A car accident in Florence can be a confusing and disorienting experience. If you have been injured, you may be unsure of what steps you should take next – especially when it comes to working with insurance companies.
Auto insurers have one primary goal when it comes to car accident claims: They want to pay as little as possible. They are NOT on your side.
This is why you should always seek help from an experienced auto accident lawyer after you have been injured in a crash that you believe was the fault of another driver.
A personal injury lawyer will ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the claims process and will prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you. A car accident lawyer in South Carolina also will take all of the necessary steps to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Many injury victims do not know where to begin. However, the car accident attorneys at Jebaily Law Firm, are here to help you.
If you find yourself dealing with an insurance company in the early aftermath of a crash, we suggest that you follow this advice from MarketWatch:
1. DO NOT GIVE YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE ACCIDENT.
In other words, give the insurance company only objective, factual information. Do not say, “I think the accident happened because …”
Your opinion should never come into play when you are discussing the accident with an insurance company representative. You should never give your opinion “on the record” in these instances.
If you are presented with a question that requires you to give your opinion, do not make a statement to the insurance company car accident. Only answer questions to which you can provide cold, hard facts.
For instance, you can provide your insurance company with information contained in the police report or provide contact information for the other driver(s) involved.
However, as soon as you receive a question from the insurance company that requires you to respond with your opinion, hold off until you can get legal advice about your case.
2. DO NOT ADMIT FAULT.
Fault is a matter that should only be determined after a careful, thorough investigation by qualified professionals. For this reason, you should never admit fault – or assign it to anyone else, for that matter – when you are speaking with an insurance company representative.
The insurer may use your words to insist that you are not eligible to receive compensation for your damages.
You should also be aware that apologizing can be construed as an admission of fault. At the scene of the crash, for instance, you should not apologize to anyone, including the other parties involved in the crash or law enforcement officers at the scene. It follows that you should never apologize for your involvement in the accident when you are speaking to an insurance company representative.
If you are admitting fault in car accident or otherwise apologize for your role in a car accident, the insurance company can use your statement against you. The insurer may use your words to insist that you are not eligible to receive compensation for your damages or that your financial recovery should be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
3. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR INJURIES.
An insurance company will want to know if you suffered injuries in your car accident. Again, this is not something you should discuss with the insurer. Simply decline to give a statement about your injuries until you have spoken with your lawyer. For many reasons, this is the best practice.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, you might not know if you were injured or understand the full extent of your injuries. After all, many injuries have symptoms that do not appear for hours, days or even weeks after a collision.
For instance, you could have internal head, spinal cord or organ injuries. However, you may have not developed symptoms yet. If you tell your insurer that you did not suffer injuries and later develop symptoms of severe or even life-threatening injuries, the insurer may use your statement to contend that your injuries are not related to your accident or that you are exaggerating the severity of the harm you have suffered.
Before you say anything to your insurance company about your injuries, it is essential that you first visit an emergency room, your family doctor or another medical professional in order to be fully evaluated. Then, you should speak with a lawyer.
A physician can perform a physical examination, take X-rays and order tests in order to determine whether you have suffered injuries in the auto accident and provide a clear picture about the extent of those injuries.
What to Tell Insurance Company After Accident
Above, we have discussed three key things you should never say when you are talking to an insurance company representative. Now that you know what you should not do, here are a few things that you should do when dealing with an adjuster or other insurance company representative:
- Make sure you report your accident to your insurance company. Many auto insurance policies require that you report an accident to the company within a certain period of time after a crash occurs – regardless of who was at fault. If your auto insurance policy requires you to report, then make sure to do so. If you fail to report it, then the insurance company may use your failure as grounds to deny a claim you file.
- Be honest when you are speaking with the insurance company. If an insurer discovers that you have not told the truth — no matter how minor it may seem – it could hurt your credibility and harm your chances of obtaining full and fair compensation for your losses.
- Stick to business when speaking with an insurance company representative. In other words, do not make any kind of “small talk.” Even if you are not discussing the accident, any statements you make to a representative of the insurance company can be possibly taken out of context and used against you at a later date.
Benefits of Having a Car Accident Lawyer Deal with the Insurance Company for You
Representatives for insurance companies are trained in negotiation. They will take all necessary steps to pay as little money as possible on your claim, including using any and all statements you have made against you.
Without an experienced car accident lawyer to advocate for you, you could end up having your claim denied or find yourself accepting a settlement offer that fails to fully cover your damages.
Car insurance companies often make low settlement offers, hoping that victims of auto accidents will accept the first offer. With an aggressive legal advocate on your side, you will have your own trained negotiator who can work to pursue just compensation for you.
Filing a claim through your insurance company can be a very stressful process. This is especially true if you have been injured and are in need of timely compensation.
If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a car accident in Florence or elsewhere in South Carolina, you should reach out to an experienced South Carolina auto accident lawyer at our firm.
Call us today or reach us through our online form for a free consultation.