|December 16, 2009|
Previously published on December 26, 2011
Identify the witnesses
Make a doctor appointment
Take pictures of you car and injuries
Keep notes about your injuries
You need proof of all accident related expenses
Insurance adjuster may say your claim is worth much less
The insurance company is not on your side
Identify the witnesses (including the responsible party) so there will be someone to support your case if it goes to court. Write down their names and addresses and interview them. Ask them what they saw and make a note of phrases they used like "slammed into," "plowed," "speeding," or "he ran the red light." Beware of insurance representatives at the accident scene. It has been rumored that some insurance companies send adjusters to accident scenes in order to catch people off guard with incriminating questions or to have them sign away any rights they may have to future compensation.
Schedule a doctor's appointment as soon as possible after the accident so the adjuster cannot question your injury. Insurance adjusters frequently ask us, "If your client was truly hurt, why did he wait so long to see a doctor?" We all can be reluctant to seek medical treatment when we're injured; we want to tough it out. But if you're hurt, you need to pursue medical treatment immediately.
Take pictures of your car immediately after the accident. When the adjuster asks for proof of the accident, it is difficult to dispute a picture taken of your car at the accident scene. Pictures of the damage will help tell your story. If possible, take pictures of the other cars involved in the accident as well. These picture will help supply information about the severity of the impact associated with your accident.
Take pictures of your injuries before they heal. In many cases, the seat belt strap will bruise our clients across their shoulder and chest, but after several weeks those bruises heal. Months later, when the insurance adjuster is arguing that the crash was not very significant, pictures of your bruises and other injuries will help solidify your claim of injury.
Keep notes about your injuries. In six or seven months, you might forget how it hurt just to get dressed, and the adjuster will try to make it seem like any description you give is an exaggeration. Write down your pain medications. Get letters from your employer and family describing how the injury has changed your life. These kinds of written documents are invaluable when presenting your claim to the insurance adjuster or to a judge and jury in court.
The adjuster will ask for proof of anything you claim as an expense. Be sure you keep receipts for prescriptions, household services like lawn-mowing and getting someone to cook for you, car rentals, and so forth. Keep each of those receipts so you can document every expense. The more documentation you have to prove your damages and injuries the better. Insurance companies will do every thing in their power to pay you as little as possible.
The insurance adjuster may try to tell you that your claim is worth much less than it really is. It is his or her job to save the insurance company money by settling your claim for as little as possible. The adjuster will try to make your claim seem unimportant. Without legal help from injury lawyers like us, you may have no idea of the real value of your claim. The adjuster will do every thing possible even if an attorney to pay you as little as possible.
The bottom line is that the insurance company is not on your side. Their goal is to make as much money as possible by giving you as little as possible for your injuries. You need an experienced, tough law firm on your side. Don't go it alone.
Should you require assistance with a Personal Injury Claim, please call a personal injury attorney for a free evaluation of your case. Most personal injury attorneys if they decide to accept your case will advance all costs and if there is no recovery there will be no fee.