Car accidents can be sudden and destructive, wreaking havoc on all aspects of your life, from your physical health to your finances. If you have been in an Ohio car accident with a driver insured by Geico and you are struggling to navigate the process or get the coverage that you are entitled to, you are not alone. Geico is a massive insurance company, and they would not be profitable if they fairly paid out every claim that was filed with them. For this reason, rejections and lowball offers can be par for the course when trying to get compensation for a negligent driving accident. This can be hard to deal with when you are also suffering the consequences of an injury. For this reason, having a lawyer for your Geico accident claims ensures that your interests are protected and that you receive a sufficient and equitable settlement to compensate you for the harm, pain, and trauma that you have suffered.
Common Causes of Ohio Car Accidents
There are countless causes of car accidents, from drunk and distracted driving to speeding and defective vehicle components. Regardless of the cause of the accident, it is important to understand that if you did not cause it, someone else did. It is not always easy to determine liability in the aftermath of an accident. Fault is usually determined by insurance companies based on the police report and any other available evidence. A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether there are any other potentially at-fault parties that can also be held liable for the harm. For instance, if you were hit by a driver who was performing their job duties in a company vehicle, their employer may also be held liable. If there were dangerous road conditions due to unmarked construction, a defective stoplight, or insufficient markings for an intersection, the city or state may also be held liable.
You do not have to have all the answers before you talk to an attorney. Knowing that you were in an accident that was not your fault is enough. Below, we have listed some of the most common kinds of accidents that we help people receive compensation for. If you have been injured in an accident like these, it is important to contact a car accident attorney and determine your options for moving forward.
Drunk driving accidents
Semi-truck, commercial truck, and tractor-trailer accidents
Impaired driving accidents
Steps to Take After an Accident
There are a number of things that you can do after an accident to strengthen your claim, starting at the scene of the accident. Of course, this requires you to be physically able to move around without causing yourself further injury. If you are not sure it is safe to move around, remain still and wait for help to arrive. Otherwise, document the scene of the accident by taking photos of the license plates of all vehicles involved as well as any damage to them.
It is also important to get the name, contact information, license, registration, and insurance information for any other drivers who are involved. You can also get names and phone numbers for any bystanders or other drivers who witnessed the accident. When you speak to police, make sure to tell them about any pain you are experiencing. Then seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. It is important to seek medical attention even if you are not sure that you are injured. Not all injuries are immediately apparent or obvious after a car accident, but that does not mean that they aren’t dangerous and even life-threatening.
The next step is to contact a lawyer for Geico accident claims to schedule a consultation. Another thing that you can do is keep an injury journal. In this journal you can keep a daily record of any doctor’s appointments that you had or treatments you completed, medications that you took, expenses that you incurred related to your injuries, your pain level, and notes on any ways that your injuries interfere with your daily life. For instance, if you were unable to go to work, spent $70 on prescription medications, and were unable to cook for yourself or do your laundry, you would note all of these things in your journal. Any documentation on the adverse effects of your injury on your life can be used in the calculation of your injury settlement, and this is a highly effective way to create documentation.
When to Contact a Lawyer After an Accident
In short, the best time to contact a lawyer after an accident is as soon as possible. Many people wait as long as possible to see if their pain will go away or if they can tough it out or handle their claim on their own before asking for help. This becomes a long, time-consuming, and frustrating process. When you contact an attorney right after your accident, you can skip the headaches and focus on your physical recovery. An attorney can review the facts of your case, take over communications and negotiations with the insurance company, and move forward with your claim, coming up with the best legal strategy possible based on your needs.
If you have suffered serious injuries or may experience chronic injuries or require ongoing care, it is also a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The more care you will require, the more expensive your medical bills will be, and the higher your settlement will be as well. While a large settlement might sound good, it is also high stakes, because even $200,000 may only last a month or two when you are having surgeries or requiring in-home care. Medical care is expensive and the sooner you can get an attorney on your side, the sooner you will receive the settlement that you need to get the care and support to which you are entitled.
What to Say to Geico Insurance Agents
It is important to be careful whenever you are talking to insurance agents, and Geico insurance agents are no exception. Do not think of insurance claims adjusters as customer service representatives. They are only talking to you to serve the best interests of Geico. Geico would not be in business if they gave out large settlements to everyone who filed a claim.
It is the claims adjuster’s job to get you to accept as low of a settlement as possible, and they have a number of tactics that they use to do that. Many things they do may seem harmless and normal, such as making small talk. However, even things that may seem like no big deal to share may be used out of context later to mitigate or negate your coverage. For this reason, it is critical that if you talk to them you stick to the facts.
Do not consent to having the conversation recorded. Although it may feel awkward to say no, they only ask because they legally need your permission. You do not have to consent to a recorded conversation. The recordings will only ever be used against you, often taking comments out of context. For instance, they may say, “And it looks like you were going…45 on that road?” It is possible that you were going the speed limit of 35 and that it did not say anywhere that you were driving 45, but if you are not paying attention, you may absentmindedly agree. If that is recorded, they have you on tape admitting to speeding at the time of your accident. This proves that you were negligent, and may negate or mitigate your coverage, instead showing that you are at fault at least partially for your own harm.
As you can see, it is easy for someone to make a simple slip-up with major consequences. This is why it is best not to chance it and simply to retain an attorney from the start.
How a Lawyer Can Help with Geico Accident Claims
Having a lawyer for Geico accident claims levels the playing field between you and Geico. Geico’s insurance agents do this for a living. They know how to get people to accept the lowest possible settlement and they have many techniques and strategies for doing this, some of which are very hard to detect until you are dealing with their aftermath. A personal injury attorney has just as much, if not more, experiencing negotiating car accident claims than these insurance agents. They will represent your interests and fight to make sure that you receive the maximum claim that you are entitled to, taking additional legal action if necessary.
Geico actually considers whether you have a lawyer when they decide how much to make your initial settlement offer for, indicating predatory practices toward non-represented individuals. It is important to do what you can to protect yourself against these practices and make sure that you are fighting the system to make sure you are getting the settlement you deserve due to their client’s negligent driving. Remember, it is not your fault that their client messed up and caused you harm. They exist for this exact situation, and it is important that they are held accountable.
Large insurance corporations like Geico often do not take claims seriously if the victims are not represented by an attorney. Merely having an attorney’s name attached to your claim file can result in a higher settlement offer because they are hoping to avoid litigation that will cost them far more than paying a steeper settlement up front.
What is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
First, it should be noted that what your car accident claim is worth is not the same as what Geico is likely willing to pay you for it. Because car accident settlements can vary so much based on the specific circumstances, and settlement agreement information is not readily available and is often confidential, it can be very hard to get a good idea of what your claim is actually worth. However, it is possible for your lawyer for Geico accident claims to generate a rough idea.
First, you are entitled to economic damages. These damages can be calculated with specificity, and are for actual expenses that you have incurred as a result of injuries from the accident. Economic damages are things such as missed wages due to having to take time off of work to recover, any medical expenses related to your injuries, and the cost of surgeries, treatments, or ongoing care or therapy.
You can also receive damages for pain and suffering to compensate for the physical and emotional trauma of the accident. Although these injuries cannot be calculated with specificity, they are not entirely subjective either. Pain and suffering damages are generally calculated by taking the total amount of economic damages and multiplying them by a number 1-5 which corresponds with the level of severity and permanence of the injuries suffered. The more severe and permanent your injuries are and the higher your economic damages are, the higher your settlement amount will be.
In some cases, additional damages, such as punitive damages may also be available. When it comes to calculating damages it can be hard to ensure that you are including everything, and not knowing something that warrants reimbursement can result in you accepting a settlement offer that is far lower than you deserve. For this reason, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to get the best and most accurate idea of your damages.
Contact the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges
If you have been injured in a City of Hamilton or greater Ohio area car crash or vehicle collision that was not your fault, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges are ready to fight to get you the settlement from Geico that you deserve. Contact us today and find out how we can help you get the support and compensation that you need to heal from this accident and move forward with your life. Contact the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges to schedule a consultation.