CAR INSURANCE CLAIMS: DO'S AND DON’TS
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is critical that you know your rights. Motor vehicle accidents are different than other types of accidents, because there is special legislation passed by the government specific to motor vehicle accidents. In some ways this legislation helps injured victims, but in other ways, it can become a barrier to compensation. The following article will explain some Do's and Don’ts about the claims process for car accidents.
First and foremost, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Everything else can wait; receiving the appropriate medical care assistance must happen as soon as possible.
It is critical that you report your claim as quickly as possible. Insurance companies have certain deadlines that may prejudice your claim if they are not met. By meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer, they should be able to aid in this process and put the appropriate parties on notice and provide them with specific completed documents.
You need to document damages and your injuries. It is helpful if you take photos of the damages to the motor vehicles involved and take photos of your injuries. We recommend to our clients that they keep a journal or diary so that important facts are recorded. We also recommend that our clients keep a folder or binder of all of the important documents so that they stay organized and can better understand the process.
You must be honest with your insurer. It’s important to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer so that your rights are protected and the appropriate information is relayed to insurance companies and defense counsel. Your lawyer should inform you of the importance of keeping them up to date with your progress so that there is transparency and no surprises. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to retain a surveillance company to observe your activities over a few days. It could affect your case if they see you doing something you otherwise told them you could not do.
You should keep receipts and records of any expenses as they may be compensable either through your Accident Benefits provider or from the defense. It is important therefore to keep taxi receipts, ambulances receipt, parking slips and any other economic losses you endure throughout the process.
You should seek legal advice as soon as possible. The claims process is complicated, and all parties involved, except your own lawyer, will have adversarial interests to yourself. Insurance companies and the lawyers they retain have agendas that revolve around cutting costs and winning their cases. They will not have your health and best interests at stake. They will not have fair compensation at the front of their mind. You should seek legal advice so that an experienced personal injury lawyer can inform you of your rights and protect them at all costs within their ethical duties.
Do not provide a written or recorded statement to your insurer until you understand your legal rights and hopefully, have retained a car accident personal injury lawyer. These statements become part of the file and can haunt you throughout the entire claims process. They can be helpful and may assist an adjuster with their file if they are done with the assistance of a lawyer, but you are also under no obligation to provide such a statement. However, do not get these statements mixed up with the formal discovery process where a statement may be required.
Do not automatically accept the insurance company’s offer or sign any waivers until you consult with a lawyer. It is paramount to not waive your legal rights without being full apprised of what you are signing and what you are getting in exchange for your signature. An knowledgeable lawyer should be able to explain your rights and what rights you are giving up by signing a release, as well as provide a fair evaluation of your case.
SEEK LEGAL ADVICE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
The claims process is not designed so that average people are able to navigate it successfully. Moreover, there can be a number of adversarial interests at play, therefore, it is important your interests are protected and you are fully informed. If you or a loved one has found yourself in the claims process, please contact our office for a free evaluation and no-obligation consultation of your case.
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