Even if you were not hurt, a car crash can still be traumatic. You may be confused and upset or simply anxious about who is going to pay for the damage. If you have a good insurance policy, you may expect your company to cover your losses. However, speaking to an insurance adjuster right after an accident is rarely a good idea.
Whether you were injured or not, your insurance policy usually requires you to report accidents within a certain timeframe. Once you report an accident, you will likely receive a phone call or visit from an adjuster.
The insurance company is a business that cares about the bottom line and wants to pay out as little money as possible, regardless of your safe driving history or spotless violations record.
Here are some important tips to avoid ruining your personal injury claim after an accident.
Never Admit Fault
When you receive a phone call from your insurer or the other driver’s adjuster, tell them you were in an accident and offer a brief explanation about what happened. However, you should never admit fault. Simply apologizing to an insurance adjuster can be construed as an admission of fault—and if you admit fault, even without intending to, the company may refuse to pay you anything.
Keep the initial encounter as brief and professional as possible. If you are asked to provide an official statement, decline the opportunity, and refer the adjuster to your personal injury attorney.
Don’t Give Access to Medical Records
Insurance adjusters often ask accident victims to sign a disclosure granting the company access to their medical records.
If your adjuster asks to see your medical records, politely decline. You should never allow anyone access to your medical records without first speaking to your attorney. In fact, it is best that you do not make any statement relating to the extent of your injuries, as an unscrupulous adjuster may twist your words or otherwise use them against you.
Don’t Accept an Early Settlement
An insurer may offer you a settlement before you get out of the hospital. Often, this settlement is conditional: you only get paid if you drop your claim.
While this settlement may seem generous, it is likely far less than you could receive if you negotiated with the company or took a personal injury claim to court. Even if the award is enough to cover your immediate expenses, you may have long-term needs, such as physical therapy or treatment, for an injury that took time to develop.
How an Attorney Can Help
After you seek medical attention following the accident, you should contact your Virginia car crash lawyer. If you were unable to gather evidence after the accident, your attorney can:
- visit the site of the wreck to take photographs
- gather eyewitness accounts
- secure surveillance footage
- deal with insurance adjusters by answering their questions and negotiating a higher settlement
Throughout the process, your attorney’s goal is to ensure you receive the maximum amount of money for your damages. If you do not already have a personal attorney injury attorney, consider hiring one. While you might think that personal injury lawyers cost big money, that is not true. Most firms take personal injury clients on a contingency basis. This means, if you pursue a claim, KFFJ Law does not get paid until you do. If you do not win, you do not pay anything.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured in an accident, send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi a message online, or call us today.