ve got to understand that many of the largest insurance companies make their profits by paying claimants as little as possible.”
Insurance adjusters know that accident victims are shaken up and vulnerable. Many times, they take advantage of this and try to convince you to take a quick check. The sad thing is that they know that your claim is probably worth much more, but will tell you that their small offer is the best offer you’ll get. It is important to have an expert in your corner when dealing with the insurance company. Trained Alabama Injury Attorneys are able to better understand the value of a case and fight for what your case is truly worth.
Hire a Local Alabama Injury Attorney
After an injury, legal issues can be very complicated, and solving those issues often involves knowledge of local practices, rules, and regulations. An attorney from far away is not going to know as many of the factors that could affect your case. You want an injury lawyer who has a strong knowledge of your local community, so that he or she can see all the unique angles to your case.
In addition, familiarity with local courts can be a very important part of hiring a local law firm. Attorneys who try cases before local judges will have a distinct advantage over those who have not. A local attorney will have developed a rapport with the judges and their staff, which can help when representing you if your case goes to trial.
It is very important to make sure the lawyer that you hire to represent you has handled your type of case before, and has a proven record of accomplishment. Be sure to ask about what kind of verdicts and settlements they have had, and what kind of system is in place to handle your case. It is important to hire an attorney who has a lot of experience with your type of case so that they are able to truly help you.
We encourage those who have been injured in an accident to not pursue their claim alone. Insurance companies’ own research shows that claimants who have a lawyer get much more money even after attorney fees and expenses, than they would had they tried to pursue their claim on their own.
Before negotiating with the insurance company, you should be aware of the full extent of your damages. Your attorney can help you identify sources of damages. Consider the amount of property damage you have sustained. Add in your medical expenses, including hospital bills, visits to follow-up treatment, travel costs associated with seeking treatment, prescription medication costs, rehabilitative care and any anticipated future medical expenses. Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation related to your lost wages, decreased earning capacity, disability and other economic damages. In some states, you or your family can receive compensation for loss of services, loss of support, loss of companionship and loss of consortium. Talk through the possible damages for which you may be able to receive compensation with your personal injury lawyer.
Injury attorneys know what juries have awarded for similar accidents and the value of settlements from particular insurance companies and even individual adjustors.
At Greene & Phillips, our primary focus is on making sure our clients are healing and getting the medical attention they deserve. While this is happening, our team of attorneys and support staff ensures that the maximum value of their case is being pursued.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a car accident, or if you have any further questions about dealing with the insurance company, come by our office anytime or call us at (251) 300-2000.