Preserving the record of your accident and treatment is imperative. This means keeping everything–police reports, medical reports, correspondence from both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. Even minute details that may seem unimportant at first might prove essential to your claim as your case progresses. A compartmentalized file folder that allows you to separate your documents by category can be helpful in this regard. You should bring this folder with you when you meet with your attorney to discuss your case so he can scan your documents and provide him copies of new documents when you [...]
This is the first in a series of posts about what to do after you’ve been in an accident. The most important thing to do is to see a doctor, both in order to ensure that you receive the care you need and determine the scope of your injuries and to begin documenting your injuries and the care you received. Remember, the insurance company is going to do everything it can to save money by minimizing the extent of your injuries. The sooner you receive care, the better off you’ll be, from both a medical standpoint and a [...]
An insurance adjuster may contact you multiple times asking you to give an account of your accident, treatment, or other aspect of your case. For example, the first time he calls, the adjuster might ask general questions about what happened in a way that seems conversational and informal, like he’s just trying to gain a basic understanding of your situation and needs. He might contact you again days or weeks later asking more specific questions and saying he needs a formal account so they can finalize your claim. Don’t be fooled. He’s made careful records of both conversations, most likely [...]
A conversation I overheard in a local municipal court yesterday prompted this, another post about Missouri’s point system. Most drivers ticketed in Missouri understand that pleading guilty will result in the addition of points to their record and that enough points will cause them to lose their license, but most of them don’t know how many points result from a given citation or how many points they can accrue. Perhaps more importantly, they rarely know where to look to find out. Fortunately, the relevant statute, RSMo. 302.302 is fairly straight forward, as statutes go, and the Department of Revenue has [...]
The insurance company might contact you soon after your injury and tell you that they’re going to accept responsibility for paying for your treatment, only to later tell you that they’re only going to pay an amount far less than the actual cost of your treatment. By this time, you might be facing increasing debt from medical bill and time missed from work. Do not accept any offer from an insurance company until you’ve talked to a personal injury lawyer.
In every case, the insurance adjuster will downplay the severity of your injuries. His job is to save money for the insurer. In doing so, he’s likely to look for things you’ve said or done that he can take out of context in order to make it seem like you aren’t hurt as badly as you are. That’s yet another reason you should not talk to the insurance company until you’ve talked to a lawyer.
An insurance adjuster might ask you to make a recorded statement about your accident, either in person or over the phone, about your accident, your injuries, or your willingness to accept a settlement. You shouldn’t. It’s an attempt to get you to say something the insurer can use against you. The adjuster may go so far as trying to record you saying that you’re willing to waive recovery from the insurer. More subtly, he may ask you an apparently benign question, like “how are you?” or “what are you up to today?” then claim that your answer proves that [...]
Insurance Adjuster Tricks – Part II: Convincing you to accept their offer before you’ve spoken to an attorneyBen Janssen
Insurance companies know that people who’ve been injured in accidents often need money fast. They might offer you money soon after your accident, even going so far as calling or visiting you while you’re in the hospital. Attorneys in Missouri are not allowed to do this. Missouri attorneys are not permitted to have personal or real time contact with prospective clients the attorney knows to have need of representation in a particular matter for purposes of obtaining employment Mo. Sup. Ct. Rule 4-7.3(a), and cannot contact a person in writing regarding a claim involving accident or disaster within 30 [...]