No matter how prepared you think you are, an auto accident can quickly turn your world upside down. Your entire way of life and your future could be irreversibly changed, in the worst case scenario; and even if you manage to survive with minor injuries, you’re immediate future can become a complex puzzle of recovering your health and your damages. It is natural to have a lot of questions and concerns, and even to be completely at a loss concerning where to begin the process of filing an auto accident claim and receiving compensation. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this process on your own. In fact, it is advisable not to. You can contact the attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help that you need to pursue your claim.
Communicating with Insurance Companies without Legal Guidance
No insurance company is going to recommend that you communicate with an attorney before discussing the claim with them. Yet, failing to do so is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The insurance company will want you to settle your claim for the lowest amount that they can get you to agree to, and they’ll want to do it as soon as possible, before you have a chance to think it over and seek advice. Of course, at first glance, it may not seem like a low offer. It might seem like enough or even more than enough. This is very rarely, possibly never, the case. Until you’ve seen what your long term expenses will be and how long it’s going to take to recover, you cannot know how much money your claim is worth.
It is important to avoid being misled by the kind voice that contacts you from an insurance company. The representative of the insurance company may sound concerned and ask you about how your health is and how you’re recovering from the accident. They may want to get a recorded statement. Do not fall for this. They can use your words against you when you seek more compensation than their initial settlement offer or to argue that you don’t deserve compensation for your injuries and losses at a later date.
So, what do you do when the insurance company contacts you? Our advice is to avoid commenting on the accident, and to politely decline to answer questions or provide a statement until you’ve had a chance to discuss the accident and damages with an attorney. Then, give Chester Law Group a call to set up your free consultation.
The Basic Components of an Auto Accident Claim
Every auto accident claim involves a few basic components, including property damage, economic damages, non-economic damages, and – in some cases – punitive damages. Following is a brief description of each component of your auto accident claim:
The majority of auto accident claims will involve some form of property damage, typically to your vehicle. There may be other property damages, as well, such as items within the vehicle which become damaged. However, the majority of property damages are centered around the damage to your car. If your vehicle is damaged beyond repair or if it would cost more to repair than what the vehicle is worth, then you can receive compensation based on the value of the vehicle. This is typically not difficult to prove or establish.
Your economic damages will include all of your actual expenses that result from an auto accident injury. This will include your medical bills from doctors, hospitals, emergency room, medical equipment, prescriptions, physical therapy, etc. It will also include your lost wages and any lost future earning potential. This can be more difficult to establish than property damage because it involves calculating future expenses and losses.
Your non-economic damages will include all of the losses that are not related to actual expenses and lost wages. Rather, this will relate to such issues as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost quality of life. These damages can be very difficult to prove and easy for the defendant or insurance company to argue against.
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the behavior of the at fault driver could be considered grossly negligent or involves willful wrongdoing. These are damages that are not related to your losses, but are intended to punish the negligent party.
Speak to an Attorney Before Speaking to the Insurance Company
While it may be difficult to know where to begin when you’ve suffered injuries in an Ohio auto accident, you should make it a priority to speak with an auto accident attorney. While you may hear from the insurance company first, they are not the first people to speak to. Before you divulge any information or accept any settlement offers, you should first seek a free legal consultation with a professional lawyer from Chester Law Group. We’ll answer your questions, help you to establish your various damages, and handle communication with insurance claims adjusters. Don’t go up against the insurance company on your own, when you can do it with experienced professional legal representation.