A car accident can result in a legally complicated situation. There can be an abundance of challenges associated with pursuing a claim for compensation with an insurance company. With these challenges in mind, Alexander Petraglia, attorney, offers these five tips for dealing with an insurance company following a car accident.
1. You Don’t Have to Sign Documents Right Away
When important documents are put in front of people, they often sign them without fully reading the details. When it comes to car insurance companies, this is the last thing you want to do.
The best way to prevent any signature regret is to hire an attorney, like Alex Petraglia. Attorneys are familiar with insurance jargon and know what to look out for in certain documents. They can help to guide you through all the paperwork and ensure you don’t sign anything that could cause you grief later on.
2. Insurance Adjusters Are Negotiators
When you first call your insurance company to report an accident, you may be surprised at how friendly and helpful they sound. You’ll think they are on your side and want to do everything they can to give you the best offer to cover your expenses. Unfortunately, that is probably not the case.
Insurance adjusters are trained in negotiating tactics as a way to have control over the claim. Their ultimate goal is to save the insurance company as much money as possible. So even if it seems like they have your best interests at heart, be careful.
3. The First Offer Isn’t Usually the Best One
After jumping through all of the hoops and providing all the requested documentation to the insurance company, you may be tempted to take the first offer that the insurance company gives you. In most cases, this is not the best offer, and you shouldn’t immediately accept it. While it may seem like a good amount of compensation, there could be other aspects of the claim you haven’t considered.
Anytime you’re given an offer by a car insurance company after an accident, go through the offer with a lawyer to ensure it is reasonable and complete. In some cases, things like long-term therapies for injuries may not be taken into account unless they are negotiated into the settlement.
4. You Can Choose Your Body Shop
There is a common misconception that you can only use body shops or mechanics that your car insurance company has approved after a car accident. Yes, car insurance companies will recommend body shops to you, but they are just that — recommendations.
If you already have a working relationship with a trusted body shop, nothing should stop you from working with them to get your car repaired. If you don’t have that connection, you can always take your vehicle to the place the insurance company recommends to get a quote and then take your car to another body shop to see if they agree with the quote. If they don’t, find out why so that you can make an informed decision.
5. You Can Appeal a Totaled Car Declaration
To declare that a car has been “totaled,” most car insurance companies use a formula to see whether 70% of the car would need repairs. Then, they’ll look at how much a similar car would sell for in your area and offer to cut you a check. In some cases, this is a fair deal, but this will not always be the case. If you believe your car is not actually totaled or you believe the offer they gave you for it is low, you can do your own research and appeal their quote.
Alexander Petraglia is a licensed trial attorney dedicated to the vigorous representation of his clients. He currently works at Deters Law Office and has experience in both criminal defense and civil suits. Notably, Mr. Petraglia has completed Gideon’s Promise Trial Program, focusing on perfecting trial advocacy and client care. He gives it his all in every case to protect his clients’ liberty, health, and wealth.