The auto insurance companies tell drivers that in order for you to pay a low monthly auto insurance premium you must:
- Maintain a good driving record
- Stay accident free
- Take care of your vehicle
- Always pay your premium on time.
Many drivers follow all of these steps faithfully in the hopes that their premiums will stay low and also with the confidence that their insurance company will be there for them in case they ever get into an accident. What the average driver doesn’t know is that there are things the auto insurance companies don’t want you to know that may stop them from paying out your claim if you get into an accident.
The Accident Might Have Not Been Your Fault But….
If you just got into an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault, the first thing that you need to do is protect your best interests and the interests of the passengers who were in your car by collecting the information from the scene of the accident including the license plates of all cars involved, the other drivers license numbers, their home addresses, telephone numbers, make and model of the other cars involved. It’s also a good idea to take pictures or video if you have a mobile phone with you that has the capability to take video and pictures just so you remember exactly what happened and all of the details from the accident and clear in your mind.
The reason why it’s important to be through is because once you file your accident claim the auto insurance company will send an insurance claims adjuster out to review your case. Once this happens you stop being a happy, accident free customer and turn into someone who the insurance company is at war with. That’s right. When their claims adjuster comes out to review your case they are paid to minimize the amount of money that they pay out to their claimants. Many people don’t know that it’s the insurance adjuster’s job to minimize or deny your claim. Insurance adjusters are experts at doing everything they can to save their company money. They want to determine your level of fault in the accident and that includes asking questions that are designed to confuse or lead you to admit something when you didn’t fully understand the question in the first place. If this happens to you your insurance claim could be reduced by as much as 10% even if you know that the other driver was fully at fault.
Claims adjusters can also use their company’s financial strength to their advantage by pressuring an accident victim into accepting a quick and unfair settlement.
All of these are reasons why it’s vital to hire a personal injury attorney to represent your best interests and to make sure that your auto insurer won’t walk all over you.
If you’re injured During an Automobile Accident
Besides documenting everything after an accident it’s also vital to take stock of your physical condition or the condition of passengers that may have been riding in your vehicle to see if they are experiencing any pain or trauma resulting from the accident. If you or any of your passengers are experiencing pain in any way it’s important to be seen by a doctor at once because your auto insurance company or the other drivers insurers will be less inclined to pay your claim if you didn’t come forward to report injuries or trauma resulting from the accident right away.
Claims adjusters can use your medical history against you by claiming that you re-aggravated a previous injury instead of having a genuine injury that resulted from the accident. They are also experts at looking for more ways to keep their company from paying your claim by arguing since your health care paid for your medical expenses or your vacation time & sick leave enabled you to take time off from work without losing any income you shouldn’t claim any damages resulting from your accident. To protect yourself from this tactic you can use what’s called “The Collateral Source Rule”. This rule basically means that your auto insurer can’t use your alternate sources of medical payments and resources as a reason to lower your accident settlement.
Medical expenses resulting from an automobile accident are typically used by personal injury attorneys to determine what an accident claim might be worth and the reasonableness of damage awards. You could be entitled to damages resulting from the accident that include pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity and more.