If you’re in any kind of significant car accident, regardless of whether you caused it or not, there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing with your car insurance company at some point soon. This is a common part of most vehicle accident circumstances, and should be expected.
At the offices of John D. Halepaska, we’re here to help with all auto accident attorney services, including assisting you with dealing with your insurance company. Unfortunately, we see a number of mistakes made by motorists involved in vehicle accident – these claims are meant to be simple, but they often aren’t. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your insurance agent is automatically on your side and will pull out all the stops to help you out; they’re serving the company they work for first and foremost. Here are a few of the most common mistakes that you should avoid here, regardless of where fault may be and whether you feel you have a personal injury claim against another driver.
Written or Recorded Statement
In many cases, one of the first things that will happen after your insurance company gets wind of the accident is a call to you asking for a written or recorded statement about the incident. In some cases, this request will come as soon as hours after the accident takes place.
In some cases, particularly if you’ve spoken to your attorney in advance, it can be okay to comply with this request and provide this information. But there is no legal requirement that you follow this request or allow an insurer to record your conversations – you have the right to refuse, and your attorney may advise you to do so.
Like with any other area of life, you should not sign anything until you’re completely sure of what it entails and the impact it may have on any future claims. Don’t simply sign a document because your insurance agent put it in front of you – read it over carefully, and ask your attorney for their opinion if you have even the slightest concern.
Accepting First Offer
One common tactic that insurance companies will use with auto accident cases is pushing you hard to accept their initial offer. They’ll usually base this on a very conservative appraisal of losses and damages, lowballing you in the hopes that you’ll simply be tired of this whole ordeal and will accept without much second thought. Unless your attorney specifically advises you to accept this deal, it’s generally wise to wait and force them to bring something more legitimate to the table.
Accepting a Final Payment Check
Down similar lines, insurance companies may attempt to send a “final” payment check even while proceedings are still taking place. If you take this check, it’s often the last money you’ll see.
For more on insurance-related mistakes to avoid after a car accident, or to learn about any of our personal injury services, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Halepaska today.