Filing a car accident claim shortly after your accident is critical for getting the compensation you deserve. However, you need to make sure you’re not making some common mistakes that would prevent you from getting an acceptable amount for the injuries and damages incurred. Consulting with a car accident attorney can increase your chances of having your claim approved the first time, and prevent you from making some costly mistakes.
Here are five mistakes you need to avoid when filing a car accident claim:
1. Admitting liability or claiming the accident wasn’t your fault. In fact, say as little as possible until you have the guidance of a Miami personal injury lawyer. You are obligated to report your accident within a short period of time but the insurance company will try to use any excuse to pay as little as possible (that is their job, your own insurance company is not your friend). Don’t report anything but the basic facts of the accident – where, when, and (if appropriate) that you are feeling pain and intend on seeking medical attention if you haven’t done so already). Afterwards, your Miami personal injury lawyer should be your mouthpiece.
2. Accepting the settlement amount right away. Remember you don’t have to accept the settlement amount the insurance company offers. In some cases, the insurance company isn’t compensating you fairly for your losses and you’ll need the help of car accident lawyer to dispute the offer. Wait until you have a professional opinion on whether you’re being adequately compensated for all losses. In fact, this is a common tactic used by some auto insurance companies – some will even come to the scene of an accident with a pre-printed check hoping you will take a small amount of money. Remember, immediately after an accident, your body is in a state of shock. It can take days or weeks for pain to manifest itself (some pains will get better, some new ones may arise), after acute inflammation from the recent trauma has diminished.
3. Signing a waiver. Car insurance companies may pressure you to sign a waiver that simply states you you’re willing to accept a check for a given amount and don’t want to take the issue to court. Make sure you’re aware of what this step means and don’t be afraid to talk to a personal injury attorney for help. If you sign something, it will be incredibly difficult for any Miami personal injury lawyer to unring that bell.
4. Filing out the claim form inaccurately. Filing out your claim form inaccurately could mean a holdup in the processing of your claim and even a denial. Take the time to fill out your insurance claim as accurately as possible and provide very specific details about the accident scene and the incident itself. Remember that the insurance company will be matching this up to the official police report at a later date and will investigate everything you include in this form. In fact, it is better to do this in the presence of your Miami personal injury lawyer.
5. Filing too late. Every insurance company has a different time limit for filing a claim after an accident. If you don’t take the lead on filing a claim shortly after the accident, you could end up forfeiting all rights to receive your PIP benefits. This is why I always say: if you are in pain, seek medical attention first (on the same day if possible, but always within two weeks) and then the advice of a Miami personal-injury attorney.
I’ll throw in a 6th mistake to avoid after a car accident: do not post about it on facebook, twitter, linkedin, pinterest, etc… what you say on a social media site is easy to find by an insurance investigator. Remember – they will always try to use your words against you.