Every year, thousands of drivers and passengers throughout Tennessee are involved in motor vehicle accidents. When it comes to car accidents, an individual's entire life can literally change in an instant and for those who emerge suffering painful and debilitating injuries; the physical, emotional and financial toll can be significant.
One of the most important things that drivers must do in the wake of a car accident is to report the accident to their insurance company and file an accident claim. It's important to note, however, that, despite their many promises and claims, insurance providers don't always have their customers' best interests in mind. Consequently, an accident claim may be delayed, reduced or denied; leaving injured parties responsible for some or all financial expenses and losses.
Car Accident Claims: Three Must-Dos
- Report the Accident ASAP - When it comes to reporting accidents and filing accident claims, most insurance policies have strict time limits and restrictions. Therefore, failing to report an accident in a timely manner could jeopardize your ability to file a claim and recover compensation.
- Be Honest - When reporting a car accident and filing a claim, it's important to provide an accurate and factual account of what happened. Your insurance company receives a copy of the official police accident report and many also conduct their own investigation. If they learn that you lied or weren't forthcoming about important facts or details, your claim may be denied.
- Understand Your Coverage Terms - Before you talk to your insurance company, it's important to read through your policy and to understand the terms of your coverage. If you have any questions or concerns, it's wise to reach out to an attorney who can answer your questions and provide guidance.
Car Accident Claims: Three Don'ts
- Provide Written or Recorded Statements - It's important to avoid providing any type of official written or recorded statement to your insurance company until and unless you understand the terms of your coverage and how your claim may be affected.
- Sign Any Waivers or Releases - Prior to signing any type of waiver or release or agreeing to any type of settlement; it's important to consult with an attorney who can review your claim, answer your questions and provide legal advice.
- Fail To Hold Your Insurance Company Accountable - Your insurance company expects you to fulfill the terms of your contract and penalizes you if you fail to do so. It's important, however, to remember that your insurance company must also fulfill certain obligations especially when it comes to compensating claimants for expenses related to vehicle repairs, medical care and lost wages.
Under the best of circumstances, dealing with your insurance company is often a frustrating, confusing and time-consuming process. When you are in physical pain and stressed about how to pay the stacks of medical bills that are piling up, it can be difficult to impossible to remain vigilant when communicating and following up with your insurance company. By consulting with an attorney, you can help hold your insurance company accountable and ensure that your best interests are being promoted.