What Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know After A Car Accident
You’ve acted responsibly and bought auto insurance in the unfortunate event that you were in an accident and needed to cover your own or another driver’s losses. Now that unfortunate day has arrived and you’ve been in a crash. You expect to be fairly compensated for your injuries and vehicle damage and for your insurer to be on your side in settling your claim. While the insurance company representative on the phone may sound sympathetic about your accident, and he or she may well be, it’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses and they are in the business of making money. What insurance companies don’t want you to know is that they try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little as possible. By paying out less money, they make more money. And if they can avoid settling a claim at all, that’s even better.
Most people are not in a lot of car accidents, so they don’t have a lot of experience dealing with auto insurance companies. This lack of knowledge about the auto insurance claims process works to the companies’ advantage. After an auto accident, being aware of what insurance companies don’t want you to know can work to your advantage.
Here are some things they don’t want you to know:
There is usually a deadline for filing a claim with an insurance company. If you don’t file your claim by the insurance company’s deadline, it could be denied. File as soon as possible following your accident. You can try checking your policy for the filing deadline, which may or may not be explicitly noted in days or weeks. In any case, remember to file promptly to avoid any problems.
You don’t have to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. The adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company might contact you for a statement about the accident. You are not required to speak with them, and it can be in your best interest not to. Anything you say may be held against you later. You can refer them to your own insurance company or to your attorney.
An attorney can help you in filing a claim. Filing an insurance claim can be complicated, especially when injuries or serious property damage have occurred. When you have experienced a stressful accident and are possibly recuperating from injuries, having a lawyer on your side who is familiar with the insurance laws in your state can ease the process. An attorney will look out for your rights and interests and can help you value your case and advise you on whether a settlement amount is fair or too low.
You don’t have to accept the first settlement offer or any settlement offer from an insurer. There is no rule saying that you have to accept a settlement offer. Take time to review an offer and determine whether it adequately covers all of your damages and potential future damages, which might include medical treatment you may need going forward. Remember, once you sign a settlement offer, you could forfeit your right to future claims for the accident.
There are state statutes of limitations for bringing legal claims. If the insurance settlement being offered isn’t enough to cover your medical bills, lost time at work and other damages, and negotiations have reached a stalemate, you may wish to file a legal suit. What insurance companies know, and you may not, is that each state has a time limit, called a statute of limitations, for bringing legal claims. Once that time has passed, you can’t file a civil suit for your accident. In South Carolina, for example, the statute of limitations is generally 3 years from the time of the accident. Or if someone died as a result of the accident, the deadline is 3 years from the date of death. The statute of limitations against government entities is 2 years if you’re involved in crash with someone driving a city, county or state vehicle. In other states, the statute of limitations may be shorter or longer.
If you’ve been in a car accident, you might consider reaching out to the Louthian Law Firm. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help ease the claims process.