These are crazy times, indeed. With the coronavirus infections growing at an alarming rate it is hard to imagine when, and if, life will ever be normal again. Many of us long for the days when we could give our friends a real high five or a warm hug, instead of the air fives and air hugs we are forced to embrace now. Strangely however, one of the best things to come out of this whole terrible world-wide crisis is the positive effect it is having on auto accident claims.
A Change in Car Insurance Claims
A few weeks ago, in a widely distributed interview, Warren Buffet, the famed investor and de facto owner of Geico Auto Insurance, said that Geico usually gets about 20,000 claims a day. After the driving restrictions were put in place, however, he noticed a significant dip in daily claims. That must be a lot of claims for a billionaire to notice! Pollution maps also show a significant drop in air pollution around major cities due to the stay at home orders restricting car travel, so there really aren’t nearly as many people driving right now.
Auto accident attorneys have noticed a big drop in business too. That’s a good thing because ultimately not getting into an accident — while bad for business — is good for everyone. At some point people will be getting on the road again, and, unfortunately, accidents will continue to happen. The reality is we need to be able to drive and we can’t help but get into accidents sometimes.
While there are many car accident lawyers out there who are in it simply for the money, a good attorney will also be in it to help people get a fair shake when they go up against the Goliath car insurance companies. These companies often bully people to devalue their claim and take advantage of your lack of knowledge during a stressful time to try and get you to give up. Here are some good tips on what you can do after a car accident that will make it harder for big insurance companies to knock your claim down with their first punch.
Don’t take their offer.
You will get a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance company within hours of your accident.
When you pick up and they introduce themselves, hang up immediately or tell them you are hiring a lawyer (even if you aren’t planning on it) so they know not to call you again.
Don’t talk to them and don’t take the low ball offer the agent will dangle in front of you because they are just trying to get you off of their books before you figure out that you have something like a herniated disc that requires an expensive back surgery (something that often takes months for you to know). Ask them for their name, phone number, email and claim number and you will ask your attorney to call them back to discuss the case.
Wait for the police.
Assuming you do not have life threatening injuries that require you to go to the ER immediately, wait for the cops. This can be a pain and take several hours, but is very important to do. If you were not at fault, the police officer is going to give the other person a ticket and that all but guarantees you will be paid something and your insurance will pay them nothing. Your insurance rates won’t go up and you would have checked off one of the most important threshold legal requirements known as “causation” that your lawyer would need to prove to secure you any compensation for your injuries.
Go see a doctor.
Go the moment you start feeling any pain that you can report, even if it appears like minor back pain or soreness or you believe it will wear off. By going to a doctor you are checking another very important box for you to get paid by the insurance company — medical treatment.
By getting immediate medical treatment you are confirming to the insurance company that your injury is serious enough to get treated, which confirms that you have actual damages that can be calculated. The insurance settlement will include all medical treatment that you got because of your injury and, in fact, many companies pay for your pain and suffering based on how much medical treatment you got. They just multiply it by an arbitrary number called a multiplier. The more treatment you get, the bigger your payout. They figure if you are treating a lot, it means you are in pain and serious about getting better.
By going immediately it makes it easier for the doctor to relate your injury to the accident. Without that relation, the insurance company will try and blame your pain on something else, and it will make it that much harder for you to get paid.
Don’t stop treatment.
A big mistake people make is going to see a doctor once, doing a few sessions of physical therapy and then starting to miss appointments. Insurance companies love to see gaps in treatment so they can tell the jury at trial that your pain must not have been that bad, otherwise you would have made your scheduled doctors visits. They often successfully reduce your jury judgement at trial with these arguments.
It isn’t always easy keeping up with appointments. After all, who wants to endure all that pain when they could be resting at home? It is hard to see it now, but treating regularly as your doctor prescribes is the best thing for you medically and legally. This will prevent you from losing out on the money you deserve for the pain that prevents you from doing what you normally love to do.
Call a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t add tremendous value to your claim. It could, in fact, actually cost you more not to have a personal injury lawyer safeguarding your claim because the insurance companies are not likely to take you seriously until and unless they know you have someone that knows how the game is played fighting for you. Personal injury lawyers have a wealth of knowledge and are experienced in car accident claims.
That collective knowledge puts you a cut above the rest and usually increases the value of your claim substantially. If you or someone you loved were involved in a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer today. He or she may be able to help you earn a substantial amount of money from your claim.