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Auto Accidents: Insurance Claims Dos & Don’ts

Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys
The Dos

Do call an insurance representative as soon as a covered event takes place. As soon as you get home from the car accident, or even before you go to the doctor, if able, call your agent.

Do look over and understand your coverage before talking to your insurer or your agent. Read the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections of you policy in particular. If you have a question about your policy, our lawyers can look over your contract for you.

Do take and keep detailed records of all conversations with your insurance company and get names, phone numbers, and job titles of people you talk to, including their supervisor’s name. It is advisable not to speak to the insurance carrier of the other party who injured you.

Do think about whether you might have insurance coverage under some other insurance policy as well. Many people have more than one policy that might cover a claim. In particular, look at homeowner policies, “umbrella” policies, and materials that came with your credit cards.

Do take photos of your personal injuries and property damage, if possible. Do be honest and forthcoming with your insurer. Even if it is embarrassing, it is better if your insurer knows all the details. Failing to be honest with your insurer might invalidate your policy or cause a denial of coverage.

Do know the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value. If your policy provides replacement coverage, don’t settle a personal property loss for “actual cash value.” You may be required to replace the lost items before getting your full reimbursement if you have replacement cost coverage.

Do keep all receipts of meals, lodging, and purchases made in connection with time spent pursuing your claim or recovering from your injuries from the time of the covered event until final settlement with your insurance company.

The Don’ts

Don’t give any recorded or written statements to your insurer or the insurance representative of the person who injured you until you speak with an attorney. Remember you are not required to let the insurance company record your telephone conversation. If you have questions, do call our law firm.

Don’t automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your losses given to you by the insurer. Insurance companies will often try to get you to accept their estimator’s or contractor’s repair or replacement estimates, which might be a bit low. DON’T sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice. A bad financial situation after a major loss may make it seem necessary for you accept a premature, inadequate settlement from your insurer. But you may remember destroyed items after you have signed a release as to payment for your personal property inventory or other claims. For these reasons, it is advisable to consult an attorney before signing a release or waiver. Be sure to read the fine print on any payment from the insurance company.

Don’t sign any release and do not accept any check that says “final payment”. Call our law firm as soon as possible.

Don’t ignore time limits. You only have two years before the statute expires and ignore time limits set by your policy.

Don’t forget that you have a contract with your insurer. Your insurer has a legal obligation to provide the coverage it promised to you. Be insistent about enforcing that obligation.

If you have been harmed in an auto accident, please contact today. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is never a fee unless we successfully settle your case.

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