If you’ve been in an automobile or boating accident and are injured, you’re entitled to a sum of money that will not only pay for your medical expenses, but that will pay for lost wages, pain and suffering and life missed out on. Yet, many people walk away with just enough to cover only a third of their hospital bill. Why is that?Oftentimes, it’s because, after an accident, an individual is so shaken up that they’re willing to sign anything and everything the insurance company puts in front of them without reading it first. This is not only a HUGE mistake, but a costly one.
Many times, the insurance company will try to get to you before you have the time or thought to contact an attorney. They want you to sign two very important documents, without you being aware of the consequences of those documents. The first document they will ask you to sign is the authorization for them to directly contact your doctor – even doctors that saw you before the accident – which they should not be allowed to do. When insurance companies do this, they are looking for any indication of previous injuries or ailments, and will use these against you when it comes time to file your claim. Another reason they do this is to gain access to what you said to your doctor – in private! – about how the accident happened, what your initial complaints were right after the accident, and any information about prior injuries. Even if the information they gained is incorrect or misleading, chances are, they will use it against you.
The second document they will ask you to sign is the release. I cannot express to you enough how important it is that you DON’T sign the release until you’ve spoken with an attorney. More often than not, signing the release will result in your losing any right to further compensation, even if you deserve – and, more importantly – need it. Oftentimes, injuries sustained from an accident won’t show themselves until way after the fact, and you should not sign the release until your medical treatment is finished and your doctor has done a final evaluation report.
Many times, your insurance company won’t tell you that even their own research proves that people who are represented by attorneys end up with almostthree and one-half times more money than people who try to settle with the insurance company on their own, and that’s after the attorney fees are paid. By working with an attorney, you could be pocketing upwards of $18,000.
That being said – if you’re involved in an automobile accident – or any accident, for that matter – DON’T sign any documents until you’ve spoken with a personal injury lawyer. Learn more here.