Many auto insurance companies use common tactics to either avoid or minimize their payouts to customers after a car or truck accident. Learn what steps you can take to protect yourself both before and after an auto accident.

Read and Understand the Fine Print in Your Insurance Policy

Far too many people lose out on important benefits because they were unaware of important filing requirements buried in their policies. Many auto insurance policies pose strict notification requirements, such as 30 days notice for hit-and-run accidents and insurance carriers can change their policy filing requirements at any time. When car accident victims do not respond to notification requirements on time, they can lose their coverage.

Notify your insurance company immediately after any type of accident. Be sure you have your complete auto insurance policy, including any notification of coverage changes. This can also include pamphlets or notes that are mailed with renewal statements, reflecting any policy terms and changes. When receiving ongoing medical care for car accident injuries, having a solid understanding of insurance policies can help ensure that health care providers bill appropriately.

Be Wary of Adjusters Asking for Releases and Recorded Statements Right After an Accident

Many victims rush into signing adjusters' documents without having the language reviewed by an auto accident lawyer, believing these are just basic verifications of the accident. Therefore, they may lose their right to sue a negligent driver for accident-related injuries. Claims adjusters often try to get recorded statements early, aiming to minimize the victim's pain and injuries for later use in court.

Never give statements to an accident claims adjuster and never sign a release or allow the adjuster to look at the auto damage. Simply tell the adjuster that you need to review the paperwork with your attorney and will get back to them with your response.

No matter how desperate you may feel after suffering the financial burden of medical bills, lost wages and disabling pain, involving an auto accident attorney will ensure your rights are protected. Keep in mind that the claims adjuster works for the insurance company, and has its best interest in mind - not the injured victim.

Talk to an Auto Accident Lawyer Before Accepting a Settlement Offer

Imagine you just suffered devastating injuries from a car accident and are now recuperating at home, in pain, and worrying about how you are going to pay your bills. An insurance agent knocks on your door with a check for $100,000 for your accident. With the emotional and physical trauma following a car or truck crash, a large amount of money sounds great, and some victims rush into accepting the first settlement offer. Yet determining the value of an auto accident case goes far beyond a simple calculation of injury type, future expenses not covered by no-fault insurance and the wrongdoer's policy limit. Offering to settle is essentially a backdoor approach by insurance companies to saving litigation costs at the expense of an accident victim's right to a full recovery.

It never hurts to call an auto accident lawyer and ask for advice. Many lawyers can explain what you are entitled to and make sure your insurance company is paying everything they are supposed to - with no fee.

Become Aware of Deny and Delay Tactics by Insurance Companies

Most people suffering injuries from a car accident call their auto insurance company to find out what to do next. They assume that when they follow the process, they will receive fair, timely compensation for injuries resulting from the auto accident.

Yet many insurance companies engage in common delay tactics including denying claims, not returning calls, placing people on hold for extensive periods, requiring a victim to repeatedly gather records, and passing you from one adjuster to the next. Soon the financial burden of time off work and mounting medical bills drives innocent car accident victims to contact an attorney. Or worse, it makes them desperate enough to accept an extremely low settlement offer, limiting any future recovery of damages.

If you are experiencing these typical delay tactics, contact an auto accident attorney who can assist you with getting your claim processed and the benefits you are entitled to under your state's law.

Bottom Line

If your auto accident involves injuries to you and/or your family (even seemingly minor injuries), consult an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Not only will you better understand what benefits you are entitled to, but you will have the peace of mind knowing that you received the full value of benefits and compensation available to injured drivers.