It is an unfortunate reality that auto accidents occur at a staggering rate in the State of Washington and throughout the United States. Along with the potential shock, injuries, and property damage associated with a car accident comes the inevitable battle with the insurance company. In order to ensure that you don’t throw away your rights when it comes to being injured in a traffic collision, here are seven tips on how you can protect yourself against and beat the insurance company.
1. Identify all witnesses so there will be someone to support your case if it goes to court.
2. Get all contact information from witnesses at the scene. When you interview them, ask them what they saw and make a note of phrases they used like “slammed into,” “plowed,” “speeding,” or “he ran the red light.” Some people believe that there are insurance companies who send adjusters to the scene of an accident in order to catch people off guard, asking incriminating questions or to have them sign away any rights they may have to future compensation. So, beware of insurance representatives at the auto accident scene. To avoid being questioned about your injury by an adjuster, schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible after the accident.
3. Many attorneys are frequently asked by adjusters, “If your client was truly hurt, why did he wait so long to see a doctor?” If you are hurt in an auto accident in Washington, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Immediately after the accident, take pictures of your car.
4. A picture taken of your car at the accident scene is proof that is difficult to dispute. Pictures of the damage will help tell your story. If you can, take pictures of the other cars involved in the accident. Some people carry a small, inexpensive camera in their glove compartment for these types of situations. Also, many cell phones are equipped with a camera feature and can be used for this purpose. Also, take pictures of your injuries before they heal. Bruises and other injuries heal after several weeks, and months after an accident. When the insurance adjuster is arguing that the crash was not very significant, pictures of your bruises and other injuries will help solidify your claim of injury. Keep notes about your injuries.
5. As weeks or months pass after an accident, you might forget how it hurt just to get dressed, and the adjuster will try to make it seem like any description you give is an exaggeration. Keep track of any pain medications you may be prescribed for your injuries. Obtain letters from your employer and family describing how the injury has changed your life. These kinds of written documents are invaluable when presenting your claim to the insurance adjuster or to a judge and jury in court. Keep receipts, because the adjuster will ask for proof of anything you claim as an expense.
6. You should definitely keep receipts for prescriptions, household services made necessary by the injuries you suffered in the accident, car rentals, etc. Keep each of those receipts so you can document every expense. The insurance adjuster may try to tell you that your claim is worth much less than it really is.
7. It is highly common for an injured victim to not know the real value of their claim. And an adjuster will try to get you to believe that your claim is worth much less than it actually is. It is the adjuster’s job to save the insurance company money by settling your claim for as little as possible. The adjuster will try to make your claim seem unimportant, so you may want to seek assistance elsewhere to determine your claim’s true value. The bottom line: The insurance company is not on your side.
The goal of the insurance company is to make as much money as possible. They do this by giving you as little as possible for your injuries.