When a person is injured in an accident, he or she may have to submit a claim to the relevant insurance company. Many times, this process can be long and confusing. This situation is exacerbated when the victim is trying to recover from the accident. While many insurance companies perform their duties as required under the law, some cut corners and use deceptive practices in order to protect the financial interests of the insurance company by denying or paying only minimal amounts on valid claims. Being aware of this dynamic can help personal injury victims carefully go through the process of submitting and substantiating a claim. Some tips that a personal injury lawyer may provide you are: Do Not Befriend Insurance Company Adjusters Insurance adjusters may seem to be friendly. However, they are not your friends. This strategy is used to get you to trust them. Then, you may be more comfortable talking to them. You may inadvertently say something that can damage your case. Remember that insurance company agents represent the insurance company’s interests, not yours. Therefore, insurance adjusters often are not really concerned about the victim’s injuries and are only concentrated on resolving the claim for as little as possible. Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer A personal injury lawyer helps accident victims with recovering compensation for the injuries that they sustain. A personal injury lawyer can often complete many of the tasks associated with submitting and substantiating a claim with the victim’s authorization. In most cases, having a lawyer helps the victim receive a higher settlement when compared to plaintiffs who do not have a lawyer. Additionally, this helps level the playing field between the victim and the insurance company. Insurance companies may try to deceive accident victims or not completely inform them of their rights. Having an attorney on their side can help them protect their own interests. Handle Communications Promptly Some insurance policies specify that the insured must report claims within a certain period of time and must submit information within a given timeline. These rules apply when the insured is filing a claim against his or her own insurance company. Additionally, not handling necessary communications with the insurance company promptly may send a message that the claim is not important to the claimant. In any event, all claims should be completed and a lawsuit filed before the statute of limitations expires, which would forever bar the claim. Let Experts Negotiate Claimants should avoid trying to negotiate a settlement on their own. Insurance agents deal with this aspect of claims on a daily basis. Most laypeople do not. Some insurance agents may offer a prompt settlement to entice the claimant to accept it and not hire an attorney, which may mean a larger payout down the line. Having a personal injury lawyer handle negotiations places this task in the hands of someone who is more experienced in this realm. In contrast, not having a lawyer may wind up having a denial of the claim or receiving an inadequate amount of compensation. Determine All Recoverable Damages Before negotiating with the insurance company, you should be aware of the full extent of your damages. Your attorney can help you identify sources of damages. Consider the amount of property damage you have sustained. Add in your medical expenses, including hospital bills, visits to follow-up treatment, travel costs associated with seeking treatment, prescription medication costs, rehabilitative care and any anticipated future medical expenses. Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation related to your lost wages, decreased earning capacity, disability and other economic damages. In some states, you or your family can receive compensation for loss of services, loss of support, loss of companionship and loss of consortium. Talk through the possible damages for which you may be able to receive compensation with your personal injury lawyer. Once you have identified these areas, gather documentation to support your claim. For example, provide your personal injury attorney with copies of your medical records and bills. Ask your employer for a printout that shows how much time you lost or the benefits you had to expend because of the accident. Keep organized records and provide them to your attorney for review and to use to supplement a demand letter. Not being aware of the types of damages that you may be entitled to receive compensation for or not substantiating these damages can mean that you do not recover the compensation that you are entitled to receive. Copyright HG.org Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.