Being involved in any accident can drastically change your life. More often than not, if you are involved in an accident and are injured as a result of it, you will want to file a personal injury claim especially if there are permanent damages. When that happens, you will enter the world of personal injury insurance claims and all that this implies.
Within what will seem like minutes, you will be contacted by or will come into contact with a representative of the insurance company who represents the person or business that is responsible for your injuries. The insurance industry is extremely complex and not knowing exactly how to navigate through the process can end up costing you in the long run. It’s important to know what to expect and how insurance companies function so you be awarded the best, highest monetary settlement possible. And money isn’t the only component – many times, considerations for things like long-term health care should be considered. Here are five common mistakes that employees make that cost them big bucks!
1. Choosing to Represent Yourself without an Attorney
Insurance claims representatives will go to extreme lengths to make you believe that they are not only working in your best interest but can even seem at times like they are trying to be your friend. Know well that the only goal of an insurance adjuster is to settle the claim for as little as possible and take as long as possible to do so.
Hiring an attorney not only protects your legal rights but it will also show the insurance company that you are serious about your claim and about protecting your rights. In reality, a personal injury attorney will have legal advice about your unique situation that you may not have even thought about. Your attorney will also be very aware of just how an insurance company functions and will know exactly what specifics steps to take.
2. Not Having Evidence to Support Your Claim
Winning a personal injury claim can be a daunting experience and without proof to support the claim, it can become impossible to win. After you have sustained an injury, it is critical to gather irrefutable evidence. Photographs, witnesses, and medical attention immediately following the injury are all important pieces of evidence. Remember to file police reports and to write down all of the details as they occurred as quickly as possible. With time, it’s possible to forget small things that could be significant should your claim go to trial.
3. Not Hiring and Relying on Expert Testimony
Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the cause of your injuries, most people do not have the specific expertise necessary to determine for certain if the cause of your injuries are the direct result of negligence. A defective car, a broken step, or malpractice by a physician are only a few examples of times when expert testimony could help to clear the water. Hiring a mechanic who specializes in the type of car that you are claiming was defective, for example, could provide valuable information about the implicit expectations of the car under normal circumstances.
4. Being Anything Other than Complete Honest
Another critical element is your complete and total honesty. Your character automatically gets put on display the moment you file a personal injury case. Any and all information that you present is recorded and should be completely accurate. Any discrepancies in your accounts throughout the process will be viewed as dishonesty and can destroy any chance that you might have of winning. Misrepresenting or exaggerating about your symptoms to your physician will also be viewed as dishonesty. If you have had any previous accidents or been involved in previous personal injury claims, disclose that information at the beginning to validate your credibility. To be sure that your facts are presented correctly, do not speak to anyone with your attorney present. Better yet, allow your attorney to speak for you.
5. Settling Too Quickly instead of Fighting for a Fair Settlement
For many people who have been injured and are possibly out of work or piling up medical bills, the idea of a quick settlement – fast cash – can be really enticing.
Remembering that insurance companies will always work in the best interest of their employer is crucial. If an insurance company offers you a quick claim you can be certain that they can see that this will be the most lucrative option for their client. Better to quickly pay a small claim than to pay a larger claim later on. If an adjuster can see that settling the claim early is more advantageous than the notorious ‘delay and deny’ strategy that they usually use, he will use it. Also be aware of the limits on the responsible party’s insurance. An insurance company will never pay more than the insurance maximum limit.
A personal injury claim can be one of the most important events that occurs in your life. If you are injured because of the negligence of another and have sustained life-changing injuries (sometimes so bad that you may not be able to work), it is critical to handle this process correctly because it may actually be your only opportunity. Getting into a hurry or feeling like you can do it on your own is likely to cost you greatly, both monetarily and personally.