When dealing with an insurance company after a car accident, these tips can go a long way in protecting your legal rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. The most important tip is hiring a qualified local attorney to handle your case. Since 1971 Lowe Mobley Lowe & LeDuke has recovered millions of dollars in personal injury verdicts and settlements for its clients. If you have been injured in an automobile accident or suffered a severe personal injury, call us now at (205) 486-5296 or visit us on the web at www.lowemobleylowe.com. The initial consultation is free. At LMLL we are the PROVEN, TRUSTED AND LOCAL personal injury attorneys in Northwest Alabama.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s a good idea to be skeptical of any offer an insurance adjuster makes, especially early on in your case. Today’s insurance adjustors are routinely trained in effective “delay and deny” tactics intended to lower or deny compensation. That’s the reason adjustors try to talk accident victims into settling their own claims early on, before they get a chance to consider the facts or talk to a lawyer.
If you’re looking to get a full and fair settlement, here are seven tips you should remember if you hope to build a strong case against the insurance company of the party that injured you:
I. Involve the Police
When the accident occurs, make sure you call the police at the time of the accident even if the accident is minor. The dispatcher will send police officers to assist and summon medical help if necessary. After investigating the accident, the police officer will issue a police report.
Having a police record of the accident is very important to your case, because it helps establishes the facts. Having no police report is problematic down the road when arguing with the insurance adjustor about how the accident happened or the liability of the driver at fault.
II. Get Information and Pictures
Never leave the scene of the accident without photographs, witness names and contact information. Most cell phones today have cameras, which you should use to photograph vehicle positions, body damage, skid marks and road conditions. Sometimes the police will take witness information and photographs, but never fully trust that this information will end up in the police report. To safeguard your case, it is always best to collect and keep this information yourself.
III. Call a Local Lawyer. Don’t Hire a Television Attorney
A local experienced attorney will help you avoid any number of legal mistakes that can weaken even the strongest car accident cases. A good lawyer is fully aware of the statute of limitations that applies to a particular personal injury case and will ensure that the case progresses within that timeline. He or she will track your medical treatment so that the medical costs remain reasonable. And finally, a local attorney will represent your interests when demanding a fair and full compensation from the insurance company. In addition, a local lawyer knows the “lay of the land” in the venue where your injury occurred. He or she will more than likely have relationships with the police officers, EMTs, doctors, and potential witnesses. Most importantly, a local lawyer will have appeared before the Judges that will hear your case which will give you an advantage over “out of town” or “TV lawyers” who rarely appear before these Judges. Because most personal injury matters involve a trial by jury, a local lawyer has a distinct advantage over “TV Lawyers” or “out of town” lawyers because they will know the people chosen to serve as jurors in your case and will be able to strike the most fair and impartial jury for your case.
IV. See a Doctor
If you think you’re injured in any way, immediately see a doctor or visit the hospital. It’s only natural for someone to ignore minor soreness after an accident and avoid the hassles of seeing a doctor. In many cases, however, pain from soft tissue injuries to the spine, muscles, joints, and ligaments – or even internal injuries to organs – are manifest days or weeks after an accident.
A visit to the doctor or hospital will help document your injuries and begin the necessary treatment as soon as possible, which can speed your recovery.
V. Don’t Miss Doctor’s Appointments
Don’t miss your doctor’s appointments or allow gaps in your medical treatment. Your case will be significantly weakened if you skip even one trip to the doctor’s office or physical therapist. The insurance adjustor will argue that you obviously must not have been hurt too bad if you didn’t feel the need to keep your appointment. The end result will be lower or denied compensation.
VI. Don’t Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Representative
Don’t make a recorded statement to the insurance company without the knowledge of your lawyer. Your lawyer will help prepare you for any recorded statements with the insurance company so that all facts about the accident are fully expressed and that you don’t misspeak when confronted with confusing questions. The insurance adjustor is trained to ask ‘innocent’ questions designed to harm your case. Even a simple greeting of “How are you?” can hurt your case if you reply “I’m fine.”
VII. Be Realistic
And finally, have realistic expectations about what your case is truly worth. Alabama has laws that allow accident victims to receive compensation for medical costs, lost income, and reasonable cost for your pain an suffering during recovery. The size of the final settlement can be affected by the seriousness of the injuries, permanent disfigurement, length of treatment, physical impairments, and insurance limits. For that reason, settlement amounts vary widely on a case-by-case basis. As you finish your medical treatment and negotiations begin with the insurance company, your attorney will have a better idea what your case is worth and will discuss possibilities with you at that time.
Avoiding mistakes is important to receiving a full and fair settlement. Following these simple common sense tips will ensure that your case remains strong from start to finish.
The Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct require the following disclaimer: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.