If you have been involved in a car accident, contacting an automobile accident attorney as soon as possible is important in order to obtain the compensation you deserve. When the time comes to file your claim, there are several common mistakes that you need to avoid. The Cottrell Law Office is here to help you avoid those mistakes.
Be Careful What You Say at the Accident Scene
Whether it’s admitting liability in some way or saying the accident was not your fault, it is always a bad idea to say anything that relates to liability. The best advice is to say as little as possible until you have spoken to an automobile accident attorney.
When you report the accident to your insurance company, which you are required to do within a certain period of time, only give them the facts and nothing more. Insurance companies are not on your side. Their job is to try to pay as little as possible on your claim, so don’t stray beyond the basic facts. Be sure to let them know that you were injured and you intend to seek medical treatment. Beyond that, let an automobile accident attorney do the talking.
Consult With an Automobile Accident Attorney Before Settling
Another common mistake in car accident cases is settling too soon. You are not required to accept the first settlement offer an insurance company makes to you. In fact, it is wise in most cases not to. If you settle too soon, you run the risk of limiting your recovery because all of your losses may not be known. Right after the accident, your physical injuries are not always known because it can take days or weeks for pain and injuries to manifest themselves. An automobile accident attorney knows when to reject a settlement offer and how to negotiate for the compensation you deserve.
Don’t Sign a Release Before You Talk to an Automobile Accident Attorney
In addition to attempting to limit your settlement amount, car insurance companies often pressure car accident victims into signing a waiver. The purpose of a waiver is to get you to accept a check while agreeing you won’t file a lawsuit for your claims. If you sign a waiver or release you are forfeiting your legal right to recover for your injuries. You should not sign a release until you are sure you are satisfied with your settlement, so do not be afraid to speak to an automobile accident attorney first and let them review the waiver or release. Once you sign, it’s too late.
Make Sure the Accident Claim Form is Accurate
When the time comes to fill out the insurance claim form, it is important that it is done completely and accurately. If there are mistakes on the form, it could result in a delay in processing your claim. It could even result in your claim being denied altogether. You need to make sure you provide as much detail as you can about the accident. The information you provide will be compared to the police report as part of investigating your claim. The best choice is to have an automobile accident attorney help you with your claim.
File a Timely Insurance Claim
Possibly a mistake worse than providing inaccurate information on your insurance claim form is filing it after the deadline. Each insurance company has its own deadlines for filing a claim after a covered accident. If you do not meet that deadline, you might end up forfeiting your rights to certain benefits. If you are unclear about the time limit after looking at your insurance policy, contact your claims adjuster to clarify the requirements.
What Can You Recovery From a Car Accident
The purpose of a lawsuit is to be compensated for the injuries you sustain as a result of someone else’s negligence. The only way you can be compensated is with money. Another purpose of the lawsuit is to hold the at-fault driver accountable for the injuries and losses you sustain during the accident. The amount and type of recovery to which you may be entitled depend on many factors. An automobile accident attorney can help you with these and other issues following a car accident.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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