If you have been involved in a car crash, you know how quickly your life can turn into call after call with your insurance company. In fact, it’s possible that the first call you make, after notifying the police, is to your insurance provider to let them know that you have been in an accident. Insurance companies provide a necessary and usually helpful service, but can also add a layer of complication that you may not have been expecting. For example, if your car crash was caused by another driver, your insurance company is likely engaged in negotiations with another company to figure out who should pay for the damage to your vehicle and for any compensation to which you are entitled for medical care received due to injuries sustained in the crash. This is on top of your insurance company negotiating with you about what kind of coverage you are have, estimates for the cost of repair, and eligible medical care.
These events involve a lot of talking and a lot of documentation. The contents of these communications can be very important, especially if you plan to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident. Here are a few tips for navigating the web of insurance communications:
- Tell the truth. Your mother probably told you that it never pays to lie, and that is true regarding communication with your insurance company. Be truthful and straightforward. The statements you make could easily end up in court if you file a lawsuit, and it will be imperative for your case that your testimony under oath is consistent with statements that you gave to an insurance company.
- Ask for copies. Ask for copies of your file, including copies of any statements that you gave regarding the accident and any statements that other drivers or witnesses may have given an insurance company about the accident. You may be able to use all of this in court, should you pursue a claim against the other driver. Likewise, keep copies of the police report, images of the crash or crash damage, and all medical and pharmacy records you have related to the crash.
- Provide your own records. To help your insurance company evaluate your claim, make sure you are providing them with copies of any documentation that you have in support of your claim. This will likely include any costs you have for rental cars or alternate transportation, vehicle repair, and any medical and pharmacy records that you have. Let them know if your doctor has recommended rehabilitative therapy or other services to aid in your recovery and provide supporting documentation. These documents will help your insurance company fully evaluate your case.
- Talk to an attorney. If you plan to file a lawsuit against the other driver, consider hiring a car accident lawyer Bristol, TN trusts early on in the life of your insurance claim. Your attorney can provide additional advice for communicate with insurance representatives and may even take over as your advocate in communication and negotiation regarding your claim. Your attorney will also help you identify what evidence will be helpful for your case and will prepare any lawsuit you intend to file.
You will likely spend more time than you would like on the phone with your insurance company. However, it is important that your communications are consistently truthful, well documented, and thorough to protect not only your insurance claim, but to protect your potential lawsuit against the other driver.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt for their insight into car accidents and personal injury.