Decisions made following an accident can have long-term consequences
It’s bad enough when you or one of your family members is involved in an auto accident. Getting through the paperwork, dealing with the insurance companies and possibly recovering from injuries isn’t just time consuming, it’s a huge distraction from your work.
In the aftermath of an accident, too many victims make mistakes that can have far reaching effects. This is especially true if the other party is at fault and you are dealing with their claims adjuster. The good news is, you can easily avoid making the four most common ones:
1. Minimizing Injuries
If you’ve ever started a new exercise program, you know you’ll be aching the next day – or the next. It’s no different after an automobile accident. Drivers are often unaware they’ve been injured at all until a day or two has passed and they feel the effects.
Even if a visit to the emergency department isn’t necessary following the accident, we recommend you get evaluated by a physician. Your doctor can order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, and refer you to orthopedic or neurological specialists if necessary. He or she may even recommend massage therapy, chiropractic care, and/or physical therapy.
This visit and any referral and follow-up appointments are your way of documenting your injuries and the treatments you receive.
2. Talking to the Wrong People
As if just being in an accident isn’t annoying enough, now you’ll be making and receiving phone calls from various people about insurance, medical appointments, car repairs, etc.
You might feel pressured by calls and requests to provide information from the other party’s claims adjuster. Don’t give in to phrases you might hear such as “we can wrap this up quickly.” (See point #3.)
If you believe the other party’s claims adjuster isn’t treating you fairly or is requesting information that seems inappropriate, seek advice from your insurance agent.
3. Settling in a Hurry
There is no reason for anyone to pressure you to settle your claims quickly. The injuries you considered minor could later cause more discomfort and pain many days or even weeks after the event. Some soft tissue injuries may not immediately respond to treatment. Or recuperation from more serious injuries may not be progressing as expected and need re-assessed. Settling too quickly means you could be left paying for ongoing medical expenses that insurance would have covered.
4. Minimizing Damage to the Auto
A fender bender that leaves little surface damage could in fact result in a shift in alignment, a bent frame, or other damage that only becomes evident later. Low-speed collisions when bumpers don’t line up typically produce extensive damage requiring expensive repairs, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A certified technician should check for problems that might not be obvious but make the vehicle unsafe to drive. The last thing you need is to be involved in another accident.
In addition, damage to your vehicle will likely result in its reduced resale value once the accident is picked up by the reporting services. You should ask for this to be taken into account by the claims adjuster.