An accident can change your life in a second, leaving you reeling with pain, large medical bills and lost wages. Many people are surprised to find that insurance companies - even their own insurer - are unwilling to fully compensate them for the injuries they've sustained.
If you've been in an accident, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and your losses. Below are some tips to help you maximize your compensation after an accident.
Know The Full Extent Of Your Injuries
Injuries evolve over time. What may seem like minor neck pain today could actually be a symptom of severe whiplash or nerve damage. That is why it is imperative you seek medical attention - and from the proper specialists.
Many people make the mistake of thinking their injuries are not severe, accept a settlement offer from the insurance company, and then realize their pain is not going away. At this point, it's too late. If your injury requires surgery or ongoing physical therapy, or requires you to take time off work, you will be paying out of pocket.
Know How Your Injuries Will Impact Your Life
Does your injury make it painful or impossible to work? How many days, weeks or months will you have to take off from work? When you go back to work, will it be in a reduced capacity?
Knowing how your income will be affected by your injury is extremely important. Any settlement agreement should include compensation for lost income due to your injuries, including the loss of future earnings, or reduced earning capacity.
Make Sure You Have The Proper Documentation
Insurance companies are looking for a reason to minimize your compensation. If you don't have proper documentation of the accident, your injuries and your losses, it will be easier for them to give you a low-ball offer. Make sure you have all of the police reports, property damage quotes for your car, photographs, medical records and diagnoses, medical bills, and documentation from your employer regarding time lost from work.
Do Not Accept The Insurance Company's First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies will rarely offer you a fair settlement agreement right off the bat. Remember, the insurer's goal is to protect the company's bottom line. They do this by trying to get you to accept the lowest settlement offer possible. Don't be afraid to push back and demand more.
Work With An Experienced Injury Lawyer
If your injuries are serious, consider working with an attorney. Experienced personal injury lawyers know the strategies claims adjusters are using to try to discount your case, and will take proactive steps to protect your right to compensation. Having an attorney in your corner also tells the insurance company you are serious about your case. Insurance companies are more willing to play fair when there is a threat of litigation.