A car accident is a traumatizing experience that often leaves victims with long-term or permanent damage. This damage can come in many forms beyond just the physical.
You may experience serious physical injuries from the car accident, but you might also have to deal with your vehicle being damaged or mental and psychological distress. When you are in this state, the last thing you probably want to think about is talking with your insurance company.
However, your insurance company is responsible for compensating you for your accident damage. Your goal is likely to receive the maximum possible amount to cover all damages.
The insurance claim process can feel confusing and overwhelming, especially as you are still struggling with the aftermath of the accident.
Filing your claim
The first step is filing your claim with the insurance company. After that you must provide evidence and documentation of the accident and your damages.
Once your insurance company receives your claim and evidence, they will make you a payout offer. Do not be discouraged if the first offer you receive is low and not enough to cover your expenses.
Insurance companies sometimes send out a low offer hoping you will take it, but they know that there is a chance you will decline the offer and attempt to negotiate a better one. The following tips can help when you begin the negotiation process.
Why you should not accept the first offer
You might be tempted to accept the offer because you need the money right away. However, accepting the first offer is often a bad idea not only because it is generally intentionally low, but because you may not know the full extent of your injuries and losses yet.
Some injuries are not immediately apparent after a car accident, while others might require long-term treatment that you do not know about yet. Insurance companies might pressure you to accept their offer and settle but do not give in to them if you do not yet know the full extent of your injuries.
Have good evidence and documentation of your damages. Insurance companies want you to prove every loss you have suffered. Have copies of your medical bills and employment record to prove any lost wages.
Non-physical damage such as pain and suffering are more challenging to prove. Keep a daily journal or record of how you are feeling and any activities that you are missing because of your injuries. This can help prove mental or emotional distress.
Obey your doctor’s orders
Follow all instructions from your doctors or medical providers. Evidence that you have not participated in required treatment or followed your doctor’s advice means an insurance company can argue that you made your injuries worse and try to use that to justify a lower payout.
Make sure you know your insurance policy inside and out. This will save you time by not negotiating for damages not covered by your policy. If you have questions on language in your policy, there are professionals who can review your policy with you and even negotiate on your behalf.