Hurt in a car crash? Not your fault? You want to make sure that the insurance company doesn’t get one over on you. Do what you can to get all you can for your case. Here are some tips to make that happen:
The Insurance Company Is Looking Out for Their Bottom Line … Shouldn’t You Look Out for Yours?
Most people who have been hurt in a car crash are under the false impression that the insurance company is going to treat them fairly. They think there while there might be some negotiating back and forth, they’re going to get a fair settlement.
Unless you are prepared to fight hard, that’s rarely the case. The insurance companies are trying to pay out as little as possible in claims. They want to maximize their profits (and who can blame them, right?).
You really need to be thinking for yourself. Take advantage of these tips.
Document the Scene
First thing is, you want to “document the scene”. It’s your chance to play detective. You don’t want to rely on the police. Sometimes they do a great job, sometimes not so much.
You want to take pictures if you can. Of course, things might be so bad that you can’t do it yourself. Don’t do something that will make your injury worse. But if you’re able to take pictures on the spot, then do it.
These pictures can make or break a case in court!
Get pictures of your car (don’t forget the interior!). Also get the other cars involved. Get any other property damage. And don’t forget the road itself – skid marks, debris, etc.
Also, don’t forget pictures of yourself! Make sure to have someone take pictures of your injuries on an ongoing basis.
Listen to Your Doctor
Follow your doctor’s recommendations to a “T”. A
A lot of people, don’t want to finish the physical therapy. They figure they’ve got enough out of it, it’s a lot of pain to go through.
Or, they don’t always want to do the follow-up appointments that the doctors have recommended. Sometimes they get frustrated. They figure there is not much more these doctors can do.
Honestly, I can hardly blame them sometimes.
But don’t fall for the trap. Insurance companies love it when this happens. Now they can say: “Oh all that pain is your own fault … if you had listened to your doctor you would have gotten better much faster!”
It’s like adding insult to injury. It’s a bogus claim, but sad to say a lot of times it works. So, you have to read all of your follow up instructions. Make sure you follow all them.
Don’t Just Pick Any Old Lawyer
Choose your lawyer carefully. Don’t choose a lawyer just because he did your father’s will. Don’t pick a lawyer because of a flashy ad. Or the lawyer who happens an office down the street.
None of those are reasons to choose a lawyer. What you’re really looking for is a lawyer with trial experience. You also want a lawyer with good word of mouth. You can look up so much stuff online.
But a lawyer’s history of going to trial is key. What does the lawyer on the other side think if he sees you have a lawyer who doesn’t like to go to trial? He will assume your lawyer is just going to take the best offer. And he won’t have to hand over much money.
But what happens when he sees you have a lawyer ready to go to trial? Now he knows he has to offer more money. The insurance company doesn’t want to face the risk of trial if they can avoid it
Get a journal to document your recovery. It can be online or on paper.
Sometimes it can be months before a case is over. If it’s a case of serious it can even years. If you have to testify in court you might not remember every detail like you do now.
For example – what kind of things that you usually do around the house can you no longer do? Did you usually mow the lawn? Did you do the cooking? Do you look after the kids? Or an elderly parent?
What kind of hobbies can’t you do?
Now you can’t do these things because you were hurt in a car crash. Jot down all the things you can’t do. You don’t have to do it every day. It doesn’t have to be a 200-page novel. Just about once a week jot down a page of how the injury is changing your life. Don’t forget to mention any pain.
Hopefully you will get better soon. Hopefully you will start to live the life you love again. Believe it or not, you might forget some of the horrible details. In fact, you want to forget them!
Much later, you may have to testify. You can now look at your journal and have all those details to help you remember. It’s exactly those details that will make you a great witness!
Patience is a Virtue
You probably think the insurance company has to pay your bills as they come due. This is a common myth.
The insurance company does not have to pay a dime until the case is settled. A good lawyer can help you look at options in the meantime. But it still will make you mad for the case to drag on while you are losing money. After all, you are the victim here.
The insurance company loves this because they want you desperate to settle. And they think that if you are desperate, you will take less than you should. Don’t let them be right.
You do not want to settle your case until you have recovered (or at least and the best recover that you can). Once you settle your case, you agree that the case is over. This means the insurance company doesn’t have to pay you any more money, even if things get worse for you.
Say it turns out you have to have another surgery. “Oh well”. The insurance company is off the hook, they don’t have to pay.
The lesson is that you must be patient.
The Cohen & Winters Personal Injury Team
If you have been hurt in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, we would like to talk to you. Contact us today to set up a meeting with a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer at no charge to you.