In the aftermath of a car accident, it can be stressful to deal with the various players and companies necessary. You may need to work with the police to file a report, the other people involved, mechanics, and of course insurance. Insurance companies are there to help you in the wake of car accident injuries, but we know the process can be stressful. To make it easier, we have compiled a list of tips for dealing with insurance companies that will make your claim go smoothly after a car accident.
Gather Your Own Evidence
Do not rely on others, like the police or other party, to provide any evidence. At the scene of an accident, you should take your own photos of both cars, as well as any injuries. If there are witnesses nearby, ask them to provide statements that you can keep on hand in case there are any disparities in your case later.
While the police are still there, identify the officers who have arrived so you have their name and badge number. You are also entitled to ask for a copy of the police report direct from the officers so that you have a copy of your own.
You can continue gathering evidence after the initial accident occurs. Some car accident injuries, like bruises, whiplash, or concussions, may not be evident until days following the accident. Continue to document symptoms and photograph injuries as long as they are present, as a real-time log is more likely to be trusted than an account from a later date.
Keep Detailed Records of Everything
Any accident-related activity that occurs should be documented clearly by you. This includes everything from transactions like rental cars and medical care to communication that you have with another party. The key here is to never assume somebody else will have a record that may be relevant- medical records, police reports, mechanic quotes, doctor recommendations and diagnoses, and phone records can all be helpful to have on hand. Even documents you file with the insurance company should be copied and stored so that you have a completely independent record.
You are entitled to all of your own medical records. Even if your doctor plans to send your full list of car accident injuries to your insurance company, you should ask for copies of your own to verify the information and be able to corroborate any claims.
Be Deliberate About Communication
Remember that just as much as you are keeping records, so is the insurance company and the other party involved. Anything that you say can be reported as part of a case file and used to deny coverage, reduce claims, or place blame on you. When speaking with your insurer, do not admit fault where it is not present. Additionally, do not accuse others of fault that is not present. You should speak calmly and clearly, relaying the facts as you know them.
In more complicated cases, you may refer insurance companies to your attorney to answer questions and provide documentation.
Read Everything Before Signing
We have all signed a document or contract without reading the fine print, but a car accident is not the time to do this. You will more than likely be asked to make a statement and sign documents related to the accident. First and foremost, you should not sign anything that is not accurate to the situation and you are not willing to testify to in a court. Anything that places blame or alludes to fault should not be signed.
Many documents will also limit your legal rights and may prevent you from being able to collect the full compensation deserved, even despite having car accident injuries. You should also have your attorney review legal documents to be sure you are not signing anything that can damage your case.
Call in Professionals
One of the best things you can do after a car accident is to retain a lawyer. A seasoned attorney will understand your legal rights and help apply them to your case. Having someone who understands the laws, courts, and insurance system can help maximize your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
Much of your case will rely on accurate medical records. Trying to self diagnose based on symptoms is not likely to be helpful in a claim, as insurance companies will want medical records that indicate diagnoses and costs.
At AICA Orthopedics, our team deals primarily with car accident injuries. This means that we not only treat your symptoms with compassion and knowledge, but we know what documentation you will need and can help you navigate your diagnosis. If you’ve been in a car accident, contact AICA Orthopedics to begin gathering your needed information and prepare yourself for conversations with insurance.