Here are four important mistakes to avoid after a car accident that you need to know about.
Immediately after a car accident, accident victims are often pressured into accepting a quick and easy settlement from the insurance company.
While it may seem like a good idea at the time, these settlements are usually only a fraction of what victims need to fully recover.
Sadly, this is not the only mistake accident victims make when attempting to reach a settlement.
Not Getting the Insurance Company the Necessary Documents
Be certain that the adjuster has all the information necessary to make an informed settlement offer. He or she will not enter the negotiations process without the appropriate documentation validating all information you have disclosed.
Proper documentation includes a letter from your physician stating how long your injury will prevent you from working, a letter from human resources authenticating your earnings, and prior medical records if you are claiming that the accident worsened a previous injury.
Bear in mind, however, that insurance companies commonly demand more documentation than is actually necessary.
Sometimes they might even request that the victim sign a blank medical authorization, giving them the power to ascertain all the individual’s medical records since birth. Never sign one of these forms, regardless of the state of negotiations.
Not Being Honest With Yourself
When handling your own case, you must evaluate the facts as objectively as an attorney would. Look at the strengths of your case, but examine the flaws as well- how will they detract from your case and devalue your settlement?
Be honest with yourself so you don’t waste your time, or that of the insurance adjuster.
Asking for Too Much
Another mistake typically made by injury victims attempting to settle their own claim is making an initial demand that is too high. Insurers will not even entertain the idea of an unreasonable offer, and will most likely not respond or counteroffer.
Similarly, many injury victims fail to realize that claims have a specific value, not simply a wide range of values. Recognizing this gives you a greater chance of making a realistic settlement agreement.
Knowing When to Hire an Attorney
Generally speaking, if fault for the accident is disputable, if medical expenses and lost wages eclipse $10,000, or your total claim is worth more than $25,000, is it is advisable to consult an attorney.
An insurance adjuster can be a formidable adversary, and an experienced personal injury attorney will know how to deal with them.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it may be tempting to try and settle the claim yourself. However, one the biggest mistakes you can make is believing the insurance company has your best interest in mind and will offer you a fair settlement. Or maybe you don’t want to get wrapped up in a lengthy legal battle.
Whatever the reason, agreeing to a settlement without the help of a knowledgeable and aggressive car accident attorney could be a costly mistake that may cause long-term financial hardship for you and your family.