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Dealing With the Car Insurance Company in Massachusetts

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Whether you’re dealing with the other driver’s insurance company or your own, getting full compensation for a car accident in Massachusetts is always an uphill battle. The insurance company has a financial interest in paying you as little as possible, and their representatives will protect their interests.

You need a Massachusetts car accident lawyer on your side to protect yours. When you’re up against an insurance company, every step is vital. Here’s what you need to do and how an attorney can help.

Notify your insurance company, but exercise caution.

Most insurance contracts require that you notify your insurance company promptly after an accident. In general, you want to make this notification as soon as possible after you’ve dealt with the immediate implications of the accident (calling the police, getting medical attention, etc.) to prevent your claim from being denied.

However, you don’t have to volunteer any information, and it’s in your interest to answer their questions as briefly as possible. Stick to the facts of what happened and don’t talk about fault. There’s no need to describe your injuries in detail, either. Tell the insurance company you’re getting medical care and leave it at that.

In a no-fault state, you’re generally dealing with your own insurance company, but the other driver’s insurance company may try to contact you as well. Remember, you’re not required to talk to the other driver’s insurance company at all. Their goal is to protect their client and ultimately their bottom line. You’re best off having an attorney deal with them on your behalf.

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Beware of releases and other documents from the insurance company.

Again, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible because that’s how they protect their bottom line. Be mindful of this goal before you sign anything. If the insurance company asks you for a medical release, for instance, that might be an excuse for them to go through your entire medical history looking for any pre-existing injuries so they can devalue or deny your claim.

In short, don’t sign a release without reviewing it with your attorney first.

Do not give the insurance company permission to record.

If you need to give a formal statement about the accident, you don’t want to do it verbally. On a recorded line, you only have one chance to get your statement right, and all it takes is one slip to endanger your claim.

Moreover, the insurance company can take your statement out of context or even alter it to use against you. The only way to protect your rights is to sit down with an attorney to craft a written statement that actively tells your side of the story – and protects your interests.

Don't accept a settlement offer without legal advice first.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember throughout this process is that you only get one shot at compensation. Once you accept the insurance company’s money, that’s it. Their settlement offer comes with legal strings attached: by taking it, you sign away your right to sue for further damages, even if the full cost of the accident turns out to be much higher than what they paid you.

And once you’ve taken that offer, there is usually nothing an attorney can do to help you recover. You can negotiate for more, and you can get legal advice before you choose to accept or decline a settlement offer. Never take the insurance company’s money without talking to a lawyer who can review your case and calculate the full value of your claim.

A car accident lawyer can deal with the insurance company on your behalf.

One of the great advantages of hiring a car accident lawyer is that you can have them deal with the insurance company while you focus on getting better. When you retain an attorney to represent you, one of the first things your attorney will do is notify the insurance company or companies that you are now represented by counsel.

From that point forward, the insurance company must send communications to your lawyer rather than contacting you directly. You’re still in control of major decisions in your case (for instance, whether to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit), but your attorney will handle the day-to-day and advise you of your legal rights and options at each stage.

Most car accident attorneys offer a free, no-obligation consultation, so there is no downside to talking to a lawyer about your legal rights. You don’t have to deal with the insurance company on your own. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Massachusetts injury attorney in your area today.

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