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Being in a car accident is stressful and overwhelming. In addition to the shock and pain of potential injuries, you also need to deal with a ton of legal paperwork as you handle the claims process. Typically, it’s in your best interest to avoid settling your claim directly with your insurance company. This is because insurance companies are looking out for their own interests and those of the person who injured you—basically, they don’t want to pay more than they have to.
To minimize the total compensation given to you, insurance companies hire lawyers and use complicated legal jargon to confuse you. It’s unfair for you to be facing a lawyer on your own without the proper background information. The following will share some of that information with you. Specifically, we’ll look at six common mistakes you should aim to avoid when dealing with a car accident claim.
Assuming You Don’t Need An Attorney
The law is a complicated thing. It takes years of practice to understand how it behaves and how to work within it—insurance policies are legally binding documents which means they are no exception to the rule. Beyond combatting the insurance company’s lawyer on your behalf, an experienced attorney can help you with the process. They’ve been through countless claims scenarios and therefore can offer ICBC claims assistance. They know what the insurance company is looking for and how different factors will be taken into consideration.
Assuming You Can’t Afford A Lawyer
Believe it or not, many law firms work on what’s called a contingency basis. This means that they won’t charge you a flat rate; instead, they’ll accept a percentage of the money you get once your claim is dealt with. This keeps your lawyer working hard to get you fair compensation as they’re also working towards improving their own pay. This also reduces the stress of paying someone per hour and looking at the clock full of stress. You’ve just been in a car accident—you don’t need to be spending extra money right now.
Not Understanding What You Deserve Compensation For
Many people inherently understand that they should be getting the money they need to pay for their car repairs or purchasing a new vehicle if needed. Still, there are far more factors you need to consider when determining what an accident has cost you. Think about pain and suffering, wages lost or future income sacrificed, and the cost of care treatment and expenses—including therapy. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is yet another reason to consult an attorney before filing your claim—many people struggle to put a price on an experience. A lawyer will be able to help you determine what your accident is actually costing you.
Posting About The Accident On Social Media
Social media has drastically altered how law enforcement, judges, and—you guessed it—insurance companies work. If you’ve just been in an accident, you’re likely feeling all kinds of conflicting and intense emotions. Of course, you need an outlet—it just shouldn’t be social media. Anything you post or interact with can be used against you in a legal proceeding or consideration of your claim. Something as simple as commenting on a picture of your niece’s soccer game might be construed as you not being in as much pain as you claim you are. Unless specifically directed by an attorney, it’s best to avoid social media altogether until your claim is settled.
Not Understanding That There’s A Time Limit
In most states and provinces worldwide, there is a limit on how long after an accident you’re allowed to file a claim. What this means is that if you wait too long, you forfeit your rights to compensation. Given the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, there is also a massive backlog of claims and cases that need to be examined. Acting sooner rather than later can help ensure you get any compensation awarded to you sooner.
Not Choosing A Lawyer Who Focuses On Car Accidents And Claims
Finally, the law is hyper-complicated. It takes years of specialized practice to understand even one portion of it. You don’t want a divorce lawyer or a corporate lawyer—you need someone who works specifically with compensation claims after car accidents.
The above information should help you navigate the murky waters of filing an insurance claim after an accident. As you embark on this process, ensure that you have a support system in place—friends, family, colleagues, or mental health professionals that can give you space to express your stress and worries.