After being injured in an auto accident, it is normal to want to put off the insurance claims process—no one wants to deal with paperwork and bureaucracy. Sadly, procrastination never helps. On the contrary, it is likely to make the process all the more difficult. Here are our top tips on how to deal with car insurance companies after an accident leaves you injured or in need of vehicle repairs.
Most drivers have heard the general rules of thumb to follow in the event of an accident: Swap insurance information and take pictures of the cars involved, as well as of the scene of the crash. The reason why this is so important is because the more evidence you have, the stronger your insurance claim will be (evidence can also be used to prove the truth should the other party make false allegations against you).
Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile in gathering evidence, as the more evidence you present to your insurance company, the better chances you have at recovering your maximum compensation.
Keep Records of Everything
The task of gathering evidence extends beyond the date and time of the crash. It is integral that you continue to keep track of anything related to the accident: Any medical records, doctor’s recommendations, police reports, and even vehicle repair estimates should be documented and provided to your insurance company with your claim.
Remember to make a copy of everything for your own records. This way, if the insurance agent attempts to claim that they did not receive a certain document or simply loses the copy you sent them, you have a backup to show for it.
Know About Betterments and Write-Offs
To avoid paying their clients, insurance agents often use the “betterment argument,” which means any repair to an old car would make it more valuable than it was before the accident. This argument is used to reduce your final payout, as the agent will charge you for the purported increase in value.
Similarly, if your car has been damaged beyond repair, it may be written off as a total loss. This simply means the insurance company believes your car to be worth less than the cost of repairs. You will need to prove that your car is worth more than the insurance estimate.
These two arguments may be used even when they do not apply, bringing us to our next tip.
Remember, Negotiation Is a Viable Option
Many accident victims make the mistake of accepting the insurance company’s initial offer. The truth of the matter is, insurance companies make more money when they underpay you. Don’t let them line their pockets with the money you are rightfully owed; instead, negotiate with them. This tends to require the use of some of the evidence you gathered. Remaining levelheaded is also key.
Retain Legal Counsel Early On
An attorney can greatly help your case—you will not have to worry about negotiating with the insurance company on your own or lose sleep over whether you filled out your claim properly and filed it on time. To glean the full benefit of professional legal counsel, hire an attorney as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you may accidentally jeopardize your claim by falling for an insurance agent’s tricks.
At the Law Office of Marshall Silberberg, we are skilled in protecting auto accident victims from being taken advantage of by insurance companies. We will negotiate with insurance agents on your behalf, and we are not afraid to take them to court, if needed. In fact, we have years of trial experience. No matter the complexity of your case, our Orange County trial lawyers will fight to recover your full and fair compensation.
Call our Orange County firm at (949) 565-4281 today. We also accept online inquiries—simply fill out an online form to get started.