How to Deal with Insurance Companies after a GA Car Accident
After a car accident, you will likely need to deal with an insurance company in order to pursue the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. When filing a claim through an insurance company, there are several steps you should take to maximize your compensation amount.
The following considers some important tips and information for dealing with an insurance company after a car accident. If you have been injured, an experienced Georgia auto accident attorney can help make the process of pursuing compensation much easier on you.
Report Your Atlanta Car Accident as Soon as Possible
If you know that you need to file a claim with your insurance company in order to recover compensation for your injuries, it is recommended that you report your accident as soon as possible. If you wait too long to report your accident, your insurance company may deny your claim.
When reporting your accident, you only need to give the basic details: who was involved, where and when it happened.
Remain Polite and Professional
Dealing with an insurance company can be frustrating. No matter how stressful the process is, though, it is important that you remain polite and professional. You should never lose your cool when dealing with an insurance adjuster, as doing so may have a negative effect on your claim.
The insurance company may press you for details about your car accident and your injuries. Just be polite, keep a neutral tone, and refer any questions to your attorney.
Do Not Admit Fault or Give a Recorded Statement
Two of the biggest mistakes that car accident victims make after a crash are admitting fault and agreeing to give a recorded statement:
- Even if you think that fault in the accident is clear and that you were not to blame, an insurance adjuster can use even the smallest statement against you. For example, if you admit that you wear glasses, the insurance adjuster could argue that your eyesight was impaired at the time of crash, and therefore you are partially to blame. Remember, Georgia is an at-fault state, which means that drivers are required to carry liability insurance to pay for the accidents that they cause. This also means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your damages can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
- Be careful about saying anything that could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Saying things such as, “I’m sorry,” or “I don’t know what I was thinking at the time,” could be perceived as indications that you were somehow to blame for the accident.
Do Not Sign Anything Without an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer’s Approval
You should never sign anything from an insurance adjuster without having your attorney review it first. The insurance company may try to get you to sign a release of claims document, where you release your right to pursue damages in exchange for a settlement offer. Although this may sound ideal ─ after all, the goal is to get money from an insurance company after a Georgia car accident ─ keep in mind that an insurance adjuster may lowball your settlement offer, knowing how desperate you are for the process to be completed and recover financial compensation.
Although accepting a first settlement offer and signing away your right to pursue further damages may be tempting, know that doing so may not be in your best interests. You should at least schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss the insurance offers prior to signing. In most cases, rejecting a first settlement offer and negotiating for a higher amount is ideal.
Settlement offers/release of claims aren’t the only thing that the insurance adjuster may ask you to sign. You may also be asked to sign a document allowing the insurance company to access your medical records. You may think that this is no big deal, but this information can be used against you. Consider the example above of wearing your glasses. If the insurance adjuster discovers that you have a health condition that could impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, the company may try to argue that this health condition contributed to the accident, even if in reality it did not.
Maintain a Low Profile and Keep Your Information Private
Finally, when dealing with an insurance adjuster, remember that the insurance adjuster is not your friend. In fact, an insurance adjuster’s primary goal is to save the insurance company money, which means that paying you a maximum settlement amount is not the priority.
The insurance adjuster may ask you private questions about your life ─ such as how you are faring after the accident ─ or try to add you on Facebook or other social media sites. Keep contact with the adjuster to a minimum, and do not share information about your accident on social media. The insurance adjuster may use this information against you.
For example, if the adjuster sees a picture of you online participating in activities with a big smile on your face, the insurance company may argue that you do not need damages for pain and suffering, or that the extent of your injuries is not really that bad.
Hire a Talented Georgia Car Accident Attorney
When dealing with a car insurance company after an accident, hiring an attorney for representation throughout the process is recommended. An attorney can advise you on best practices when dealing with an insurance company and filing your claim. An experienced car accident lawyer can also represent you during negotiations, determine the value of your claim, and take your case to court if need be.
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At the law office of Millar & Mixon, LLC, our experienced Georgia car accident lawyers are here for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and get started.