Not everyone injured in a car crash needs to hire a lawyer. Not every case requires you to have a lawyer. If you do a little bit of research, you might decide that you can handle your case on your own.
Being in a car crash is stressful and can leave you feeling confused and vulnerable. In addition to being injured and receiving medical attention, you will likely have to deal with your health insurance, your auto insurance and the at-fault party’s auto insurance. Dealing with letters, phone calls and mounting medical bills can be exhausting
If you decide to not get a lawyer, beware of what information you may give to the insurance company and know your rights.
Here are 3 helpful tips:
Tip No. 1. Do Not Allow the Bad Guys to Take a Recorded Statement
If you get a call from the “bad guys” and they want you to give a recorded statement, you should not do so. You can talk to them, but you do not have to allow the conversation to be taped. That is your right. You are not obligated to give a taped statement to any insurance company other than your own.
What if the insurance company tells you a statement is required or you will be in legal trouble if you do not give them the information they want? They are not telling the truth!
When they do ask questions, take the time to think about the questions they ask before you answer. Remember, the insurance company is not on your side and no matter how polite or understanding they seem, they are not there to help you.
Insurance companies have a team of attorneys on their side and they know all the tricks. Most are relentless and will stop at nothing to pay as little as possible on behalf of their insured to save their stockholders money. It is their job.
Tip No. 2. Never Give Permission to Access Your Medical Records
Insurance companies will also try to get permission to access all of your medical records – not just those related to the crash – and they will use those against you, too. Do not give them permission to view your medical records. You certainly do not have to jeopardize your doctor/patient confidentiality and relationship by signing a medical authorization for the insurance company to be able to talk to your doctor and his staff.
If you do sign a medial authorization, the insurance company can ask for records from your past, and they will do so. This means if you have seen a doctor for anything over the course of your life, an insurance company may use that information to argue that your car crash injuries were pre-existing or related to a previous medical condition. Some have even used a person’s physical or mental health to argue that the victim of a crash shouldn’t receive any compensation because he or she did not care about his or her own well-being or appearance!
You have a right to obtain your own medical records pertaining to the crash and to provide those records to the insurance company to support your case. We recommend that you do not give up that right.
Tip No. 3. Do Not Let the Insurance Company Rush Your Settlement
Oftentimes, after talking with you and doing an investigation, the insurance company will want to “rush” settlement. This means they will want to settle with you quickly so they can close out the claim. You may require medical treatment for one month or one year. In Virginia, you have two years from the date of your car crash to resolve the claim before filing a lawsuit. There is no need to rush settlement or feel bullied by the insurance company. The most important thing to do is follow your doctor’s orders and get well. We recommend that you settle your claim after your injuries have completely healed and you know the full extent of your damages before you close the case.
Have you been injured car crash? Contact the legal team at Williams Ford to discuss the specifics of your case and find out how we can guide you toward a fair resolution.