We’re often asked if someone should wait to call their insurance company since they are known to safeguard their bottom line. These agents know that those involved in an accident are vulnerable, suffering the results of damages, and want to settle quickly. So, they may offer the injured party a check for an amount below what they are really capable of paying and what the claimant needs.
If you’re in this situation, do not agree to an amount without speaking with a lawyer first. In addition, do not agree to sign anything or offer a recorded statement to the defendant’s insurance company.
Why Call a Lawyer First
Yes, after a car accident, you do need to exchange insurance information with the other party. Accidents involving significant injuries or hospital trips may change the order of things, though—your health is the priority.
In that case, focus on recovering and contacting or having someone close to you contact a personal injury law firm. A free consultation will help you take the correct next steps in receiving the settlement you deserve.
Remember, filing a claim or lawsuit isn’t petty when you’re in the hospital or expect to undergo different post-accident therapies. It is making sure that you can pay for any injuries the responsible party has caused.
When to Contact Your Insurance Company
You should notify your car insurance soon after the accident, but you have time. Don’t feel you need to offer a statement right away. The insurance company may expect 24-hour notice, but “as soon as possible” may do just fine, as well. It just depends on your insurance policy.
Why Some People Might Wait to Notify Their Insurer of the Car Crash
It’s true that the longer you wait to notify your insurance company, the more suspicious your claim may become. This inaction could impact your settlement amount. Still, some people choose to wait to file so they can:
- Speak with a lawyer
- See what injuries follow the accident days or weeks later
It’s not uncommon for injuries to show even a few days after the accident. However, if you suspect an injury of any kind, go to a doctor immediately. You will need medical evidence that you’ve been hurt to help support your claim, so check into the emergency room after the accident to diagnose and treat your injuries.
When Is It Okay to Accept a Settlement?
If your injuries and car damages were minor (i.e., they don’t result in life-altering medical expenses), it may be okay to accept an initial settlement from the insurance company. However, don’t underestimate the circumstances of your accident, as you may be entitled to collect forms of compensation you don’t know about yet.
If you’re unsure, speak with a lawyer before taking the settlement.
Damages You Could Be Entitled to Collect in a Car Accident Case
You could be entitled to recover an array of damages after getting hurt in a car accident. Some forms could be:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning power
- Property damage loss or repair
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Other out-of-pocket costs
Your lawyer will assess your case to calculate the full extent of your damages.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Outside of exchanging insurance information with the other driver and contacting a lawyer, there are other things you should consider post-accident that can help your case.
- Go to the hospital for any suspected injuries; even sprains and bruises count. You could be misjudging the extent to which you are hurt.
- Call 911, even if states don’t require it or the other driver is trying to convince you otherwise.
- Never discuss fault after the accident. Your accident may be a case of comparative negligence (meaning you hold some responsibility), but admitting fault to anyone, especially the insurance company, may lead to a claim denial or delay.
The steps on this list will help you build evidence for your case.
Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation Today
If you find yourself unsure about what to do after a car accident, consult a lawyer first—let us tell you how to proceed. With over 40 years of experience and more than 50,000 resolved cases1, our lawyers at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers are ready to provide the help you need to get back on your feet.
To find out more in a free consultation, give us a call today.