Have you recently suffered injuries in a San Francisco car accident? You may be entitled to compensation for any damages that arise from another person’s negligence under California law. However, the degree of your compensation will depend on how you approach the days and weeks following an accident. Since car accident claims payout through insurance companies, knowing how to deal with them following your accident is essential. Follow these steps to successfully navigate your insurance claim following a car crash:
Talking to Your Insurance Company
Even if another driver is at fault for your injuries, most insurers require that you contact your own insurer following a car accident. If your policy covers bodily injury or you find that the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, you might have to deal with your own insurance company. Most insurance companies advertise advocacy for their clients, but customers often find that their insurers don’t have their best interests at heart, despite the fact that they pay premiums faithfully and on time.
The reality is that insurance companies are businesses for profit, and their bottom line is exactly that: turning a profit. Your insurance claims adjuster is tasked with paying out as little on your claim as possible. Most customers encounter this reality when they receive their first lowball offer from their insurance company.
Your insurance company will not offer to pay the full extent of your injuries at first. This often requires negotiation and help from a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you assess the full value of your claim and advocate on your behalf to obtain fair compensation for your injuries, in accordance with the terms of your policy.
Dealing With an At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Policy
Negotiating with your own insurance company can be stressful, and problems can magnify when contending with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Even when you’re clearly not at fault for an accident, insurance companies will do anything they can do to deny blame or avoid paying the full value of your claim.
Unfortunately, insurance companies can and will try to use your own words against you. In the days and weeks following a car accident, you may receive a phone call from a claims adjuster asking for a written or recorded statement. One of the best things you can do for your claim is to NEVER sign any of these papers or agree to any recordings unless you have an attorney present. Insurance companies often try to trick you into saying that your injuries are not as bad as they seem to pay out less on your claim – or deny it altogether. Personal injury attorneys are well aware of the tactics insurance companies use and will defend your right to fair compensation under the law.
If you receive a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, politely deny their requests for statements until you can obtain legal representation. Additionally, never accept an insurance company’s initial offer. These initial offers are a jumping off point for negotiation, and they do not represent the full extent of your injuries, pain, and suffering. Retain the services of a personal injury attorney who can negotiate on your behalf and help you achieve a fair amount of your claim.
Should litigation become necessary, an experienced car accident attorney is also essential. The best way you can deal with an insurance company following a car accident, whether it’s your own or another driver’s, is by letting an attorney do it for you. Contact the attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for further guidance and to schedule a free case evaluation.