When you get into a car or truck accident, you’re often in a state of shock, dealing with both emotional and physical distress that could cause you to make crucial errors when insurance claims are involved. Anything you say or do (without consulting an attorney first) could end up affecting the money you get paid as compensation for an insurance claim down the line. Here's what you need to know about successfully filing a car accident insurance claim.
Filing a Car Accident Claim with Individual Insurance Companies
If you've been in a car accident and you contact the insurance company yourself, you will deal with an insurance adjuster who has the best interest of his or her employer in mind. You need to be very careful because this adjuster is not working on your behalf. The powerful insurance companies have skillfully trained their employees to trick injured people while they are recording their initial statements.
You need an experienced personal injury lawyer who will serve as your advocate and make sure your rights are enforced from the start. It is an adjuster’s job to try to get you to settle your claim quickly and cheaply. Don't let that happen! Call or text our law firm immediately after your car accident.
Important Car Accident FAQs to Protect You and Your Rights
Calling an attorney first may be the smarter move!
Of course, after a car accident, you want to check if everyone is ok or that they’re being tended to or taken to the hospital. You should call your car insurance agent or company as soon as possible to let them know about the accident. But, I always tell people to call my law firm first to make sure you are briefed on what to say and, more importantly, what not to say! It never hurts to speak with an experienced car accident attorney before a sneaky insurance carrier!
As a general rule: Don’t admit fault!
Don’t give any statements to your insurance agent (or any insurance company) until you first speak with an experienced attorney.
Never admit fault for the accident unless you know 100% that you were at fault.
Often, after an accident, people are confused and angry. Police may come to the scene and start asking confusing questions. If you admit fault before thinking clearly, you may be hurting your injury claim beyond repair.
Never admit fault to a wreck unless you know for sure what happened.
Always take pictures to preserve the evidence.
Always take several pictures of the car accident scene and damages to any cars or trucks. Also take photos of any other evidence helpful to your case, which includes bodily injury damages such as bruises, cuts, hospital photos, etc.
Images are powerful, and they can help you win your personal injury lawsuit if you have to prove your case in front of a judge or jury.
Don’t negotiate with the other driver or start negotiating for payments with the insurance comapny without discussing your case with an experienced attorney.
If the person who caused the wreck wants to pay you out of pocket, the person you’re dealing with doesn’t have the ability to know exactly what the value of your claim should be, so make sure you submit the claim to their insurance company instead.
Keep in mind that you might even be able to get your bills paid through your own insurance, allowing them to go after the other person for reimbursement.
It’s always best to discuss your claim with a lawyer to help you know what steps to take.
Never take money or sign a release without consulting a lawyer first.
Never lie in a legal proceeding! Always be honest with your recorded statements to the insurance carrier.
I never allow my clients to give a recorded statement to an insurance company unless I am on the line with the client. The adjusters are too sneaky and are trained to trick the injured claimant. If you lie or tell an untruth to any insurance agent, it can possibly invalidate your own policy or cause a denial in the claim.
Don’t ever sign any waivers or a release without consulting an attorney first!
A lot of times people have already signed a release and received minimal money for their serious injury claim before contacting my office. There is nothing I can do for them in this case.
It’s a very sad state of affairs, but the shady insurance adjusters get away with it all the time. You’ll eventually have to sign documents, but make sure you have sought legal counsel to know that everything is what you think it should be.
Always consult an attorney before you sign a legal document.
Always keep all notes and receipts involving your case or claim.
Always try to keep extensive notes about every conversation you have with the insurance company, including the time and date as well as who you spoke with. Try to get the job titles, names and phone numbers of everyone involved.
As for the receipts, keep them for any time you dealt with pursuing your claim or in recovery, whether it’s for meals, traveling, or gas and lodging, so you can get completely reimbursed.
Anything related to your accident and personal injury claim should be kept in a log.
Don’t try to self-evaluate your injury claim or accept immediate settlement offers.
The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible, so don’t be so quick to accept their payout numbers. Every case and claim is different, and an experienced lawyer can discuss what your claim could be worth as well as discuss what kind of compensation you should receive.
Yes! Get the contact information of all accident witnesses and discuss your next steps with your attorney.
Witnesses can be crucial to any case or claim, especially independent witnesses who are not related to any parties. Witnesses can disappear very quickly, so make sure you get their full contact information at the scene for your record.
Hand over all witness information to your lawyer. Some witnesses are not friendly, so be careful as not all witnesses want to help you. Have your attorney help you evaluate this.
Have a question about an injury or legal issue?
If you have been injured in a wreck, please seek professional medical attention ASAP.
Enter your information with a brief description of your legal issue.
Once your inquiry is submitted, Gregg will respond to you the same day to discuss your legal case.
During the consultation, we will determine if your case or claim will be accepted by our law firm.