When you are involved in a serious car accident – whether on the I-90 or a side street in Bellevue – life can seem to tailspin. You’ll be dealing with injuries and medical issues, you might not be able to return to work for a while which will wreak havoc on your finances, and you’ll also be thrust into dealing with insurance adjusters. It helps to know what to expect after an accident so you can be prepared.
Insurance Company Will Want to Interview You
As soon as you’re able after your accident, you’ll need to report your accident to your insurance company. If another party is at fault for your accident, make sure you also report the accident to that person’s insurer. Washington is an at-fault state, so it’s the at-fault driver’s insurer which will likely be your primary source of recovering compensation.
The insurer will likely want a recorded statement regarding your accident. Be careful about communicating with the insurer, who may use your words to reduce your claim value or even deny your claim. If your accident was serious, talk to an attorney before you give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement. This is because:
- you may not fully understand all the facts of the accident;
- you may not fully understand your rights;
- you may even be somewhat foggy due to medical treatments; and
- you might accidentally say something that could thwart your chances for compensation.
The Insurance Company Might Lowball You
While many insurance adjusters are honest, some, unfortunately, are not. Insurance companies are, after all, a business, and therefore are very concerned with their bottom-line. The less they have to pay out, the better for them.
They might attempt to offer you a settlement that is far lower than what you’re entitled to. If you are hurting for money (as is the case in many situations after a serious car accident), they might take advantage of that and try to get you to settle for a low amount straightaway. That way, they can avoid litigation and having to pay larger settlement checks.
Therefore, do not agree to the first offer the insurance company puts on the table. Before signing anything, make sure:
- your condition has been fully diagnosed; and
- all of your damages have been taken into consideration.
Why? Because once you agree to a settlement, you cannot ask for more money later should your condition worsen or complications arise. It’s far better to wait until you have a clear picture and good estimation of your total damages before you settle. If and when the insurance company offers you a settlement, you may even have your attorney review it to ensure it’s fair.
The Insurance Company May Dispute Fault or Injuries
It’s also quite common for insurance companies to dispute fault in car accidents. If the other party’s insurance company can prove that you were at fault or partially at fault for the accident, the amount it will have to pay you will be reduced.
The same goes for your injuries. An insurer might try to minimize or discredit them so it won’t have to pay as much. As you file your claim, it’s vital to prove the other party’s fault and to demonstrate the full extent of your injuries through appropriate documentation and evidence.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one were recently involved in a car accident in the Bellevue area, we invite you to contact Max Meyers Law PLLC for a free consultation. We will be able to review your case, explain your rights, and counsel you on the best way to proceed. Call or 425-399-7000 today.