Being in an automobile accident can be stressful and can cause difficulties well beyond the actual accident itself. If you need to file a personal injury claim or even a property damage claim, this can complicate things even further.
Maneuvering through these claims and working with insurance companies can be intimidating, but there are steps you can take to make sure you are treated fairly through the process and not be taken advantage of.
Understand Your Rights
Understanding your rights as an insured automobile driver and as someone involved in an automobile accident may make a significant difference in your case. There are certain duties insurance companies owe to you in these situations.
One of the most important duties is the duty to act in good faith throughout the process. Basically, this means the insurance company must operate with good intentions. If they do not, this could lead to claims against the insurance company. They also have the duty to investigate and work your claim in an efficient and timely manner, not to employ delay tactics or stall your case.
There are many more guidelines that insurance companies must follow and the rights that you have as an insurance consumer. You can check out your state’s insurance commission for more details and information.
Stay Organized from the Start
One of the most effective, and sometimes overlooked ways to make sure you are treated fairly is to stay organized and keep on top of your information and obligations during the claim.
From the time the accident occurs through the completion of the claim, keep all paperwork, photographs, medical records, and any other types of documentation that relate to your case. Better yet, attempt to keep them in an organized manner. If the insurance company asks you for a particular document (and they may ask for many), you will know exactly where that document is and can forward it quickly.
Also, make sure you follow through and complete any requests made by the insurance company. You, as the insured, should also operate in good faith and with the right intentions at all times. Strive to create an amicable working relationship with the adjusters and the insurance company. If something seems off or you don’t understand a request, that is when you may want to consider seeking out legal help.
Hire an Attorney
Another way to ensure you are being treated fairly by the insurance company may be to consult or hire a personal injury lawyer. A well-established lawyer would be able to use all gathered evidence of the accident to work up a case that best works in your favour. Moreover, he or she would be able to quicken the process, if not make it smoother for you to avail your insurance claim.
However, for some people, seeking legal counsel is the last option, as they may be concerned about costs. The good news is that many attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis for these types of accident cases. This means the attorney doesn’t get paid until your case is resolved and sometimes only if you win your case.
The best thing to do here is to research your options. Make phone calls and ask as many questions as possible. You can easily search online for a Florida personal injury lawyer, automobile accident attorney, or even a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer, whatever fits your particular situation. Another useful source for this purpose would be a Bar Association website like the Florida Bar Association.
You Have the Power
At the end of the day, there are many things that you can do to make sure you are being treated fairly during your accident claim. You have the power. Taking the proper steps such as knowing your rights, staying organized, and potentially researching and finding an attorney for help, are all ways to make sure you keep that power throughout the process.