If you’ve been in an accident and you are in the process of working through your insurance claims, a little knowledge goes a long way. Insurance companies are there for a reason, but they are not really your friend, even if the agent wants it to seem that way. I something doesn’t seem right in your interactions with the insurance people or the way your claim is being handled, don’t hesitate to hire an attorney. Here are some great tips from Wayne R. Cohen, a prominent attorney out of Washington DC.
#1: Save All Documentation
Whether you choose to manage your claim yourself, or enlist the help of an attorney, always save your receipts. Receipts act as evidence toward the validity of your claim and will expedite the process as well as help eliminate any dispute raised by your claim adjuster. Be sure that your receipts are dated (and, if possible, time-stamped) to build the validity of the expense. Without the date and time stamp on the receipt, your adjuster may have grounds to withhold compensation.
Finally, keep an inventory of your receipts. Each set of receipts should be related to some part of the personal injury process; for example, you should have a set of receipts for your medical bills, and another set of pay-stubs for your lost wages, and so on.
#2: Have The Adjuster to Explain The Initial Offer
The first offer that an insurance company makes will generally be lower than your claim requires. Insurance companies are concerned with their bottom line, so this kind of low, initial offer is a sort of test to see if you understand the value of your case.
The easiest way to circumvent this issue is to ask the adjuster explain his/her position: why is this initial offer so low? This breakdown will help you process and counter each write off on an individual basis, rather than get overwhelmed by an overtly insufficient total.
#3: There Will Always Be “Hard Costs”
A hard cost is a bill that’s incurred as a result of the accident that caused your injury. Whether this cost is a direct cost (i.e., the medical bills) or an indirect cost (i.e., the gas you expended in order to drive your car to the doctor’s office), bills related to your injury can stack up quickly. If you are diligent in tracking your spending (see Tip 1), you may improve your ability to receive compensation.
#4: Be Proactive in Pursuit of Compensation
The insurance companies aren’t going to be proactive in compensating you for your injuries. Their main concern is their “bottom line.” That puts the burden on you to stay alert and keep track of your claim’s progress. This requires a great deal of attention, but may improve your chances at a faster and higher paying compensation.
#5: Know When It’s Time to Hire a Lawyer
Despite your best efforts, you may find that you can’t handle the process of settling your insurance claim without the aid of an attorney — and that’s okay. Personal injury attorneys and car accident lawyers have dedicated their lives to helping their clients get back on their feet. They have the experience and the legal know-how to settle your claim against the insurance company in your favor, and there’s no fee unless they win money on your behalf. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with all of the paperwork, documentation, and claims process, it may be in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
This article is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice on any of the information in this post, please contact one of our attorneys. Browse our attorney profiles or contact us by phone: 805-452-7214.