Dealing with Insurance Companies after Car Accidents
If you're involved in a car accident, you need to notify your insurance company immediately. Within days, you may hear from your insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver. Remember that you're dealing with professionals; dealing with car accidents is what insurance adjusters do for a living. Don't get overwhelmed. Here are some tips for dealing with insurance adjusters following a car accident and how an attorney can help.
Your Insurance Adjuster
When you're contacted by an insurance adjuster, find out what company the adjuster works for. This will determine the degree of your cooperation. You'll need to let your insurance company know what happened, what caused the accident, and if anyone was injured.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. Florida drivers are required to carry Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) coverage. That means the first $10,000 in lost wages and medical expenses is paid by your insurance company, regardless of who is at fault.
Your insurance company may request a recorded statement from you about the accident. You must give the recorded statement, or the insurance company can deny your claim. Contact a car accident attorney in Bradenton, FL, to help you with your statement.
If you have liability coverage, your insurance company will pay for property damage as well as personal injury damages of the other driver that exceed his or her PIP coverage.
The Other Driver's Insurance Adjuster
If you exceed PIP coverage and the other party has liability coverage, you'll have a claim for damages. You may get a call from the other driver's insurance company soon after the accident. The adjuster is not looking out for your interest. His or her job is to figure out a way to deny your claim or to pay you the lowest amount possible for your claim. Consider these dos and don'ts when dealing with the adjuster:
- Don't give a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster may twist your words and use them to deny your claim or justify a lower offer. If an adjuster calls and asks you to give a recorded statement, say you'll not make a statement until you talk to a lawyer.
- Don't sign a medical authorization. Instead, forward your medical records to the adjuster. The medical authorization may give the adjuster the authority to get more information from your doctors than is needed.
- Get advice from a personal injury attorney before signing a medical release.
- Review your own medical records before giving them to the adjuster. If there's a mistake, it can be corrected. Check with an attorney before turning the records over to the adjuster.
- Don't settle your case too quickly. You may not know the full extent of your injury immediately after the accident. If you sign a quick settlement, you may later discover that future medical treatment is not covered by the settlement.
- Don't settle before your doctor releases you.
- Don't take the first offer from the adjuster. It may not be your best offer.
- Don't sign a settlement until a lawyer looks at the document. A lawyer will let you know if the settlement is reasonable.
Let the lawyer deal with the insurance company, so you get reasonable compensation for your damages and your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
If you're involved in a car accident, call Erjavec Injury Law and have an attorney in your corner when you're dealing with an insurance adjuster.