If you’ve been hurt in car accident, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be dealing with insurance companies — both your own, and the insurer for the at-fault driver(s). Insurance companies are the gateway to compensation after a crash. But no matter how sympathetic the claims adjuster sounds, proceed with caution. The insurance company is not your friend.
What to Do When the Insurance Company Comes Calling
Insurance companies act quickly when an accident report comes in. It’s not unusual for crash victims to receive calls from a representative within hours of the collision — sometimes when they’re still lying in their hospital beds. There’s a reason for this “timely” service. The quicker the insurance company can get you to agree to a settlement, the less money you’re likely to receive.
When the insurance company comes calling, don’t talk to them about your injuries or agree to make a recorded statement about the crash. Instead, inform them that you will be speaking with an attorney and that any future communication should be directed to your lawyer.
You also shouldn’t agree to sign any medical release forms or other documents until you’ve spoken to a car accident lawyer. The more information the insurer can get about you, the more ammunition they have to use against you to avoid paying out your claim.
If the Insurance Company Offers You a Settlement…
There’s a reason why insurance companies are swift to make a settlement offer. They want to get your claim closed before you have a chance to figure out the true extent of your losses.
It’s not always possible to understand the severity of a car accident injury right away. Some serious injuries, such as concussions, may not be diagnosed until days after the wreck. In addition, doctors may not be able to predict whether an accident victim will make a full recovery within hours of the crash. If you accept a settlement offer before understanding what the long-term effects of the car accident will be, you could end up with far less money than you will actually need in the future.
You may be told the offer is the best you’ll get. They may say that a lawyer is unnecessary. They may even tell you that the settlement is their “final” offer. Don’t fall for it. Get a car accident attorney by your side right away. Settlements are negotiable, and the first offer is rarely a fair one.
Need a Friend? Contact a S.C. Car Accident Lawyer at Stewart Law Offices
At Stewart Law Offices, we see clients as family, and we’ll protect you as one of our own. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, our tough team of trial lawyers won’t let the insurance companies take advantage of you during such a vulnerable time. We’ll even visit you at your home or hospital as you recover.
Ready to get started? Contact us today for a free consultation.
Originally published October, 2016. Refreshed August, 2020.