Accidents can be stressful and daunting, especially when the accident was not your fault. If you have been injured or have damage due to someone else’s negligence it is important to understand the right steps to take to ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to and deserve. The process can be hard to figure out where to start, who to talk to, and who is looking out for your best interest.
Insurance companies are not your best friend when it comes to making sure you get fully compensated for an accident that was not your fault. They really are on the opposite side of your best interests. Filing the claim for compensation is not as easy as just filling out papers, getting treatment, or having any damage repaired.
Get medical care as soon as possible, even if you think you aren’t hurt
There are some very important steps to seek the help and compensation you are entitled to receive. One of the most important steps you should take is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you are hurt. Often injuries from auto accidents can take days or weeks to manifest. It’s even possible for the statute of limitations in Florida to run out before someone gets around to filing a claim for pain and suffering.
If possible, you should seek medical care within the first day, or at least within 48 hours. Most states have a time limit to seek medical care due to an accident. By seeking medical care promptly you are covered in case any injuries reveal themselves, minor or major, due to the accident.
Talk to our experienced accident lawyers
The next important step is to contact our personal injury lawyers before you talk to any insurance company regarding the accident and injuries. Often insurance companies will use any and every tactic they can to NOT pay your claim. Their goal is to pay as little as possible for your injury and damage to personal property. Zervos & Calta is a knowledgeable and experienced law firm that knows and understands the ways insurance companies try to minimize their financial liability due to an accident that was not your fault.
Here some common practices and tactics insurance companies use to deny or at the very least, minimize your compensation and their financial responsibility.
- Calling very soon after the accident. The goal here is to catch you off guard and take advantage of you in a vulnerable situation. Often you are in no state to discuss or answer any questions properly. It is very common for the insurance company representative to reach out on the same day as the accident. This person is highly trained to gain your trust by asking questions not only about the accident but also about you, your family, and do everything possible to make you comfortable and earn your trust.The representative is not your friend, even though it may seem like they are concerned for your well-being. By calling very soon after the accident you have not had time to even process the whole situation. The representative also knows you have also not had adequate time to consult with an attorney who understands the whole process.
- Asking you to sign documents. These documents are generally not in your best interest. You may receive a visit from someone instead of a phone call. In this case, the representative will almost always have documents to sign. By calling them authorizations, needed documents, formalities, etc. to process the claim you are essentially signing away some of your rights. In some cases, the insurance company will offer a quick compensation settlement and may even bring a check. NEVER sign any papers or accept any compensation without consulting an experienced attorney.
- Deny attorney involvement. Insurance companies will tell you there is no need to involve attorneys, they will handle everything for you. Remember, they do not want you to seek legal help and advice. The insurance company wants to settle this for as little as possible. This is one of the best tactics insurance companies use to deny or minimize the compensation you receive. You should consult an attorney before talking to the insurance company.
- Using multiple delay tactics. They will ask for unending paperwork, medical records, reports, etc. They will even tell you that the proper paperwork was not filed on time and therefore they are not responsible for your compensation. This can be frustrating and confusing. This tactic is to draw out the whole process and wear you down in hopes you will just “go away.” The goal is to get you to give up and let them off the hook. The insurance company is in no rush to compensate you for the fair amount you deserve. It is very important to keep good documentation of everyone you talk to and record names, dates and times of any conversation. Keep records of any documents you send, and keep any documentation the insurance company sends you.
- Denying fault or going so far as to claim you are at fault. Once the insurance representative has gained your trust, he or she will try to get you to make statements about the accident. By asking leading and deceptive questions they can get you to admit all or some of the fault. Remember, all your statements are being recorded. And, even the most innocent statement can be used to deny your claim.
The process from start to finish can be difficult to navigate. The insurance company is not going to make it easy for you or look out for your best interest. It is always best to consult with an experienced accident attorney to make sure that you are not being taken advantage of by the insurance company. Experienced accident attorneys Angela Zervos and Lauren Calta can help you receive the justice you are entitled to under the law for your injuries and damages.