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How to Get Compensation After a Crash

Posted in Car Accident on February 12, 2021

You were recently hurt in an auto accident, and you needed medical treatment for your injuries. When you add up the ambulance ride to the hospital, an overnight stay, possible surgery, physical rehabilitation, specialist visits, and prescription medications, your medical bills may be enormous. And to make matters worse, you may be too hurt to work, and that means no paychecks for the foreseeable future.

At this point, getting compensation is your biggest priority next to recovering from your injuries. But you may not know how to go about it. You’ve heard of calling a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim, but if you’ve never needed a lawyer before, the process may be intimidating and scary to you. Where do you start, and what do you need to do right now to increase your chances of getting paid?

First, Ensure the Crash and Your Injuries Are Fully Documented

Getting compensation after an injury is all about being able to prove you weren’t at fault and the other driver was. It also requires proving that your injuries are serious and that they were caused during the crash and weren’t pre-existing or caused by something else. Because of that, two steps must be completed right away to have any hope of a successful claim:

  • Calling 911—This step is a no-brainer, and it’s required by law for almost all crashes in Tennessee! Calling 911 not only dispatches emergency responders to the accident scene to treat injuries, but it also dispatches a police officer who will write up an accident report. This report will assign fault, which will play a significant role in determining your eligibility to get a settlement check from the other driver’s insurance company.
  • Getting medical treatment—Although you don’t have to go to the hospital right away via ambulance, you need to see a doctor and get evaluated and treated as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more skeptical the insurance company will be of your injuries. The adjuster assigned to your case may believe your injuries aren’t serious, or that your injuries occurred after the crash.

Report the Crash to Your Auto Insurance Provider

Even if you weren’t at fault, it’s still essential that you report the crash to your auto insurer as soon as possible. Most auto insurance companies have short deadlines for crash reports, and if you wait too long and let the deadline expire, it could jeopardize your chances of getting compensation.

Note that many auto accident victims rely on their own insurance for compensation, even when they aren’t at fault. That’s because their policies may include:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage—This coverage kicks in if the driver who hit you either doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay your bills, or is illegally driving without any valid insurance. This coverage is optional, but it’s essential in Tennessee, as 20% of drivers in the state are uninsured, ranking it 5th in the nation for that statistic.
  • MedPay coverage—This another type of optional coverage that kicks in regardless of who is at fault for your crash. If the other driver is at fault and has valid insurance, you’ll get money from this policy. That’s also true even if the other driver is underinsured/uninsured, and even if you caused the crash yourself.

Don’t Accept ANY Settlements from the Insurance Company Just Yet

Insurance companies make big profits by refusing to pay victims the full amount of money that they deserve. But they also know that many victims need money right away after crashes. That’s why they often contact victims just days after their accidents with settlement offers that seem enticing on paper.

However, no matter how badly you need money right now, it’s important to understand that your injuries and lost paychecks may continue adding up for years to come. And if you accept a settlement offer now, you forgo the right to pursue additional compensation in the future. That’s why you should never accept a settlement offer without speaking to a lawyer, especially if it comes soon after your crash.

Call an Experienced Nashville Auto Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, the insurance company’s tactics don’t stop with simply trying to get you to accept a lowball settlement offer. It will also try to demoralize you by potentially rejecting your claim or by insinuating that you’re at fault for your crash. In some cases, adjusters even try to befriend victims in order to extract incriminating statements that they can later use against them!

When you call a lawyer, not only do you get a professional legal advocate working on your case, but you also get someone who will protect your rights. Having a lawyer means that the insurance company can no longer contact you directly. Instead, all communication must go to your attorney, and they’ve seen it all and heard it all. Nothing the insurance company says or does will phase them as they work towards getting you maximum compensation.

Be Honest with Your Attorney about How the Crash Affected You

In addition to proving the crash wasn’t your fault and protecting you from the insurance company, your lawyer will also be tasked with getting you fair compensation. Doing so means calculating your full damages and creating a demand letter that’s presented to the insurance company. But getting you maximum compensation means knowing all the ways your injuries are affecting your life.

However, that doesn’t mean exaggerating your injuries. If the insurance company finds out that your description of your injuries differs from your medical records, it could jeopardize your claim. But at the same time, downplaying your injuries can mean getting less compensation than what you’re truly owed. Being honest, direct, and upfront about all aspects of the crash is the best way to protect your rights.

Don’t Give Up Even if the Insurance Company Doesn’t Cooperate

Most of the time, insurance companies will begin to crack when they realize victims have experienced lawyers on their side. But sometimes, they drag out the process for as long as they can. Other times, they will hope that victims have lawyers who will accept settlements for as little work as possible. And finally, some insurance companies simply refuse to pay, even when victims have dedicated lawyers on their side and plenty of evidence backing them up.

If this happens, it’s important to be patient. Insurance companies can’t run from the facts forever, and when they refuse to cooperate, taking them to court is always an option. And when the evidence isn’t on their side, insurance companies often have bad days in the courtroom, while innocent victims end up getting the money they’re owed and then some.

Whatever You Do, Act Fast—the Time Limit in TN is Just 1 Year!

Unfortunately, Tennessee’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is among the shortest in the U.S. at just one year from the date of the injury. That means time is of the essence. If you call a lawyer, they will need time to gather facts and prepare your case. If you wait too long, you run the danger of not giving your lawyer enough time, or having the statute of limitations expire altogether.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers are ready to take your call and begin building your claim today. We know that getting a lawyer can be an intimidating process, but we also know how important it is for you to get the money you deserve. From the moment you contact us, we’ll treat you like family, and we’ll do everything in our power to help you move forward with your life. Contact us now.