After a serious personal injury accident, most people file an insurance claim. Before starting the claim, there are some important details to note that can help or harm it. When ready to begin, first talk to a personal injury attorney in Des Moines to ensure the right steps are taken.
Six “Dos” that will Benefit an Iowa Insurance Claim
An insurance settlement depends on the strength of the insurance claim, so naturally one will want to give the case every advantage possible.
The following six tips may benefit a case:
- Contact an attorney as soon as it is determined one will be filing an insurance claim. The sooner a lawyer is hired, the sooner the lawyer gets familiar with the claim. Following that, the lawyer should have it ready to go to negotiations or trial for a fair outcome.
- Contact the insurance company to report the accident. If an accident goes unreported for too long it may lose integrity, and Iowa’s statute of limitations only allows for a lawsuit to be filed up to two years after the personal injury accident.
- Collect any available evidence. Take pictures of the accident including injured victims, damaged property, and the weather conditions. In the case of a car accident, make sure the police were contacted to create a report and obtain the contact information for any witnesses.
- Seek medical attention after a personal injury accident. Even if you feel fine after the accident, get a checkup. Injuries like whiplash can take a few days to manifest, so be checked shortly after the accident.
- Keep records of all communication. Correspondence from the insurance company, healthcare providers, an employer, or any other entity related to the accident or treatment: start a file to keep it organized.
- Follow doctors’ orders. Even if feeling better, continue to follow all of the doctors’ orders for medication, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments.
Six Things to Avoid to Prevent Damaging an Iowa Insurance Claim
Just as one should be concerned with things to do to help a claim, one also needs to pay attention to what actions can harm a personal injury accident claim.
When involved in a claim, avoid these six actions:
- Don’t talk to anyone about the accident until after speaking with an attorney. The insurance companies often try to get claimants to give a recorded statement immediately after reporting an accident. Their goal is to get victims to admit fault for their injuries or suggest that their damages were not as severe as they seem to be.
- Don’t destroy any evidence related to the accident. Keep any damaged items, the clothing worn when the injury occurred, or the damaged vehicle.
- Don’t talk too much about the accident on social media. Insurance companies may be able to see accounts and use postings as evidence in denying a claim. If posting a status update saying that “I’m feeling good today,” to reassure friends, the adjuster could use that as evidence that the injuries were not in fact severe.
- Don’t delay going to a doctor for an evaluation. Even if feeling fine, injuries like whiplash don’t manifest immediately. If there is a delay in getting an exam and diagnosis from a doctor, the claimant may not be able to include future injuries in a claim.
- Don’t sign any paperwork from the insurance company until it is reviewed by an attorney. If the insurance company asks the claimant to sign a medical release, they may have access to past medical history which may be used against an insurance claim.
- Don’t accept the first settlement the insurance company offers. A personal injury accident claim may be worth much more than the initial offer, so it’s best to work with an attorney to estimate the full value of a claim before negotiating a fair settlement.
The Walker, Billingsley and Bair personal injury law firm is committed to helping injured Iowans with their injury claims. For assistance after a personal injury accident, call our Newton office at (888) 435-9886 or our Des Moines office at (888) 435-9886 or fill out our online contact form and schedule a consultation about filing an insurance claim.