Driving is a risky business. Even if you are careful and conscientious when on the road, you can still get into an accident. When this happens, you must act to get the compensation you deserve. A Florida auto accident attorney can help you in this endeavor.
In general, an accident may have two outcomes. It can be minor and leave you relatively unscathed, though still hurt and with some property damage. Or, it can be severe and put you in the hospital for weeks and lead to the ruin of your life.
If you have been in a minor fender bender, you can start building a case against the person who caused it immediately afterward. Once you have verified the health status of everyone involved, you should start photographing the scene and taking statements from witnesses. You should ask people who saw the accident if you can record what they have to say on your cell phone. This can be compelling evidence against the person whose recklessness and negligence caused the accident.
Things are much different in a severe accident. Such an incident can leave you unconscious and immobile. You may not know what happened to you until weeks later. You may need multiple surgeries and a series of extensive and invasive treatments in order to make you healthy again. You will need further rehabilitative treatment, and you will need to pay for medications.
Being out of work and the potential loss of your career and livelihood are some of the most pernicious effects of a bad accident. Depending on the kind of work you do, it may be impossible for you to return to it if you are seriously injured.
You should not be left alone to sort out the financial difficulties caused by an accident. Either your insurance company or the insurance company of the person who smashed into you must offer reasonable and adequate compensation. Although insurance companies exist for this very purpose, it is often difficult to get them to pay what they owe.
The Insurance Company Will Try to Keep You in the Dark
There are certain things your insurance company doesn’t want you to know. They will do their utmost to minimize the amount of money they must pay-out, and they often succeed in this aim by keeping potential beneficiaries ignorant, uncertain, and afraid. Some insurance companies will bend, stretch, and even break the law to minimize a pay-out. The only way to counter all attempts to keep you in the dark is to enlighten yourself. You should know your rights, and you should know the obligations of the insurance company toward you.
Here are 6 things your insurance company doesn’t want you to know:
1. By law, insurance companies are required to handle your claim in good faith.
Despite their goal of minimizing payment amounts, the insurance company must process your submitted claim, and they must make good-faith decisions about your claim. There can be no excessive delays in handling your claim, and the insurer cannot simply reject it outright. If they decide to reject your claim, they must provide sound reasons for it.
It should also be noted that you can fight a rejected claim. If your insurance company unjustly denies or rejects your claim or does not give you the benefits you are supposed to receive, then they are acting in bad faith. If this happens, you have the right to file a bad-faith lawsuit against them.
2. You can say no when asked to give a recorded statement.
The insurance company you submitted your claim to may ask to record your statement—on video or audio. You have a right to refuse. A recorded statement by a claimant is not needed to process a claim. There is no reason for any insurance company to make this request unless they are up to no good. Be sure to speak with a Florida auto accident injury attorney before agreeing to give any statements to an insurance company.
You should also be aware that your conversations with insurance representatives over the phone may be recorded. You should assume that they are. That is why you should not deal directly with the insurance company if your case requires a huge pay-out or your claim is being resisted. If your claim is being contested in any way, you should assume that the insurance company will use any statement that you make against you.
Even a casual remark can count as a formal statement and be used as evidence. Never say anything that indicates the nature and severity of your injury. You are not a physician, and you should not speak as one. The way that you feel at the time that you speak to an insurance representative is not relevant to your physical condition. Do not fall into the trap of sharing your feelings about your health with an insurance representative.
3. Even if you’re at fault, you might still have a case.
If you are found to be at fault for the accident, you should not abandon all hope of compensation. First, there may be mitigating circumstances—that is, other factors may have contributed to the
crash, which may put you only partly at fault.
You should not give up on your case. If the accident has put you in the hospital and out of work, then you should submit a claim and pursue compensation. Your Florida auto accident attorney will advise you on whether you have a case. Do not make any assumptions before consulting with them.
4. Your case may be worth a lot more than the insurance adjuster will tell you.
The claims adjustor works for the insurance company. It is important to keep that in mind. They will not be completely honest and transparent about the value of your case. They may tell you that your case is worthless because of some pre-existing condition you admitted to when applying for insurance. They may also try to downplay your right to receive compensation for lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
The insurance adjuster will cite a range of reasons for minimizing the amount of your pay-out. Do not be taken in by any of them.
5. If you accept any settlement, your claim is over.
The insurance company will want to settle the claim soon after the accident. To this end, they will make a low-dollar offer. It may seem like a great deal of money to you, but you should not
accept such a deal without the advice of your attorney.
If you face mounting bills, an inability to work, and the need for continuing medical treatment, you may think it best to accept any settlement offered to you. But once you have done so, your claim will be over. You will be unable to make further demands on the insurance company.
6. Hiring a Florida auto accident attorney can increase your chances.
The insurance company would prefer you not to hire an attorney. They know that if you hire a lawyer that specializes in auto accidents, your chances of getting a fair and adequate settlement will increase substantially. That is why they will pressure you to accept the initial settlement they offer. They do not want you to receive what is rightfully yours.
Hiring an auto accident attorney will defeat the plans of the insurance company to keep you in the dark and take advantage of your lack of knowledge.