When an Accident Occurs, What Should You Do?
February 19, 2014
At KBG, our attorneys spend every day fighting for our clients. Standing in the way of fair and just results is the insurance industry, a multibillion dollar industry whose only goal is to pay out as little as possible on any claim whether it is legitimate or not. Each of our attorneys have handled hundreds of cases and having one on your side levels the playing field between you and the insurance company.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are a well oiled machine with huge budgets and spend millions and millions of dollars on advertising. Their basic theme is that they are on your side or that you are in good hands. The fact is, that when it comes to paying claims, even when their insured is clearly at fault, they are not fair and, in fact, do everything they can to minimize your legitimate claim.
As a general rule, if you find yourself in an accident situation, it makes sense to talk to one of our knowledgeable attorneys – as soon as possible. There is no charge for this initial consultation and by doing so very early on in any case, you will ensure that you do nothing to harm your case.
In automobile accident cases, there are usually two insurance companies – yours and the at-fault party’s. Immediately after any accident, you should report it to your own insurance company. Your insurance company will be responsible to pay for your medical bills even if the accident was not your fault. You do have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company. You should talk to lawyers before giving a recorded statement to anyone concerning the motor vehicle accident.
On the other hand, you have no duty to cooperate with the insurance company of the at-fault driver and you should only contact them with caution. For example, the at-fault party’s insurance company will contact you and want to record your statement about the accident. They will also want to ask you questions about your injuries and even ask you to give them permission to receive copies of your medical records. You are under no obligation to talk to the other insurance company about your injuries or to allow them to record your statement. Under no circumstance is it advisable to sign an authorization form giving them access to your medical records. Keep in mind that even if the accident is obviously the other person’s fault, that person’s insurance company is already figuring out how to minimize your claim. Other than discussing the damage to your vehicle, the less you say to the other insurance company, the better.
In addition to dealing with the insurance companies, it is important to seek medical treatment if you are having any problems related to the accident. Even if you do not have regular health insurance, your automobile insurance will cover you for the treatment you receive related to the accident. In addition, you have the right to choose where you want to be treated as long as it is related to the accident. Your coverage is limited only by the level or amount of coverage that you selected when you purchased auto insurance. The more medical coverage you have the better. It is a relatively inexpensive way to cover yourself in one of the most common ways to get injured.