For the real facts about your rights following an accident, rely on Michael A. Kahn
Liability insurance companies fulfil an important and necessary role in our society, enabling accident victims to secure compensation for their injuries quickly and easily in many cases. However, insurance companies are also known to search for loopholes to deny coverage and to utilize any means at their disposal to try to keep claims costs as low as possible.
In many cases, accident victims actually help reduce their own compensation by believing the following myths:
Making a Claim Will Increase Your Rates
There is a widespread conception that making any type of accident claim will increase your car insurance rates. The fact of the matter is, your rates will only go up if you were at fault for the accident, because causing an accident can ding your driving safety record. If you make a claim against another person’s insurance coverage–or against your own uninsured motorist coverage–following an accident that was not your fault, by law the insurance company cannot raise your rates.
You Must Make a Recorded Statement ASAP
Following an accident, insurance adjusters are typically very eager to get everyone involved to make recorded statements. Unfortunately, this can sometimes result in victims being pressured to go on the record while they are still upset and confused about the circumstances that led to the accident. While making a misstatement in mere conversation with the adjuster won’t hurt you much, if your misstatement is recorded, it can be used against you as evidence in court. It is best not to make a recorded statement until you have consulted an attorney about your case.
You Have to Act Fast to Get Your Money
Another myth that insurance companies really love to let accident victims believe is that they should leap at their first chance to get compensation. In reality, the insurance company’s first offer is never the best one. They probably expect you to come back with a counteroffer and have left room in their budget for a bigger payout—but you won’t get it unless you ask!
Another very big problem with accepting an early settlement offer is that you and the insurance company may both be misinformed about the nature and extent of your injuries. It is essential to wait until after you have been given a prognosis for your recovery and an estimate for your total medical costs from an expert physician before even beginning to consider a settlement offer. Remember, you have two years after an injury to file a lawsuit so you do not need to rush things.
You Don’t Need an Attorney Unless You Want to Sue
One final myth that you absolutely should not believe is that you only need an attorney if you want to sue the insurance company. In reality, an attorney can be extremely helpful in negotiations with the insurance company. It is well worth retaining an attorney right away to help secure the evidence necessary to justify your claim, to help accurately calculate your damages, and to convince the insurance company they need to take your claim very seriously.
If you would like expert advice about your car accident injury claim, we invite you to contact us at (310) 209-1600 and request a free initial consultation with Michael A. Kahn.