You’ve just been hit on I-85, and it wasn’t your fault. You’re hurt. You go to the emergency room. You find out you’re going to need more treatment for your injuries. You think the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for it and that you won’t have to spend any money out of pocket. Wrong.
You give the insurance company a lot of information about the wreck and your injuries. You think this will help you get a fair, quick settlement from the insurance company. Wrong.
You think it will be better and easier to settle your bodily injury claim quickly and without the mess of involving a lawyer. Wrong.
If you are injured in a car wreck that was not your fault, you may receive some seemingly nice phone calls or correspondence from the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. The adjuster sounds friendly, concerned about your well-being, and eager to help you resolve your case. Do not be fooled. Insurance adjusters are not your friends. They work for the insurance company – not you. Their only goal is to get you to settle your case for the least amount of money possible. The insurance industry gains millions of dollars a year in profits by denying claims and pocketing compensation. It can be difficult to get them to cooperate unless you have an experienced attorney to fight on your behalf.
It is always best to get a lawyer to represent you and your rights after a motor vehicle collision. These 3 common myths and misconceptions about at-fault insurance companies and bodily injury claims demonstrate why:
Shortly after a motor vehicle collision, an adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact you to get a statement regarding the accident and will send a form asking you to detail your injuries. They will try to tell you that you must provide them with a statement before you will be able to recover any money for your injuries. You think that the best way to resolve your claim as quickly as possible is to give them a statement. But that can be wrong, and the statement can actually hurt your case and make it harder to settle. You are not obligated to give the insurance company any statement without being represented by an attorney.
The insurance companies ask for a statement so they can try to minimize your compensation. They will use the statement to look for any defense to deny your claim entirely or to significantly reduce your claim. For instance, they will look at what you say about the collision to see if it conflicts with their insured’s version of events or the police report. They could use this to say the collision was actually your fault. They will also try to pin you down on your injuries and your treatment so that if your injuries worsen later on, they will use your own statement against you. Finally, they will try to gather information on any pre-existing conditions you had to try to argue that your injuries were not the result of the accident but were sustained years ago from something else. Insurance companies will even hire their own doctors to discredit accident victims’ claims, and they will use your own statement to do it.
The best course is to tell them that you are not going to give them a statement, but that you will be hiring an attorney to negotiate with them on your behalf. This will get their attention more than anything you could do on your own.
In Georgia, insurance companies are not required to pay for your medical bills as you incur them. Typically, they will only pay for treatment that you have already completed. That means that you will likely have to use your own health insurance (if you have it) and cover any out-of-pocket expenses on your own. This can be frustrating, confusing and unexpected. It can also make you settle faster than you should. But that would be a mistake because, before you file a lawsuit, you cannot get compensation for future medical treatment. If you don’t have health insurance, there are some healthcare funding options that your lawyer can help you explore. Some medical practices will also agree to treat you on a lien so that you don’t have to pay them until you get a settlement.
You are entitled to be reimbursed for all of the medical bills you incur to treat your injuries from the collision. After you file a lawsuit, you can ask for money for future likely medical care and treatment.
The last thing you want to deal with after being hurt in a car wreck is negotiating with the insurance company over your bodily injury claim. You want to get a fair settlement to cover your medical care and treatment. You believe that getting the insurance company to pay you as soon as possible will be the best outcome. Unfortunately, this is not how it works. In Georgia, you have two years to file a bodily injury claim in car wreck cases. You have these two years for a reason. Most times, you should use them. The insurance company wants to settle as soon as possible after the wreck so that you don’t know how injured you actually are. Many times people will think that they are recovered from a wreck after a few weeks, only to find out a few months later that they are having major back or neck problems they didn’t have before the wreck. If they’ve already settled their claim against the insurance company, that’s it. Game over. You can’t go back to them and ask for more. While it can be frustrating to wait for years after you’ve been injured to get your settlement, the best course is to wait until you’re done treatment and wait long enough to try to settle your case until you fully know the injuries that the wreck caused you.
Insurance companies typically play a game of denying claims, delaying processes, and not paying the full amount to an accident victim. They leave injured clients in the dark and force them out of the compensation they deserve. You need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to handle the insurance company while you focus on your healing. Bethany deals with insurance companies on a daily basis and knows their tactics and how to exploit them. Bethany will take the guesswork and frustration out of dealing with the insurance company after you’ve been injured. Contact Schneider Law, P.C., today to request a free consultation.
Call (404) 800-3060 or email Attorney Bethany Schneider directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.