Any automobile accident, whether it involves a motorcycle, car or truck, can cause serious injuries and property damage. If the accident is the other driver’s fault — for example, they were driving distracted or intoxicated — then you can make a claim to cover damages with their insurance. While this process seems like it should be relatively straightforward, it can quickly get convoluted and complicated. Here’s an overview of the claims process and what to do if the insurance company offers you a settlement shortly after the accident.

A Word on Insurance Companies

Though you may pay them a steep price each year for coverage, insurance companies won’t immediately jump in to cover your costs when you get in an accident. If you try to obtain compensation from someone else’s insurance, they are more likely to fight you on the price. Insurance companies know how to negotiate, and oftentimes they try to offer you a settlement that is far below what you deserve. They also usually hire their own investigator to look into the accident separately from any police report. In fact, the insurance company can make their decision on who was at fault for the accident entirely outside any other judgements. Therefore, it is incredibly important to decide what to say to an investigator before speaking to one.

About That First Offer 

You’ve just been in a motorcycle accident a few days ago, you’ve filed a claim with the other driver’s insurance, and they’ve immediately responded with a settlement offer — should you take it? Usually, the answer is no. Insurance companies like to play on your emotions following an accident and your feelings of desperation for coverage. Medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and lost wages (due to being unable to work after an injury) can add up fast, and you may feel that taking the immediate offer is your only option. It is not, and that initial offer is usually well below what you deserve.

Tactics to Handle Insurance Companies 

Take time to consider the first settlement offer. If you realize it is unfair, you can renegotiate for a better price. Don’t give any statements to the insurance company or their investigators, and don’t simply give in to their assessment of what happened. This can be used against you as proof that they don’t need to pay for your expenses. If you aren’t sure how to talk to them or if the settlement is fair, contact a lawyer who can guide you toward better compensation.

If you have questions about a car accident case, contact an auto accident lawyer, like from Barry P. Goldberg, for a consultation.