Imagine driving through Springfield on your daily commute to work. As usual, you end up catching every stop light on the way, but the last one did not end in the typical fashion, with you accelerating at the green light and driving one more block to school. Instead, another driver rear-ended you just after you came a stop at the red light.
As with most people, you plan to file an accident claim for your injuries, the damages to your car and any other losses you suffered due to the accident. While it seems like a simple thing to do and your case seems pretty straightforward, even a simple mistake can cost you. Here are some tips on what not to do after a car accident.
Don't make an official statement to insurance
Before you give a statement to your insurance company, be sure you understand every aspect of your policy, from the deductible to what your policy includes if the other driver's insurance denies the claim. Keep in mind that you do not have to agree to let your insurer record any conversations you have with their agents.
Don't accept the initial appraisal
When you report the accident, the insurance company will send out their own appraiser to asses the damage. Remember, this individual is working for the insurance company and its goal is to pay as little as possible on claims. You do not have to accept the initial appraisal.
Don't sign anything
Do not sign any documents, especially waivers or releases, before your attorney reviews them. You will want to be sure that the agreement you sign includes all of your losses in their entirety.
Don't prematurely accept a final payment
If the insurance company sends a check that indicates it is the final payment, be sure you are truly ready to accept it. Once you accept the final payment, you may not have any recourse if you later discover that you have additional expenses related to the accident.
Don't wait too long
In most circumstances, there are time limits for filing a personal injury claim. Do not wait too long to take action. If the time limitation passes, you could lose your right to pursue your claim for damages.
Don't discount your insurer's responsibilities
Your insurer owes you an obligation. Make sure they uphold their responsibilities, even it means you have to be persistent to the point of hounding your insurance company.
If you have suffered injuries due to a car accident with a negligent driver, remember that you have rights and options. The above tips can help you avoid some common mistakes that might cost you the compensation you deserve when you file an accident claim.