Many people think they will make out better by negotiating with insurance companies on their own. However, insurance companies snap these people up like frogs snapping flies. Insurance companies know they can get away with denying a claim or, at the least, offering an amount so low that it might not cover current medical expenses-never mind other damages and future medical expenses.
What Damages Can I Collect After an Accident?
The amount of compensation you can recover after an accident depends on several factors, including what the insurance company believes, the severity of your injuries, and whether the accident was partially your fault. You could recover economic damages if the other driver caused them. The court orders economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again-at least financially. Economic damages have a monetary value.
In cases where an accident victim’s injuries heal within a few months, you most likely will not recover non-economic damages. In most cases, courts only order non-economic damages, which do not have a monetary value, when doctors expect your injuries to lead to long-term or permanent disabilities or if you lost a loved one in a car accident. As with economic damages, the court orders non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
Anything you tell the insurance company could work against you recovering the compensation you deserve. Damages you might lose if the insurance company is successfully using its tricks against you include:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property.
- Death-related expenses, including funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses, probate court expenses, and probate attorney’s fees.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of use of a body part.
- Amputation of a digit or limb.
- Loss of use of a bodily function.
- The inconvenience of hiring someone to do the chores you normally do.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one, telling the insurance company the wrong thing could significantly cut into the compensation you deserve.
Vehicle Accident Injuries and the Insurance Company
The last thing the insurance company wants to do is to shell out a huge wad of money for injuries and other damages. If the accident causes catastrophic injuries and the other driver is at fault, that is exactly what could happen-the insurance company is going to have to pay out quite a bit of money. It may do anything to avoid that since paying out claims cuts into the insurance company’s profit.
Accident injuries insurance companies do not like to hear about include: traumatic brain injuries, certain internal injuries, face and eye injuries, burns, crush injuries, road rash, and head, neck, shoulder, back, and spinal cord injuries. These injuries require long-term or permanent medical care, including additional surgeries, home health care, rehabilitation services, and years of therapy, including occupational therapy, psychological therapy, cognitive therapy, and/or physical therapy.
How to Avoid Getting Cheated By an Insurance Company
You should take several steps to protect your rights at the accident scene. Take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the roads and nearby property. Make sure you give the police officer your version of what happened. Take your time so that you do not forget any pertinent facts.
Finally, you should:
- Never admit guilt. Even if you believe you might be totally or partially at fault for an accident. You might not know all of the laws that pertain to the incident. Admitting guilt, even partial guilt, is a great excuse for an insurance company to deny a claim.
- Not discuss the accident on social media.
- Not post your daily activities, trips, or other events on social media—not even when going out with your friends.
Insurance companies look at your social media sites to determine if you are really injured. You could post something as innocuous as going to dinner with your spouse, and an insurance company would say that if you were hurt, you could not go out and enjoy dinner.
Insurance Company Cheats
Insurance companies often use excuses to deny your claim.
A common cheat they use includes telling you that their client is at fault. They hope that if they admit fault, you will agree to the settlement they offered-after all, the insurance company is being honest, right? Not necessarily. It may be hoping you will think that it is being honest and will accept the pittance they offer.
Chances are, the amount they offer will barely cover your current medical expenses, never mind other damages such as future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. If the insurance company does offer you a settlement, always take it to a car accident attorney to review.
Never sign anything an insurance company gives you without having an attorney review it.
Twisting what you say is a common way-and an easy way for an insurance company to cheat you. You might not realize that you are saying something that the representative could twist to make the accident look like your fault.
If you decide to notify an insurance company of the accident, do not discuss the accident. Instead, give the representative your name, policy number, and your attorney’s contact information. If you have not retained a car accident attorney yet, let the insurance company know that you or the attorney will contact it as soon as you retain a firm to represent you.
Contact a car accident attorney for a free case evaluation if you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident.