By Rudy Longman, Attorney at Hensley Legal Group
I often get clients who come to us with severe injuries and property loss on top of dealing with uncooperative insurance companies. Insurance companies want to protect their assets more than anything else and that means paying out as few claims as possible, even from their own customers.
Just because the insurance company won’t offer a decent settlement doesn’t mean your case is worthless or that you haven’t suffered from your experience. Insurance companies deny valid claims every day, even when there is plenty of evidence to indicate their insured is responsible. If an argument can be made to reduce your settlement offer, they will make it.
Just because the insurance company won’t offer a decent settlement doesn’t mean your case is worthless
There are a few things you can do on your own to improve your chance of getting a reasonable offer. First, get a copy of the police report of your accident. Police reports include details of how an accident happened, who was involved, and most importantly, who was at fault. Hoosiers can buy a copy of their police report from buycrash.com for $12 dollars. If you don’t know your report number, call the local or state department that responded to your crash and ask. The officer who responded to your accident should know your police report number.
Second, make sure that you take plenty of pictures after the accident. Take photos of the damage to your car and any personal items that were inside the car, damage to the other vehicle or vehicles, the other driver’s license plate, road signs, skid marks, and visible injuries on yourself. If you don’t have a police report or if the other driver fled the scene, photos will help the insurance adjuster put together what happened and give proof that your damages are as severe as you say.
The police report and photographic evidence will do some but not all of the work to get an offer from the insurance company. The best thing you can do when insurance is uncooperative is to hire an attorney. Don’t wait to take action. The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the harder it will be to gather important information about your case that could help force their hand.
The best way to protect yourself is to get an attorney involved
For example, the insurance company will probably ask you to give a recorded statement (you aren’t legally required to give a statement to someone else’s insurance, but you might be required to give one to your own insurance). Do not agree to a recorded statement without an attorney present. Your statement will be compared to the police report, eyewitness reports, and any statements you make in the future. Any discrepancies between your story and other statements can be used against you and insurance companies are good at asking questions that may lead you to say something inaccurate. The best way to protect yourself is to get an attorney involved.
You can always start a personal injury claim on your own, but oftentimes the only way to hold someone accountable for the damage they’ve done to you is to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit. If the insurance company is offering nothing for your claim, then what do you have to lose by contacting an attorney? Nothing!
Hensley Legal Group, PC has been fighting for the rights of injured and disabled Hoosiers for over 20 years. Your consultation is always free, and we won’t charge you a cent unless we win your case. Call us today or contact us online. Our phone lines are open 24/7.