If you get involved in a car accident in Pittsburgh, you may assume the crash will be covered by insurance. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning you typically do not need to prove that someone else is at fault to be eligible for insurance benefits from your own provider. Some cases, however, are more complicated. Use these tips to protect yourself during the insurance claims process and seek the financial compensation you deserve.
Report the Car Accident to the Police
You can start building your case and improve your chances of securing compensation even before you file an insurance claim. Report your car accident to the police to obtain a police report as evidence. Call 911 and tell your side of the story to the police officer who arrives at the scene. The police can document the other driver’s and eyewitness information, the date and location of the crash, a diagram of the crash scene, and official photographs. You can use your police report to help you support your insurance claim.
Gather Information From the Parties Involved and Details on the Accident
During your initial conversation with an insurance company representative, you will be asked many questions about your car accident. Prepare by gathering information and evidence about the crash ahead of time. Start by taking pictures while you are still at the scene. Document your property damage, the other vehicle and the crash scene as a whole. Exchange information with the other driver and involved parties. Write down your police report number so you can obtain a copy later. Request copies of your medical documents, as well.
Seek Medical Care
An insurance company will carefully review your claim to see if there was anything else you could have done to mitigate or reduce your losses. If you didn’t go to a hospital right away or at all after a car accident, this can hurt your insurance claim. Your insurance company could use this as a reason to deny your claim or reduce your payout. Protect yourself physically and financially by seeking medical care immediately.
Don’t Admit Fault
Never admit fault for a car accident in Pittsburgh. Even if you believe you are to blame, there could be other factors at play that you are unaware of, such as the other driver’s comparative negligence or a road defect. Admitting fault or apologizing for the accident could make you ineligible for third-party benefits. However, you could still receive payment for your medical bills through your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance under Pennsylvania’s no-fault law.
Be Careful What You Say
All insurance companies, even your own carrier, are looking out for their own best interests. Throughout your claim, the insurance company may try many tactics to avoid paying you. You can protect yourself by saying as little as possible during conversations with the insurance claims adjuster. Answer the questions asked, but do not offer any additional information. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know rather than making a guess.
Refrain From Giving a Recorded Statement
If an insurance claims adjuster asks you to give a recorded statement during a conversation, politely refuse. Our experienced Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers know that the recorded statement is a tactic used by insurance companies to twist a claimant’s own words around and use them against the victim. The insurer may try to get you to give a statement right away, before you know all the details about your crash and injuries. Saying the wrong thing in a recorded statement can make it more difficult to receive fair insurance benefits.
Don’t Settle Until You’ve Spoken to an Attorney
If you receive a settlement offer from a car insurance company, wait to say yes until you have spoken to an experienced car accident attorney in Pittsburgh. The first settlement offer is often priced low in an attempt to convince the claimant to settle for as little as possible. Working with an attorney can prevent you from accepting less than you deserve. Contact an attorney to discuss your case before signing anything.