Insurance Coverage Pitfalls
Automotive accidents range from deadly to fender-benders. And when you are the victim of one, it is easy to be shorted on compensation when you deal directly with the insurance company.
The insurance companies may have car repair shops that they work with who replace factory parts with generic aftermarket parts. Not only does this decrease the value of your vehicle but also the life expectancy. And when it comes to anything beyond their pre-allocated costs associated with such an accident risk, fighting for the other 50 percent of what is owed to you is an uphill battle. The insurance companies have a custom of handing anything off to their in-house staff attorneys when the clarity of coverage is ambiguous or vague.
The worst part about dealing with insurance companies is their unscrupulous tricks. They can delay the settlement of claims intentionally to make you desperate enough for a lower offer. For most people, they simply don’t have the time or patience to deal with insurance companies and haggle over the payments. Yet, when your accident is serious, you have no other choice. The insurance company is obligated to pay all of the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Prospective income losses
- Wrongful death of a loved one
- Loss of consortium with a loved one
- Diminished quality of life issues
- And more …
You should not discuss your case at all with an insurance adjuster. You are under no obligation to provide them with anything more than your phone number, address, and name. They can twist around your words to weaken or eliminate the claims by making it appear that you were at fault in the accident.
How Do I Deal with Insurance Companies?
The only way to deal with an insurance company that does not provide full coverage for your losses and pay the price for quality repairs is to hire a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will take the time to objectively calculate the costs of your injuries and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They are able to recommend the best course of action from experience.
A personal injury attorney acts as fiduciary to safeguard the estate of a loved one after an accident. It can be difficult to prove such complex damages and the future impact without a qualified attorney. In fact, it may be difficult to even obtain recognition of standing. In order to show standing in the court, you have to prove a close relationship with the deceased: spouse, parent, child, sister, brother, etc. Absent a will, it can be difficult to establish standing in the court.
A personal injury attorney can also connect you with the best forensic and medical experts. They can help to amplify and establish your claims based on forensic and medical sciences. They will not work with anyone other than a personal injury attorney because doing such would negate from their professional reputation. The attorney can put the entire package together of lost wages, medical injuries, damage to your property, and compelling evidence of future needs to present your claims with great force. This will pressure the insurance company to settle quickly for a full and fair settlement.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
When it comes to establishing the elements of a personal injury case, you truly need an attorney who understands all the nuances. The case-law changes all the time and takes decades of studying it to fully comprehend it. An attorney will help you present proof of injuries: emotional, physical, or property damages. The attorney can then demonstrate that your injury was caused by the defendants, and that they owed you a duty of care.
Proving that defendants were at fault in an accident can sometimes be tricky. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can work with forensic experts to recreate the scene of the accident. There may be esoteric reasons that support your story and make it hard to believe that the other driver was not negligent. Negligence can be established by any rules of the road violation: speeding, failing to yield, text messaging, or driving while intoxicated.
Because it can be difficult to recreate the scene of the accident, you should always call police to the scene after an accident to make out a report. Try to obtain any witnesses and take pictures if you want to strengthen your case even further. Yet, if you are injured, taking care of your injuries and calling a friend or relative to gather what evidence they can is the better plan.
And once you secure a personal injury attorney, you will find that most work on contingency. This means that you pay absolutely nothing unless you win money. Most personal injury lawyers also offer free consultations to assess the strength of your claims.
In order to preserve your claim, your lawsuit must ordinarily be filed within 2 years from the day of the accident. If you file your complaint beyond this timeframe, you will likely face a permanent timebar that blocks you from receiving any damages. Although there are a few extraordinary exceptions, they are evoked sparingly by the courts and are a last resort to pursue.
One example may be if the insurance company actively misled you in writing to believe that you had longer to file a lawsuit, and that you were required to work for a resolution through them first. Because insurers are in a position of trust, a plaintiff may take their word for it even if it is a misleading or false representation.
How Do I File My Lawsuit?
It is important to retain a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Only an experienced and successful personal injury attorney can file your lawsuit and preserve all the errors. The state courts can be very strict about formatting a lawsuit and may permanently bar you from raising claims or facts if you try to draft a complaint yourself.
Bryan Garrett is a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Call the law firm of Bryan Garrett today for a consultation.
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