Regardless of the severity of a motor vehicle accident, the time following a crash is usually overwhelming and confusing. Unfortunately, insurance companies know this. Many try to move in quickly for statements or settlements, hoping to catch you and other Wisconsin victims off guard.
You can mitigate the insurance company's efforts to lowball your settlement by taking measured steps after your accident. In many cases, careful documentation can help sway things in your direction.
Create a record of the crash and its aftermath
If you come away from an accident without injuries that require immediate medical attention at a hospital, your first call should be to your insurance agent. Even if you were not responsible for the wreck, he or she can help you understand the details of your own policy and which parts may apply to your situation. Coverage for accidents involving uninsured driving is just one example.
Write down the date and time at which this call occurred and transcribe what you discussed. You should get in the habit of documenting all phone calls, discussions, emails and letter correspondences with insurance representatives, especially with those who represent the person responsible for your injuries. Here is some of the information you should document:
- Name and position of individual
- His or her supervisor's name
- Phone numbers
- Topics discussed
Avoid these common pitfalls
Watch any crime TV show or movie and you will notice something peculiar -- victims tend to provide official statements to police and insurance representatives before fully understanding what transpired. Most of these characters even forego discussing their options and rights with an attorney and instead dive headfirst into this process.
You may feel pressured to provide verbal and written statements immediately. This common tactic often pushes victims into saying things they might not mean or fully understand. From there, insurance companies try to push low estimates of injuries and losses with the implication that waiting to accept will lead to even lower offers. Do not let these tricks fool you -- take your time, understand what you are saying and do not accept less than your injuries are worth.
The insurance company is not on your side
There is one thing on the insurance company's mind -- their bottom line. Paying out policies and compensation for your injuries eats into those profits, and even when representatives say they are thinking of your best interests, they rarely are.
Personal injury claims are usually the best opportunity for victims of motor vehicle accidents in Wisconsin to recover compensation for their medical, financial and emotional injuries. Unfortunately, this usually involves dealing with insurance companies soon after a crash. Having an advocate on your side via the guidance of knowledgeable legal counsel can help streamline the process while maximizing your potential compensation.