If you want to shorten the amount of time you spend on a personal injury claim it is best to hire an attorney to work through all the details of the claim for you so you can be sure the claim is settled fairly. Contacting your auto insurance company immediately after you are in an accident without the assistance of an attorney can affect your compensation, especially if this is your first time.
Some important factors that your insurance adjuster will review include:
- The information from the police report.
Tip: Make sure you make a police report immediately after the accident occurs.
- If and how long it took for you to seek medical attention.
Tip: Visit the emergency room or your physician as soon as possible after an accident if you are injured.
- All pre-existing injuries that you listed as being a result of the accident.
Tip: Be sure to have your physician take new x-rays of the injuries you’ve listed as a result of the accident so these can be compared to the pre-existing injuries.
- Any DUI/DWI charges or citations related to the accident.
- Statements that you make to other drivers or passengers after the accident.
Tip: Avoid making promises or statements of blame and keep any comment you make factual about what happened during the accident.
- All witness testimonials.
- Photographs that were taken during the scene of the accident.
- Valid copies of paychecks and other documents that validate any wages you lost due to the accident.
- Details regarding the limitations of your insurance policy.
The Importance Of Collecting Evidence
Solid evidence of the accident makes your case for a personal injury claim stronger. You want to prepare as much documentation as possible when preparing to submit a claim to the car insurance company. You can gather evidence in the days following a car accident.
Some helpful tips that are sure to help you prepare enough evidence to support your personal injury claims.
- Witness statements and contact information. If there were any witnesses, be sure to collect any information witnessed at the time of the accident. If you can contact them as soon as possible and get them to write down what they observed down on paper that would work in your favor as well.
- Record your injuries by taking photos, getting medical attention, and collecting all medical evidence of your injuries.
- Take notes of the accident as soon as you are physically able to, preferably right after the accident.
- At the scene of the accident, make sure to take pictures of damages, tire markings on the pavement, and anything else that would be useful to use as evidence of your claim. You may notice something, such as a faded or missing traffic sign that led you to make a driving mistake, or if you were injured, make sure to take pictures of where you were injured, if possible.
- Keep physical evidence if it contributed to the accident. Examples include torn pieces of clothing, rocks or debris that made you swerve out of the way, etc.
After An Accident – Initial Contact With The Insurance Company
It is not uncommon for victims of a personal injury claim to be unsure of what they should do following an automobile accident. Insurance companies are often the first contact you call after you are in an accident, especially when you are not at fault for the crash. Although it is the job of insurance companies to insure your damages following an accident, it is also the insurance adjuster’s job to save the insurance company’s money on payouts of insurance claims. The insurance adjusting agent of the other person involved in the accident will be against you as well, even if it is not your fault that the accident happened.
Dealing with the insurance company after an accident on your own can be a tricky situation, especially in the event that you are at fault for the accident. In most cases, whether the accident is your fault or not, it is a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney to speak to the insurance agents assigned to your claim. When hiring a personal injury attorney, all of the communication and aspects of your insurance claim is handled by the attorney. Hiring an attorney also avoids any potential problems that happen and it protects you from being taken advantage of.
In contrast to hiring an attorney, insurance agents often try to get you to make a decision right away. This is unfortunately how victims in an accident get taken advantage of and manipulated into agreeing on a settlement you did not mean to. In the end, victims of a car accident end up settling your claim for far less money than what you should be compensated for.
The Insurance Company Is Not Obligated To Be Fair Or Fast-acting
The other driver’s insurance company only has an obligation to their insurer. They have no responsibilities when it comes to treating you well or addressing your needs. Instead, they may even ignore your needs completely in favor of their insured. Unfortunately, there is virtually nothing stopping an insurance company from doing this. They may offer you a settlement that is far lower than what your case is worth, delay payments, and even denies your claim. It can be difficult to stick up for yourself in these situations.
Insurance Agents Will Almost Always Under Negotiate Compensation Due
It’s important to remember that insurance adjusting agents see cases like yours every day of the week. Insurance agents can generally estimate what the worth of a claim is by reading the facts. They also know how to negotiate with victims who are not represented by an attorney. Unfortunately, the insurance agent’s experience in working on so many claims enables them to get victims to agree to as little as possible for compensation for their claim.
This sometimes means that insurance adjusters will take advantage of victims if they can get away with it while paying less on a claim. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can prevent you from having to deal with insurance agents altogether. Get the compensation you deserve for personal injuries and vehicle damages.
You do not have to use the body shop that the insurance company recommends.
Some insurance companies will try to tell you that you must use a particular body shop to receive compensation for your property damage. In most situations, this simply isn’t the case. In fact, you may want to avoid the shop that the insurance company recommends because they sometimes undervalue your vehicle or provide decreased estimates on how much it will actually cost to get things fixed. If you have a body shop that you like better, it may be a good idea to use them instead.
You likely do not want the first settlement offer.
In most situations, the first settlement offer is an opening point. It gets the bargaining process going. However, some victims will take the first offer, so the insurance company may try to lowball you first, just to see if it works. Unfortunately, some victims see mounting medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and time away from work, so they are eager to accept anything the insurance company will give them.
Getting an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what your case is really worth. Your attorney will also help you get the most out of your car accident. After all, you were injured, and you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Auto Accident Insurance When Personal Injury Claims Are Concerned
It is often painful to financial health to be in a major car accident when personal injury claims are not properly processed, leaving victims of car accidents in a pit of debt. One of the first steps to take when you incur injuries is to have a quality legal team of attorneys who can guide you through the recovery process after an accident occurs. Dennis & King Law is one of Chattanooga’s most well known firms that specialize in personal injury claims for automobile accidents and trucking accidents.
Sometimes accidents are not our fault. Sometimes they partly are. Having lawyers to help work through the mess that often follows an accident can remove some of the burdens that you might be feeling. Dennis & King specialize in helping clients after they experience a major accident on the roadway. There are different types of accident cases that might happen.
Car Insurance Coverage Types For Personal Injury
Before seeking compensation for your personal injury claim in a car accident, you should understand which types of coverage will apply to your personal injury insurance claim.
The different types of insurance claims you may be covered under include:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Bodily injury liability coverage is provided is applied when the other driver is at fault for the car accident. In cases like these, your own liability policy will NOT cover your personal injuries.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP is most commonly called “no-fault insurance”, which differs from liability, where PIP insurance pays for your medical costs up to the policy’s limits (regardless if you are at fault or not).
- Medical payments coverage (MPC): MPC pays for medical expenses (medical bills only) regardless of who is at fault. MPC is similar to PIP with the exception that it does not cover funeral expenses, lost income, or loss of services.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This type of insurance is applied to bodily injury claims when you’ve been either the victim of a hit and run accident, or hit by a driver who possesses either no insurance or all or limitations for paying personal injury compensation that does not cover the personal injury expenses you’ve incurred.
Dennis & King Law will speak with you over what you are entitled to receive during the trial. If the accident was not your fault, having the facts of the case clearly noted will put you at an advantage when determining your case in court. Dennis & King have an info page on their website that refers to steps that you can take to keep your body healthy after an accident.
Protecting Your Finances After A Car Accident
Saving some money on the side in an emergency fund can help when these things occur. The insurance company can often get you some reimbursement payment for car damage. Having the information about the accident very clear is good for the insurance call as well.
Dennis & King look forward to serving you and your family. Our goal is that you will walk away from this accident much better and in a healthier condition. A vehicle accident is a tragedy that no one likes to see happen. Lawyers like Dennis & King are in business to make sure that your needs are not ignored.
How Much Compensation Are You Entitled To Receive For A Personal Injury Claim Involving A Trucking Accident?
When you are injured in a semi-truck accident (trucking accident), you are often entitled to receive compensation for more than just the repairs to your truck. Compensation could also include lost wages, medical bills, and other related expenses from the auto insurance company or from the other driver’s car insurance company. So how do you know how much you are entitled to receive in a trucking accident claim?
The following information can help you get the most out of your personal injury claim after being involved in a trucking accident.
DETERMINING WHO IS AT FAULT
In some situations like being involved in a rear-end collision where you hit the person’s vehicle in front of you, the other driver will almost always be considered at no fault. However, other types of trucking accidents are not so clear and with the tables turned you may be the driver who is not at fault for the damages.
The best way to assist the process of your auto insurance company in determining who is at fault is to present your truck accident information to your claims adjuster. This information includes a thorough explanation of what happened. If you don’t believe you are at fault, presenting a reasonable argument with details regarding why you are not at fault that includes supportive details can ensure your claim works in your favor.
CAN YOU PROVE CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE?
Negligence involves any careless behavior that contributes to a car accident. A few states allow contributory negligence evidence when determining whether someone is entitled to compensation for a personal injury caused by a truck accident. When contributory negligence is concerned, if the other driver can prove that you are partially at fault for the accident you will not be compensated for payment of your personal injury claim.
HOW WILL COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE AFFECT MY CLAIM?
The comparative negligence system is used by most states and is used when determining how to victims of truck accidents should be compensated. When comparative negligence is applied to a claim where you are partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced. Depending on your state, there are two types of comparative negligence that will be used to determine how much compensation you will qualify for. These two types are as follows:
Modified comparative fault: Compensation is given in proportion to the amount of the accident that was not your fault, with the stipulation that you are only at fault for LESS THAN 50%-51% of the truck accident.
Pure comparative negligence: Compensation is given in proportion to the total amount of the accident that was not your fault. If injuries equal to $80,000 and you were considered 50% at fault for the accident, your damages will be reduced by 50%, allowing you to be compensated for $40,000.
Want to know more about how much you are entitled to in a trucking accident? Call Dennis and King Law today to get all the support and answers you need for your personal injury claim or fill out our contact form here!
If you are involved in a car accident, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself from being taken advantage of and being held liable for personal injury damages.
When personal injuries happen, it is important to remember to stay calm and follow helpful tips that every personal injury attorney will tell you when you are involved in an accident.
The following list to follow for preventing yourself from becoming a victim of a personal liability lawsuit.
1. STOP & TURN OFF YOUR CAR
First and foremost, you never want to drive away from a scene of a car accident. Also, you can cause further damage to your car or a fire can occur if you drive away with damages that can cause spontaneous combustion.
2. PROTECT THE SITE OF THE CAR ACCIDENT
Keeping your lights on, putting up flares, and creating a space around your vehicle, especially on a highway, can prevent you from getting ran over and also prevent others from crashing into your car if the accident occurs at night. Unless the vehicles involved in the accident are in the way of traffic, they should remain where they are until an official report and record of the damage is taken.
3. FILE AN OFFICIAL RECORD WITH POLICE
When the police arrive, make sure you tell the police officer the exact events you recall which led up to the accident. A lot of times being in an accident causes people to say things that are emotionally driven and can lead to saying misleading comments to the officer. It’s important to not speculate, misstate, or second-guess yourself when stating any of the facts to the officer taking down the report. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than just saying no.
4. TAKE QUALITY PHOTOS SHOWING CAR DAMAGES
If you happen to have a camera in your vehicle, or a cell phone equipped with a camera, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. However, you should in no way interfere with the ongoing police investigation. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
5. EXCHANGE CONTACT & CAR INSURANCE INFORMATION
Typically, the investigating police officer obtains this information. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the automobile accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident.
6. REPORT CAR ACCIDENT TO INSURANCE AGENT
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage. Including witness statements and police reports for your insurance agent can help speed up the process of filing and receiving payment for your claim injuries and damages.
7. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION AFTER THE ACCIDENT
Often, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately obvious and can take hours or even days following the accident before you take notice. Unless you are 100% certain that you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by making a rush appointment with your family doctor. Accidents involving minor impact can still cause injuries serious enough to result in permanent injuries to your spinal cord. Losing consciousness or experiencing dizziness, even a short period of time, may be caused by a concussion or a closed head injury. If left unchecked and untreated this could cause cognitive and behavioral changes.
8. KEEP A FILE OF ALL RECORDS & PHOTOS
Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident. If there are witnesses, you should collect information from them as well so that your insurance agent or your attorney can contact them in the future to clarify any of the details.
9.PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS BY HIRING AN ATTORNEY
Contacting an attorney is probably the best thing you can do since they can remind you how successfully prevent from being at fault in an accident and giving unnecessary information that can be taken as facts of the accident that occurred. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not compromised. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement since the main goal of the insurance agent is to save them money on paying out for damages and medical bills when you have a personal injury.