Thousands of people are injured in car accidents every day in our country. In many cases, the people who are involved in these accidents are entitled to financial compensation for the losses they suffer. These losses can include:
Give what is at stake, it is important for victims to make sure that they do everything possible to protect their legal rights.
A fundamental principle of personal injury law is that the person who is at fault for an injury-causing accident is required to pay victims money in order to compensate them for their losses.
Because of the significant costs associated with car accidents, drivers in Tennessee must carry liability insurance to ensure that they can pay for any injuries they cause. For this reason, the vast majority of car accident cases involve dealing with one or more insurance companies.
Insurance companies are sophisticated businesses. They deal with car accident claims on a daily basis. Generally speaking, they are motivated to minimize the amount of money they pay out in every claim they handle.
For this reason, car accident victims can face adversity when seeking a full and fair recovery from an insurance company. Unfortunately, in the process, they can easily make costly mistakes. Here are five common ones:
We put this at the top of the list for a good reason. When you are injured in a car accident in Memphis or elsewhere in Tennessee, a lawyer can play a crucial role.
Many people are hesitant to call an attorney. They may believe that attorneys charge high rates. So, they may think they are unable to afford one. However, this is not the case.
For instance, our law firm provides free consultations. We also do not collect any legal fees unless we obtain a recovery on your behalf.
We can advise you about your legal options and take care of everything associated with your case from the moment you retain us, including dealing with all of the insurance companies involved in your case.
When car accident victims are injured in accidents that are not their fault, they rightfully expect the other driver – or his or her insurance company – to pay for their damages.
In many auto insurance contracts, however, there is a clause that requires the insured to report any accident in which he or she was involved to the insurance company. For this reason, it is important that you report any accident to your own insurance company – even if you believe the crash was not your fault.
Noncompliance with your auto insurance contract could lead your insurer to refuse paying any claim you may file with the company such as an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claim.
Your attorney can thoroughly review your policy and report the incident on your behalf.
It is important for car accident victims to remember that insurance companies are in the business of making money. Regardless of how friendly their representatives may seem, they are out to protect their interests – not the accident victim’s rights.
Crash victims may be contacted by an insurance company for a statement within just a few days of a crash. Victims should never say anything about the accident in which they were involved. Instead, they should simply refer the insurance company to their attorney.
This is true regardless of whether the insurance company that contacts you after a crash is your own insurer or the other driver’s insurer. Insurance company representatives are trained to limit liability. The things that you say could ultimately be used against you and hurt your ability to recover compensation.
Insurance companies are aware of the fact that most car accident victims are unaware of how much their claim may be worth. Most people significantly undervalue their claims and do not factor in all of their compensable damages when considering their losses.
For this reason, many auto insurers will offer victims who are not represented by an attorney a settlement that is far below the actual value of their claim. Their hope is that a crash victim will simply take it and give up his or her right to file a legal claim.
However, by having an attorney review your case, you can greatly improve your ability to receive the full and fair value of your claim – regardless of whether your compensation comes from a settlement offer or an award at trial.
Another mistake that many people who are injured in car accidents make is failing to determine whether any of their losses are compensable under their own policy.
The kinds of losses for which you may be able to make a claim include property damage, bodily injury and the costs associated with renting a car.
As we mentioned above, many people may be able to make a claim under their own policy for uncompensated damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
When you retain an attorney, he or she will thoroughly review your policy and pursue all sources of compensation that may be available in your case.
We suggest that you check out this booklet published by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It provides a good summary of different types of auto insurance that can be purchased.
People who are injured in car accidents often experience significant physical and emotional stress and pain in the days and weeks immediately following a crash. Additionally, the process of recovery often involves multiple doctor’s visits, rehabilitative activities and lots of rest.
Victims of a car accident should focus on their physical recovery and hire an experienced attorney to represent their legal interests against the person or party liable for their losses.
In addition to allowing victims to focus on their recovery, hiring an attorney often results in significantly more compensation than an unrepresented party would be able to obtain on his or her own.
Tennessee car accident attorney David E. Gordon is a board-certified civil trial specialist who is committed to helping people injured by the negligence of others to recover for their losses.
To schedule a free consultation with Mr. Gordon, call our office today or submit our online form.