Stop! Do not accept that insurance settlement until you read these important personal injury tips to receive a fair settlement! The insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out proper compensation to their clients. At Brauns Law, PC, we are in the business of helping our clients get a full and fair settlement for their damages, both current and future.
Before you consider settling your insurance claim, review our 25 tips for getting a fair settlement.
25 Tips for Getting a Fair Settlement for your Injury Claim
- Get medical care as soon as possible.
If you do not go to the hospital/ER right after the crash, see your doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get your injuries diagnosed and recorded, the more evidence of your damages you can lose.
- Tell the truth to the police.
Do not speculate on what you think the other driver was or was not doing. Share only facts you are sure of, and do not exaggerate the situation.
- Get info about everyone and everything involved in your accident.
Make sure you obtain contact information from all drivers or pedestrians involved in your accident. Also, make notes on the types of vehicles involved. Do not forget to talk to witnesses and get their information as well - they can help prove fault in your claim.
- Make notes about the scene.
Include things like weather conditions, any hazards in the road, how the traffic signals were configured.
- Find out where all of the vehicles involved were towed/moved to.
If any vehicles were towed from the scene, find out where they are being stored. Also, make sure that your vehicle is not disposed of until the investigation is completed. If any vehicles were able to drive away from the scene, find out where they will be located in case they need to be examined.
- Contact both your insurer and the other driver’s.
Georgia is a fault state, meaning you have a right to file a claim against the other driver's insurance policy. You still must report the accident to your own insurance company first, but if the other driver is at fault, his policy should pay for your damages.
- See if anything other than your vehicle is damaged.
If any personal items in your vehicle (phone, laptop) were damaged in the crash, they may be able to be compensated for in your damage claim.
- Make medical appointments and be thorough and honest with your doctor.
Do not understate your injuries or overreact and exaggerate your pain. Be honest with your doctor, because the truth about the extent of your injuries will come out through the investigation of your medical records.
- Do not tell your doctor about your legal plans or lawsuit.
Only talk to your doctor about taking care of your injuries. Any discussion of your legal plans could end up in the doctor's notes, which the insurance company could later see.
- Do not talk to others about the accident.
The more you talk about your accident to others, the more information you could be giving to the other driver's insurance company to use against your claim. Avoid social media discussions about your accident as well.
- Ensure a complete investigation is conducted.
Make sure that all your injuries and damaged property are accounted for and documented before anything is fixed or discarded. This may mean your vehicle has to be garaged until an investigation and inspection is completed.
- Do not sign any offer from the insurer until you talk to your lawyer.
The first offer an insurance company makes is usually a quick way to get you to settle for much less than your claim is worth. Have your lawyer review the offer before you sign.
- Get photos of important elements and record dates.
Make sure you or someone you know takes photos of the accident scene, all vehicles involved, any damaged property, everyone's injuries, and anything else you think helps tell the story of what happened in the accident. Note the date and time of the accident, and keep records of all doctor’s appointments, talks with insurance companies, and meetings with your lawyer.
- Do not let them repair your car until you take photos of it.
The damage done to your vehicle can tell a lot about what happened in the accident. Do not get anything repaired until you have it documented in photos or on video.
- Do not release your medical records to the insurer.
If the insurance adjuster asks you to sign a medical record release, do not do it until you talk to your lawyer. This release may grant them access to your entire medical history, which could be used against your claim.
- Do not plead to a traffic offense until you talk to lawyer.
If your accident resulted in a traffic citation, do not pay or fight it until you have talked to your lawyer. Doing so could unfairly increase your degree of fault.
- Do not let insurers pressure you to settle.
You may get a settlement offer almost immediately for your damages. Insurers hope that you will accept and not seek full compensation for your damages. You have the right to refuse an initial settlement and work with an attorney for a fair deal.
- Get full account of all damages.
The initial settlement usually only covers your immediate medical expenses and damages, it rarely considers long-term consequences of injuries. When negotiating a settlement, have estimates for full repairs, long-term treatment for injuries, and estimates for lost wages and future medical costs.
- Keep journal of your missed work.
If your injuries made you take time off from work or are likely to prevent you from working for a long period of time, record this as evidence for damages. Your settlement should compensate you for these lost wages.
- Keep medical bills/receipts in order.
Any expense related to the care of your injuries or incurred due to your injuries should be recorded and receipts saved. This includes any equipment you need (crutches, wheelchair, etc) and services like housekeeping that are necessary because you cannot perform them yourself.
- Know your insurance coverage.
Before you contact the insurance companies, review your own policies to know your coverage limits. Also, check any health or life insurance policies you have for accident injury coverage.
- Do not stop seeing your doctor until she releases you.
If you stop your medical treatment before your doctor clears you, it could mean you are giving up your right to compensation for your injuries. Follow all of your doctor's orders for care, do not skip appointments, and take all medications as directed.
- Be ready to file a lawsuit if necessary.
Not all injury claims are settled fairly with the insurance company directly. Be prepared to go to trial if you wish to obtain a full settlement for your damages.
- Make sure a lawyer evaluates your case.
That initial settlement offer may seem tempting so you can get this insurance business out of the way. But, if you accept now without having an attorney review your case and estimate the real value of your claim, you could be feeling the financial stress again in the future.
- Choose lawyer who will go to court if necessary.
Remember, the offer from the insurance company is rarely enough to fairly compensate for your damages. When the insurance agent will not budge on the settlement amount, you need a lawyer who will take the case to court as a personal injury lawsuit.
Choose Brauns Law to Help You Get a Fair Settlement
Do not trust the insurance company to play fair and give you a settlement that covers all of your damages and losses. Attorney David Brauns makes sure his client’s best interests are upheld in the negotiations for a fair and full injury claim settlement. Contact us at 404-418-8244 to schedule a free case consultation.