If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by another party, you could seek compensation through a claim with their liability insurance provider. However, you might jeopardize your insurance payout through your own words and actions in several ways.
Do not Speculate About Who or What Caused Your Accident
In general, it is not a good idea to speak directly with the other party’s insurance company. They do not work for you, and it is in their financial best interest to look for reasons to underpay or deny your claim. If they contact you, only provide them with the most basic information, such as your name, address, and phone number.
Be polite, but do not speculate about the cause of your accident, even if pressured. Do not go into detail about your accident or provide details regarding your injuries.
You do not want to admit fault for your accident or unintentionally say or do something that could jeopardize your settlement. Tell the at-fault party’s insurance agent to contact your insurance company or your personal injury attorney.
If you are making a claim with your own insurance company regarding an accident caused by an uninsured/underinsured motorist, you would have to provide a certain amount of information under the terms of your policy. If your insurer gives you the runaround regarding your uninsured/underinsured motorist claims, have them speak with your lawyer.
Do Not Accept the Insurance Company’s Initial Aettlement Offer
If an insurance agent makes you an offer, do not accept it on the spot. You should consult with your lawyer regarding the settlement amount. Your attorney can help you calculate your damages and fight for a fair settlement.
If the settlement does not satisfy your needs, your lawyer could negotiate for a better payout. Do not allow the other party’s insurance agent to contact you directly with subsequent offers. As mentioned, future communication should go through your lawyer.
What Damages Are Available in an Insurance Payout?
You could receive a settlement that includes compensation for:
- Your past and future accident-related medical bills
- Your lost wages and loss of future earning potential if your injuries prevent you from going back to work
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
- Wrongful death awards if your loved one suffered a fatal injury
Make Sure You Seek Medical Treatment in a Timely Fashion
If you did not receive medical care at the time of your accident, do so as soon as possible following your accident. This is important for several reasons:
- You could have fractures, internal damage, or other injuries not immediately apparent at the time of your accident.
- Seeking medical care creates an official record of your injury for your insurance claim.
- If you wait too long to seek treatment, the insurance company could allege your injury happened after your accident and not as a result of your accident.
- Not seeking care to understand the full extent of your injury could result in you undervaluing the cost of your necessary medical treatment.
Once you receive treatment, make sure to follow your doctor’s advice. Failure to adhere to doctor’s orders could worsen your injury. It could also give the insurance company reason to deny your claim or refuse to pay for your future medical care needs.
Get Started on Your Insurance Claim As Soon As You Are Able
Though there is usually no set time limit for filing a claim, you should start the process as soon as you can. Waiting too long could give the at-fault driver’s provider a reason to be skeptical about your accident and injuries.
You also want to begin the process so that your attorney has plenty of time to take legal action if you cannot achieve the compensation you need through an insurance claim. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case is two years in Virginia, according to Va. Code § 8.01-243. Under Va. Code § 8.01-244, you have two years to file suit for the wrongful death of a loved one.
The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Can Help with Your Insurance Claim
While working with a lawyer does not guarantee a successful settlement, an attorney can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that could jeopardize your insurance payout. Attorney Jim Parrish is particularly familiar with the tricks of the insurance trade because he spent part of his career representing insurance companies.
Parrish now uses his knowledge of the insurance industry to help accident victims seek compensation for their injuries. Call (571) 229-1800 for a free consultation. Learn more about how the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC can assist with your insurance claim or lawsuit.