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Do you have a personal injury due to an accident or someone else’s negligence? If yes, you should expect to deal with both an insurance company and your legal team. Before you step into a situation that you aren’t familiar with, take a look at these tips for dealing with an insurance company during your personal injury case.
Tip #1: Don’t Take the First Settlement Offer
The insurance company will do what insurance companies do – try to save money. The insurance adjuster will attempt to do this by minimizing the amount paid for each claim, ignoring the full value of your case, or even denying the claim altogether.
Taking the first settlement offer may seem like a good idea at the time – you assume you’ll recover quickly, it may be enough compensation to cover immediate bills or it just seems convenient. However, if your injuries linger or you have long-term effects as a result of your injuries, the initial settlement may not cover your future bills. In this case, it is critical that you don’t accept the first offer given to you.
Tip: Speak with an attorney before accepting the first settlement offer. Most personal injury attorneys will be able to give you a better understanding of the compensation you deserve and what is and is not acceptable based on years of experience. Most law firms now offer a free consultation, so you don’t even need to worry about another bill.
Tip #2: Take Lots of Photos
After the accident, take as many photographs as possible if you are able to do so. Photographs provide backup documentation to the information that the insurance company gathers and are also valuable evidence related to your claim such as proof a collision occurred, confirmation of the location and surrounding traffic signs, signals and pavement markings, and sometimes who was present at the scene and other details that are easily forgotten after a traumatic experience. Photographs can help throughout the case, especially if the insurance company attempts to deny liability during your personal injury case.
Tip: Take photos of property damage, injuries (immediately following the accident and throughout the next few days), nearby traffic signs, witnesses, police officers, the other driver and their car, license plate, driver’s license, insurance and registration.
Tip #3: Avoid a Recorded Statement
The insurance company will likely try to get a recorded statement from you. Unfortunately, the claims adjuster is not trying to help you out, but instead is almost always looking for a way to deny your claim and build evidence to to reduce your potential settlement. Remember – the insurance adjuster does this every day, but you have likely never been in an accident before. Despite your best intentions, ultimately the insurance company’s goal is to save money, not to compensate you for your injuries and make you whole.
Tip: Consult with a personal injury attorney before you give a statement to the insurance company, even if the settlement seems fair.
Tip #4: Don’t Fall For Delay Tactics
It is common for insurance companies to begin to ignore you if you decline the first offer. Delays come in many forms, such as ignoring your calls, “losing” important documents, transferring you to different agents or postponing your claim. These tactics are used in hopes that you will give up or miss the deadline for filling a lawsuit. For these reasons, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney who knows your rights and what you’re entitled to.
Tip: In the state of South Carolina, you have three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system.
Tip #5: Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
The moments and days following a personal injury are extremely stressful. The only thing you should be focused on during this time is healing and recovering, not fighting with an insurance company. An experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve while giving you the peace of mind necessary for an easier recovery.
If you’ve suffered from an injury due to someone else’s negligence, don’t try to juggle the aftermath, including the insurance company, on your own. The personal injury lawyers at Cavanaugh & Thickens have the experience you need to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The opinions and ideas in this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. Each case is different and must be evaluated based on its own particular facts and merits.
About the author: Eric is a founding member and partner at Cavanaugh & Thickens, LLC. He has been practicing law for almost 10 years, putting his experience and knowledge to use helping those injured in accidents. He has tried a number of cases in both federal and state court, and has handled over one hundred tractor trailer accident cases. Eric has been selected as a Super Lawyer/Rising Star every year from 2016 to 2020.