After a long day at work, you’re in your car stopped at a red light less than a mile from home. You’re wondering what’s going to be for dinner or who is going to take the kids to soccer practice when your body is jolted forward, snagged by your seat belt and flung violently back into your seat. Your contents of your backpack on the passenger seat is now scattered across the floor of the car. After a moment of confusion, you realize you’ve been in a car crash.
After Your Car Crash
The police arrive and you exchange information with the teenager girl who crashed into the back of your car. A headache comes on along with soreness in your back and neck, otherwise you feel okay. You call your spouse who takes you home while your car is towed to the mechanic.
The next morning you awake feeling like you’ve been hit by a train. You’re stiff as a board, in pain and have a splitting headache. You see your doctor who takes x-rays, relieved to learn there are no broken bones, but you have some very sore, inflamed muscles. You’re given pain medication and told sessions of physical therapy will help.
A Call from the ‘Other’ Insurance Company
Then you get a call from a woman from the teenager’s insurance company. She sounds nice, empathetic for your situation and wishes you a speedy recovery and she has some ‘good news.’ She wants you to know the teenager was 100 percent at fault for the accident. The other insurance company wants to make things right and without delay. Not only is the insurance company going to pay to fix your car, they want to send you a check for a thousand dollars to compensate you for your sore neck and back, no questions asked.
This may sound like a good deal … but it is not.
That person from the insurance company may be sincerely concerned about you, but she has one thing in mind — to put an end to your injury claim quickly. By accepting the thousand-dollar check offer and signing the ‘Release’ that comes with it, you have effectively closed your case. You’ve forever closed out your injury claim before you’ve healed and before you or your doctor may have a full understanding of all your injuries suffered in this crash.
Take Your Time to Heal
Diagnosing and treating injuries from car crashes can take weeks or months. Injury symptoms can wax and wane and sometimes a car crash victim cannot know for months whether their injuries will heal completely or will linger and eventually require complex medical treatment. The bottom line is a person injured in an auto accident never knows what the future is in store until all their symptoms – headaches, stiffness, pain, loss of range of movement – have ended and their doctor gives them a clean bill of health.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
A law in the State of Wisconsin – called the Statute of Limitations – recognizes that a car crash victim may need many months or years before their injuries heal or their doctor determines they probably will never heal completely. That is why the Statute of Limitations in Wisconsin is three years. This means that a car crash victim has up to three years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit.
When that person from the insurance company calls you soon after the car crash and offers to send you a check for your bodily injury claim, tell them ‘No thanks.’ Instead get the following:
- Their name, address and phone number
- The “claim number” they have assigned to you
Important Tips for Dealing with the ‘Other’ Insurance Company After a Car Crash
The person for the insurance company may contact you every few days or weeks to check up on the status of your injuries and medical treatment. Unless it is someone from your own insurance company, you are under no obligation to give out this information. You can respectfully tell them “don’t call me, I’ll call you” when you’ve completed medical treatment and you’re healed up from your injuries.
Don’t fall for a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude when the insurance company offers you that check soon after the crash. If the crash was not your fault and your injuries are significant enough to require medical attention, you have a legitimate claim that has merit. Insurance companies will not ignore such claim, no matter when you, or your attorney, approach them to discuss a fair, reasonable settlement or your injury claim.
If you’ve been in a car crash that wasn’t your fault and suffered injuries that require medical attention, give the auto accident lawyers at Murphy & Prachthauser a call. We’ll be able to give you the advice and representation you deserve to receive that fair, reasonable settlement, and at the appropriate time. Don’t sell yourself short.
If you are still looking for the right lawyer for you, consider filling out a free case evaluation and talking with a personal injury attorney today. You’ll see the difference when you have the opportunity to talk directly with an expert Milwaukee personal injury lawyer.
At Murphy & Prachthauser we are car accident attorneys in Milwaukee and personal injury attorneys in Milwaukee who practice the law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a personal injury lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced Milwaukee auto accident attorneys and Milwaukee personal injury lawyers working on your behalf.