5 Costly Insurance Claim Mistakes People Keep Making
When life throws you a curveball, if you don’t pay attention, you can pay a lot more than you are supposed to. That is the case with most people when they are filing an insurance claim. Unfortunately, there are several mistakes ill-advised policy holders keep making. But with a bit of education and proactivity, any of these are easy to dodge.
1. Accepting Quick Settlements
Shortly after an accident, insurance companies contact claimants and try to persuade them into accepting a quick settlement. Many people fall for this tactic and settle for less than they are entitled to for multiple reasons.
Some of these people are plain desperate. They need quick money to cover repairs, medical bills, or lost wages. Others wrongly believe that the insurance company has their best interests at heart, which couldn't be further from the truth. Insurance company reps are insurance company’s employees. Their mission is to offer you the least amount of compensation legally possible while rounding out their employers’ bottom lines.
Never accept a quick settlement and sign away your right to sue, no matter how fair the offer may look. Some insurers resort to sneaky tactics, such as offering quick fair compensation for a totaled car just to create the impression that they would be fair in other matters too.
This way, you may let your guard down and accept their next settlement offer regarding, let’s say, your medical expenses, mistakenly thinking that that offer would be just as fair. In reality, this is a common tactic to deprive you of maybe thousands of dollars in medical bills you would otherwise be granted via a lawsuit or a genuinely fair settlement.
2. Not Securing Key Evidence
Immediately after an accident, be it at work, on the road, on another person’s property, you should secure all the key evidence needed for you to build a strong case. However, most people in such high stress situations forget to photograph the scene of the accident, acquire witnesses’ contact info, getting access to the necessary paperwork, reporting the accident to certain agencies, etc.
Without evidence you will have a hard time proving that the accident was not your fault or that your injuries or property loss are much more serious than the insurance company says.
3. Talking to an Adjuster without a Lawyer
You can’t outsmart the devil. Insurance adjusters are on insurance company’s payroll and are highly trained in human psychology, smooth talking, and all the soft skills required to reach the most favorable settlement for their employer.
A personal injury attorney specialized in insurance claims usually know their tactics like the back of their hands. So, it is best to contact an attorney before even having a discussion with an insurance adjuster. Be wary that when it comes to solving insurance claims, anything you say can be used against you later on. For instance, if you downplay the severity of your injuries or admitting to being partially responsible for the accident, any insurance adjuster worth their salt will use that info to undermine your case.
4. Hiding the true extent of your injuries from your lawyer
Another costly mistake people often make when seeking compensation for their injury and losses is retaining from their attorneys tiny bits of information that would lead to a much higher claims settlement. If the accident has left you mentally scarred, if you’re having nightmares, night sweats, panic attacks, drinking problems, don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk about it with your lawyer.
A law professional can refer you to a good mental health specialist who can properly document these new psychological issues to make your case stronger. Psychological wounds may take years to heal, so why doing it with out-of-pocket money when an insurance company could pay for it instead.
5. Failing to keep a strict record of expenses
This is maybe the most common mistake accident victims make. They get carried away and completely forget to keep the receipts or write down any extra expenses they make related to the accident. For example, you might need to eat only takeaway as your injuries no longer allow you to cook. Keep the receipts. If you need to buy OTC medication, pay a for car park, or arrange an urgent doctor appointment, keep track of all the expenses, no matter how big or small.
Reaching a fair personal injury settlement on your own can be a minefield as insurance adjusters know best how to minimize your claims. But an experienced law professional can easily get to the bottom of your case and assure you fair compensation. So, keep in mind that with focus on worker's compensation, personal injury and car accidents, lawyers can have your back in any situation.
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