5 Things to Know Before Filing a Car Accident Claim

Two men exchanging insurance information after a minor car crash

Car crashes are complicated, especially if you don’t know how to handle them. That’s because the insurance companies are looking for anything that could justify a lower settlement offer. With that in mind, here are five tips every driver should know before filing a car accident claim.

The Insurance Company Is Not On Your Side

Many people navigating their first car crash believe the insurance company is there to help them and that they should freely offer any information the company asks for to move the case forward. This is a huge mistake and one that could result in a smaller settlement or even leave drivers altogether unable to recover damages.

The insurance companies are not your friend. It’s not usual for them to make a low settlement offer, well below what you need to cover your bills, hoping you’ll take it just to get back to normal.

When you call the insurance company to report the crash, there’s a good chance they’ll inform you that the call is being recorded. In other cases, they’ll ask if you’d make a statement, “for the record.”

These are insurance company tactics to use your own word against you. Even if you didn’t cause the crash, the insurance company might use out-of-context statements or off-hand comments to deprive you of the recovery you need to move forward.

For that reason, you should be cautious about what you say to the insurance company. Most importantly, never answer a call from the other driver’s insurance company. That will only harm your case. The best thing you can do is contact an attorney. An attorney on your side can handle the difficult phone calls and negotiate on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about the insurance company’s tricks.

Your Health Matters

When you’re hurt in a car crash, you must attend all of your appointments until your doctor says you are back to health. If you skip or frequently reschedule follow-up appointments, the insurance company may claim that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim and use that to justify a lower settlement.

Even if you think you’ve recovered, it’s safer to trust your doctor and continue attending appointments. If you’re at all worried about routine appointments and the cost of long-term medical care, your attorney may be able to help you find a doctor who agrees to wait for payment until your case is settled.

Anything You Post May Be Used Against You

When you have a pending case, you should expect that the insurance company will be going through your social media, looking for anything that could be used against you. This is extremely important because once you post about your injury or the accident on social media, you open your account to a subpoena from the insurance companies. That means they could look through everything, even your private messages.

For example, say you’re in a car crash and suffer a broken arm. You post a picture of the crash on Facebook and let friends and family know you’re safe. Then you private message your cousin, who asks how you’re feeling. You say you’re doing okay now and that it doesn’t hurt anymore. In this scenario, the insurance company could subpoena your account based on the first post and then use your private message to justify a lower settlement.

The Value of Your Claim

Many people involved in a car crash mistakenly believe they can only cover the cost of their vehicle damage and medical bills. That’s why it’s essential to understand the total value of your car accident claim.

When you’re seriously injured in a car crash, you may be able to recover wages from missed work, future medical bills associated with your injury, pain and suffering damages, and other lost opportunities. Your attorney can help calculate the full damages you’re entitled to under the law.

An Attorney Makes Life Easier

Hiring an attorney makes the whole car accident process much easier. When you hire an attorney, you don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing to the insurance company because all the stressful phone calls and emails will be handled for you. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about negotiating because your attorney will fight to help you recover the full amount you’re entitled to under the law.

If you were hit and hurt in a car crash, we’re here to help. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer from Payne Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (713) 999-4801 or send us an email.

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