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  • What Should I Say to Insurance Companies After a Car Accident?

    police investigate accident

    Auto insurance companies are highly experienced in dealing with just about any car accident that could happen. Very little occurs on roadways that auto insurance companies have not handled many times in the past. That makes car insurance companies especially skillful at cutting their costs at the expense of insured parties. Whenever an insurance adjuster contacts you after a collision, it helps greatly to refer the adjuster to an experienced car accident lawyer.

    Even when you are certain that you can prove information about who is the at-fault driver, subsequent events often prove otherwise. Many at-fault drivers lie about the circumstances and will try to put the blame on an innocent party. The other motorist might also have reason to believe they did not cause the accident, which can slow down the entire claims process.

    If you did not cause the accident and had to go to the emergency room for immediate medical treatment, the offending driver could tell their side of the story long before you could do the same. A dishonest at-fault driver could feel strongly motivated to lie and blame you for the accident. The offending driver also has the chance to immediately notify the respective insurer and file a claim.

    Most insurers first learn about an accident when the respective car owner files an insurance claim. For the offending driver, this is yet another opportunity to lie, and the insurer often will remain willfully ignorant to maintain a stance of innocence while trying to reduce its potential exposure. That gives the insurer a ready-made excuse to delay payments while investigating claims.

    Most Insurers Fish for Excuses to Reduce Settlements

    An insurer will likely reduce its exposure by contacting you and angling for a statement that it can use to assign fault and reduce or refuse settlement payments. The weaker your position in the accident, the quicker the insurer will have an adjuster contact the other party.

    If you speak to the insurer, the conversation might appear friendly, it will often involve how you are feeling after the collision. However, that conversation is intentional. The insurance adjuster might use any positive statements to argue against larger injury settlements.

    Auto insurance adjusters are fully aware that many injuries from car accidents can lurk and not become apparent for several days. Whiplash in particular can be hard to diagnose initially due to general soreness over the entire body from the accident. As the body heals, more serious and hidden injuries, like whiplash and other neck injuries, become more apparent.

    Since some potentially costly injuries take longer to diagnose, treat, and heal, insurers often try to rush the injured party into accepting a low-ball settlement amount. If the at-fault driver lies and blames the other party, their insurer will do its best to support that position because it is in its favor.

    How can a Lawyer Help Me?

    When you are injured in a collision and hire a lawyer, all insurers must initiate all contact through that lawyer. That means no more phone calls to get you to say things that will hurt your respective case. If they still contact you, doing so violates the law and could weaken the insurer’s case.

    When you have a lawyer, you need to tell the insurer that a lawyer has been retained, and you should then provide their contact information. At that point, the insurance adjuster should immediately cease the phone call and only contact the lawyer thereafter.

    Whenever someone is injured in an accident, they should obtain a lawyer. Once a lawyer is retained, you should contact your insurer right away to provide their contact information. If the other driver’s insurer made contact, the lawyer should call that insurer’s adjuster and provide the necessary contact information and cease all direct communication between insurers and their client.

    Good Lawyers Ensure Broader Coverage

    After a collision, many people often look at the costs of property damage and medical treatments for injuries as the totality of their expenses. Experienced lawyers know better and can help their client obtain a settlement that includes pain and suffering, loss of income and potential career advancement, and even the cost to travel to and from doctor appointments.

    Depending on the levels of coverage, a large payout might be required to fully settle all costs. A lawyer can help to ensure the insurers abide the indemnity principle and restore the injured party to their prior financial condition before the accident occurred. Some conditions are irreparable and require significantly larger settlements up to policy limits.

    Virtually all states require insurers to pay settlements within 30 days of claims being filed and investigated as needed. Unfortunately, the investigation process can drag out the payment process. One or both insurers could claim they need to conduct more inquiries into the matter to determine liability. The longer they can drag out the process, the longer neither insurer has to pay its respective client or fully cover legitimate claims.

    If one party suffered significant property damage or injuries, their insurer likely will be more willing to accept liability. That is especially true if the client has a sizeable uninsured/underinsured motorist policy that could trigger a large payout. That coverage will provide the client with additional financial benefits for costs that rise above the policy limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance. Pain and suffering and similar costs could make the uninsured/underinsured coverage very significant.

    How to Build an Effective Case

    The best way to prove the other driver is at fault is to start compiling evidence right away. A cellphone can work great to take photographs of the accident scene and record any statements made by the offending driver. If any witnesses are there and willing to help, you could obtain the contact information for one or more useful witnesses.

    It is very important to ensure the police officer handling the accident investigation, if any, gets your side of the story. The police report often sways the insurers’ decision regarding liability and could become a sticking point when inaccurate information is included. If the offending driver is the only one who talked to the police at the scene, then the report could reflect blatant lies. Those lies could become leverage to reduce or deny any coverage for injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering, among others.

    Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Help Clients Handle Insurers After Severe Collisions

    You should always let your lawyer handle the insurance companies and their adjusters after a severe collision. Our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC can handle insurers and adjusters who do not want to provide fair and timely settlements. If you were in an accident and suffered injuries, property damage, or both, contact us online or call us at 757-LAW-0000 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.