Car accidents can be devastating. They can also be annoying nuisances. Or they can be something in between. You may not have any idea of how severe a future car accident might be. However, if you are a regular driver, then you can expect to find yourself in some kind of accident at some point in your life. The average driver will be involved in three to four collisions. If you are hurt in an accident, expect a battle with insurance.
Who Pays for My Injuries?
An injury resulting from a car accident is going to come with medical bills, and depending on the severity of the accident, those bills could be quite expensive. Most people don’t have the money to pay large medical bills out of pocket, which is why the law typically requires drivers to carry car insurance.
There are six main types of car insurance. They are:
- Liability coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
- Medical payments coverage
- Personal injury protection
- Collision coverage
If you were involved in an accident where you were at fault, whether the accident involved multiple vehicles or just your own, you could find yourself in a position where you have no coverage for your own medical expenses. Your medical expenses will only be covered if you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, neither of which is required insurance coverage.
For drivers hurt in accidents where another driver is at fault, the outlook is a bit better. Most states require drivers to carry liability coverage, which has two components, bodily injury liability, and property damage liability. If you are in an accident where another driver is at fault, then their insurance should cover both your medical expenses and the damage done to your vehicle.
You will be further protected in an accident where another driver is at fault if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. With this coverage, your medical expenses should be paid for, even if the other driver does not have car insurance. Or if they do have insurance, but they don’t have enough to cover the full cost of your medical expenses.
Insurance Adjusters Are Not Your Friends
Insurance companies love to portray themselves as a helpful buddy, there to lend a hand when you need them. However, the truth of the matter is, insurance companies are in it for the money. Insurance companies don’t care about you. They care about the bottom line.
Because of this, insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out a claim, and when they can’t avoid it, they will try to settle the claim for as little money as they can trick claimants into accepting.
Insurance companies will often use the tactic of approaching a claimant before they have even submitted a claim and offering a settlement far below what the claim is worth. The insurance company hopes that the claimant will be in a bit of a state of shock and that they can use that to their advantage. They try to make the injured party feel like the offer is limited-time and that they should accept immediately.
This is never the case. Don’t let an insurance company bully you into accepting an unfair offer. When speaking to an insurance adjuster, do not say anything beyond what is required and don’t discuss any settlement offer that they propose. You don’t have forever to file a claim, but you do have plenty of time. Your best move is to speak with an attorney before pursuing any negotiations with an insurance company.
Bringing in an Attorney
The best thing you can do after an accident is to allow yourself time to heal. The next best thing that you can do is to speak with a lawyer. A qualified personal injury lawyer will be able to help you get the money that you deserve after an accident. Motor vehicle collisions exceed in number any other type of personal injury, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a lawyer with experience to help you with your case.
The important thing is to find a lawyer that you feel comfortable with, as they will be handling a very sensitive matter for you. After hiring an attorney, they will take over all discussions with the insurance company. A lawyer will convey any, and all settlement offers from the insurance company to you and advise you on whether or not you should consider the offer seriously.
An attorney will continue to negotiate with the insurance company and try to find a fair settlement agreement as they go about all of the steps in filing a car accident lawsuit with the courts. The hope is always to settle before reaching trial as it gets you a payment quicker and is guaranteed money rather than the gamble of a trial. But while looking for the settlement, your lawyer will prepare for a possible day in court.
Your lawyer will investigate your crash, speak to witnesses and medical experts, get a copy of the police report and your medical records, and prepare a case to prove that the other driver was liable for the accident. Legal battles are difficult to fight alone. Having a competent attorney on your side will let you focus on getting your life back on track, while they focus on getting you the money with which to do it.