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Tips on handling an auto accident claim

If you have been involved in a car accident and are wondering how to resolve your claim for the most amount of money follow these simple tips:

Tip 1 – DO NOT give the insurance company a recorded statement

After reporting a car accident, an insurance adjuster for the other party’s insurance company will typically contact you within a few days to get a recorded statement.  The adjuster will ask things like how the accident happened, have you seen a doctor, how are you feeling, etc.  The insurance adjuster is going to try to get you to say things like you were not injured in the car accident and that you are feeling fine, so that the insurance company can use those things against you later in the process.  In a typical soft tissue injury, pain and soreness can take several days to develop.  Simply advise the insurance adjuster that you will provide them the basic details of the claim, but you have been advised NOT to give a recorded statement.

Tip 2 – DO NOT sign anything from the insurance company

After getting the basic information for the claim, insurance adjusters send out medical authorizations, which allow them to obtain your protected medical records.  Insurance adjusters will often attempt to obtain medical records from long before the auto accident and use any past complaints and history of problems against you.  DO NOT sign these medical authorizations.

Insurance adjusters will also use “quick settlement techniques” to get a claim to go away for a small amount of money.  Adjusters will send an offer of $500 to $1,000 in an effort to get you to sign off on a Release, which releases their insured and the insurance company from any liability for your auto accident.  This Release protects them from any future known or unknown issues relating to your auto accident.  DO NOT sign a Release without knowing the full extent of your injuries.

Tip 3 – DO NOT accept the insurance adjuster’s first offer

I highly recommend having an attorney negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, but if you choose to try to settle the case on your own DO NOT accept the insurance adjuster’s first offer.  Think of negotiating your claim, like buying a used car.  The insurance adjuster starts low, you go high, and hope to meet in the middle.  There should be several rounds of negotiation before you finally agree to settle.  Insurance adjusters will often say things like, “this is my top offer.”  Sometimes the adjuster is telling the truth and sometimes there is more money.

Tip 4 – Seek the advice of an attorney

Most auto accident attorneys give free consultations and take cases on a contingency fee basis.  That means it is free for you to go speak with an attorney and costs you nothing up front if you decide to hire an attorney.  Dealing with the insurance company is a headache and an inconvenience for most people.  Dealing with the insurance company is what auto accident attorneys do every day.  They know to properly present your claim and how to get the most money for your settlement.

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