Car accidents can and do happen on a daily basis. That is the unfortunate
fact of life. Many times, after an accident, people are caught off guard
and are unsure of what to do when the time comes. In our blog, we discuss
many of the common mistakes that people make and why you should avoid
doing them. By following the advice in our blog, you can not only protect
yourself, but also increase your chances of making your claim successful.
Do not say anything to the other driver.
Whether or not you believe you were at fault, do your best to say anything
that could be taken as an admission of fault. You should, however, ask
the other driver and their passengers, if any, if they are hurt if there
are any injuries, and call immediately for emergency help.
Call the police.
Even in minor car accidents, i.e. a “fender-bender,” calling
the can help sort out the situation, report facts about the scene of the
accident, and also act as a neutral party to help determine liability.
Note that if your case ends up in court, most police report information
is inadmissible, but they can be useful when making settlement negotiations.
Report the incident to your insurance company.
This commonly happens in minor car accidents, where there is little to
no damage on the cars, no injuries, and there only seems to be a few scratches
or scuffs. However, choosing not to report an accident to your insurance
company can be problematic if the other party seeks to make a claim against
your policy. This is further complicated if the other driver chooses to
sue you. By reporting the accident, you ensure that your insurer is on
your side and will provide legal defense in case you are actually sued.
Do not speak to the other person’s insurance company.
If you are contacted by the other party’s insurer, simply refer them
to your claims adjuster. They know how to handle all of the processes
and know what to say and what not to say. If you try to answer questions
from the other party’s insurance company, much of what you say could
be misconstrued or taken out of context, then used against you later on.
Most importantly, do not submit to any recorded statements. If they persist,
you can also ask them to talk to your attorney.
Don’t take the first settlement offer.
Remember that insurance companies aggressively fight to protect the interests
of their insured. They offer very low settlements in hopes that you will
take it and be done with the case. However, if you do take this offer,
you cannot pursue more compensation if you find out that the repairs exceeded
the offer or injuries that were not initially recognized have now surfaced.
Be sure to have your attorney negotiate for you to receive a proper settlement
amount. We at Montee Law Firm know what it’s like to play hard ball
with insurance companies, and how to talk to numbers in an unethical and fair way.
We hope that these tips can give you better insight about the insurance
claims process, or give you advice on what to do if you do have a claim
to settle. If you need legal counsel, be sure to contact our Kansas City
personal injury attorneys today about your options.