Road crashes can be quite costly, with the US having to spend an average of $230.6 billion each year on them. While most of these costs are covered by insurance companies, some have to get covered by the people involved in the accident. Sure, you can rely on your insurance company to cover such costs, but they aren’t always happy to do this.
By default, insurance companies ask their claim adjusters to look for loopholes in every insurance claim to reduce the costs that they have to incur. As a result, everything you do, from the start of the claim process to its end, matters. Sadly, some common mistakes throughout this process could lead to your getting less compensation for the ensuing injuries and accident-related costs.
Here are some mistakes to avoid:
Failing To Hire an Attorney
Sure, some claims can be solved without the help of an attorney. Soft injuries, such as sprains and bumps, can be quite straightforward to resolve. In these situations, you might only need to use the settlement money to cover the direct medical costs, the physical therapy costs, any lost wages from days you might have missed working, and an amount to cover pain and suffering.
However, when the injuries are severe, you will need a lawyer who understands their way around personal injury law. For instance, potentially permanent injuries like spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and facial scarring might require you to be hospitalized over a long period. Even worse, you might spend a lot of time before filing the claim, which might go against the statute of limitations. Your lawyer should be able to help with the claims process, speed it up and file some motions on your behalf.
Making Admissions Against Interest
It is typical for people involved in a car crash to not care about what they say. You can easily admit fault, verbally abuse the driver, threaten filing lawsuits, or even worse. Such careless remarks can easily end up costing you in terms of settlement money. They are often referred to as admissions against interest (comments or statements that can be used against you in the claim process).
Ideally, insurance companies look for evidence of such statements. Some examples include:
- “Sorry I didn’t see you.”
- “I was on the phone.”
- “I do not need paramedics.”
- “My windshield was cracked. I have been meaning to repair it.”
Be calm in the accidents, and avoid statements that can come back to bite you. On the other hand, listen carefully to what the other party says. In case you identify such statements, record them, or take notes. Such admissions can easily help your case.
Be Careful With Comparative Negligence
In case there is a shared fault for the accident, your claim will be complicated. Ideally, your insurance adjusters will either try to make you admit some fault or argue that you need to share part of the cost for the accident. Be careful about questions from the insurance adjusters that may lead to you admitting that you are at fault.
For instance, they may ask you if you think that your age might have made it tougher to see at night. The adjuster knows that if you agree to be at fault, your settlement will reduce drastically, or you can even get no compensation at all.
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