Personal Injury Lawyer Indianapolis, IN
Reporting the Accident to Your Provider
Your automobile insurance policy is the result of a contract between you and your provider. If you have been injured in an accident, through little or no fault of your own, and intend to seek monetary reimbursement for the losses you have incurred, (medical bills, lost wages, property damage to your vehicle) as well as non-economic damages, you must notify your automobile insurance carrier of the accident within a ‘reasonable’ period of time. Broadly defined, the term ‘reasonable’ may buy you enough time to take care of the essentials: to seek immediate medical treatment; and to discuss your accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Without delay, a physical assessment of your injuries by a qualified medical provider should be your primary concern. This is not the time to tough it out. With each day that passes without medical intervention, your claim for damages diminishes in value. This is called the Duty to Mitigate. The injured person is legally obligated to mitigate, lessen or reduce their injuries by seeking treatment and following a doctor’s plan of treatment. If you elect not to seek medical treatment right away, insurance companies may use your decision against you to reduce compensation or to question if their client caused your injuries.
After you have been treated, either in the emergency room or in a physician’s office, seek the advice and counsel of an attorney. As a personal injury lawyer Indianapolis, IN trusts, it has been my experience that most injury attorneys will conduct a factual inquiry over the phone before meeting with the client, either in their home or at the hospital. If you have hired a personal injury lawyer to represent you, your attorney may wish to be present when you speak with the representative from your insurance company. Reimbursement and compensation for non-economic damages may fall upon your own insurance provider. Since your insurance company is a for-profit corporation, their ultimate goal is to reduce their monetary exposure—no matter how sincere and sympathetic the insurance company’s representative may seem!
The Recorded Statement May Be a Trap
A representative from the defendant’s insurance provider will be in contact with you. You will be asked to give a recorded statement about the accident. The representative may be remarkably friendly and sympathetic to your situation but claims investigators are professionals at extracting statements that benefit the defense. Statements such as “It all happened too fast…”, “It’s a little fuzzy,” or “I was in shock afterward and can’t recall…” open doors that defense attorneys can exploit to put your testimony in question and reduce their exposure. For this reason, it is best not to engage the investigator: take their name, address, phone number and end the conversation. Then get in touch with your legal advocate. Your car accident attorney in Indianapolis, IN from Ward & Ward Law Firm will submit a letter of representation to the defendant insurance company stating that all conversations and correspondence from the defense should go through the office of your counsel unless you have been advised otherwise.
*Note – Automobile insurance is regulated by your state or commonwealth’s Department of Insurance. This article contains generalizations and may be in contradiction with your existing policy. Read the contents of your policy in full, understanding your legal obligations to the provider and stated exemptions by the provider.