You’re home now and you’ve done everything right. You stayed at the scene, collected all the information, and didn’t admit fault. You filed a police report. You took pictures of the damages. You’re about to notify the at fault party’s insurance company and let them take over. After all, it’s over now and they’ve got this, right?
As insurance companies get more and more involved in your case, it is more important than ever that you stay vigilant in the protection of your rights.
STAY VIGILANT in Protecting Yourself From Insurance Companies
- Notify Your Insurance Company
Provide the information you have diligently collected up to this point about the vehicles and people involved, witnesses, police reports, and photos of the damages. Provide the police report if you can or direct the insurance company to what department has the police report. Give them as much information as you can to support them in doing the right thing. It is important to think carefully about how you communicate with your insurance company. Check out a few do’s and don’ts to help you prepare.
2. Keep Track of any Medical Treatment or Expenses
If you need medical attention after an accident, keep track of dates, times, and copies of all medical reports and bills. Additionally, strive to keep a journal or otherwise document how your injuries are impacting your daily life. Detail is important, including dates/times, missed workdays, impact on personal activities and engagement in life. This kind of documentation can support claims for pain and suffering compensation.
3. Get a Property Damage Evaluation
The insurance company will refer you to repair shops in the area to get a damage estimate. However, insurance companies often have a dual relationship with their referral repair shops where they either own or partner with them for referrals. This means that the repair shop has a vested interested in saving the insurance company money wherever they can, even if it means cutting corners on your repairs.
Robert Armstrong recommends seeking out at least two estimates from independent repair shops who do not have a dual relationship with your insurance company. You are more likely to get a straight, unbiased estimate about what is truly needed for your car to run safely again. Having two or more reports to compare against can help you get the best idea of a fair and accurate estimate.
If you are having difficulty identifying where to get an estimate and/or running into roadblocks from insurance companies with your estimates, Robert Armstrong has extensive experience running point in these situations. We can take the fight off your shoulders.
4. Know Who you are Talking To
It is common for the other driver’s’ insurance company to call to speak with you, ask how you are doing, try to obtain a recorded statement from you, and even offer you early compensation if they believe their driver was at fault and their company could be liable for damages. Be polite and cordial, but very cautious about what you tell insurance adjusters. NEVER agree to give them a RECORDED statement. This is one of the most common ways for you to lose your rights without even realizing it. Do not talk to a representative from another insurance company without the knowledge and/or presence of your insurance company or most ideally – an attorney.
5. Early Settlement Offers
Insurance companies may start contacting you with early settlement offers after an accident. They might call it a “settlement offer”, but may be expressing concern about your well being and offering money. This is one of the most effective ways for insurance companies to trick you into giving over your rights, before you even realize what has happened. An early settlement can mean that you have relinquished any further rights to compensation, before the extent of your injuries, medical needs, or vehicle damages are even fully understood. You do not want to give up your rights before you have all of the information you need. Never sign or agree to anything unless you can see it in writing and ideally without an attorney to help you review it.
What is the very best way to protect yourself after an accident from insurance companies?
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, the most important thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.