Featured News 2018 Dealing with Insurance After a Car Accident

Dealing with Insurance After a Car Accident

One of the first things drivers have to do after a car crash is notify the insurance company. Not only do accident victims have to call quickly per their policy terms, but a quick report helps them take those first steps toward getting the compensation they need after a collision. But when you call, what should you say? Will what you say eventually affect your coverage? Will you be able to replace your car, or get money for medical care that your health insurance doesn't cover?

Keep reading to learn the steps you need to take with your insurance company in the aftermath of a car accident.

The First Post-Crash Calls

There's no doubt that you need to call your own insurance company—your claim could be null and void without reporting your accident within 24 hours. At the same time, it's not good to speak as though your insurance is on your side. When speaking to your own adjuster, it's vital to keep in mind that their aim is to give you as little as possible. That's not a criticism—it's the way insurance companies make money. The smaller each claim is, the more profitable they become.

However, the other driver involved may have their insurer call you as well, and you do not have the same obligation to speak to them. Here's where having a car accident lawyer would be useful. When an insurance company knows you're being represented by a lawyer, they are legally obligated to speak to your lawyer, not you. When the other driver's adjuster starts calling, get ahold of a lawyer. Not only will having a lawyer strengthen your bargaining power, but it will relieve the stress of having to speak to an adjuster.

Keep in mind: this applies to your adjuster as well. Having a lawyer means they can't call you anymore—if you suspect your adjuster is low-balling you or delaying your claim to pressure you into accepting a settlement, this is the strongest move you can make.

The Beginning of the Claim: Car Inspection

With your claim underway, there are several more steps that you and your insurer will take. One of these is having your vehicle inspected by an insurer. In fact, your insurance company has a right to inspect the car. After they assess the damage, they can give a quote on how much your repairs are likely to cost you.

However, they'll gather far more information than just the worth of the car. Adjusters will also investigate who caused the accident, the force of impact, and the likelihood that the accident caused your injury. If you've been seriously injured, their assessment is vital. It also has an agenda—remember, the point of the investigation is to limit their liability and prevent you from making a claim for a higher payout.

If there's a way they can make the evidence weaken your claim, they'll find it.

Car accident lawyers are vital for this part of the process too—firms hire their own accident reconstructors to gather evidence that strengthens your claim. The lawyer's goal (to get you as large of a claim as possible) actually aligns with your needs. Your adjuster, in contrast, is looking for every excuse to low-ball you.

Getting a Small Claim Is Not a Small Issue

"Low-balling" is not a strong enough image, we think, of what an adjuster is actually trying to do. What they're doing is heinous. Many of them are aware that limiting a claim means limiting a person's access to health and stability—but it doesn't stop them.

Because insurance companies offer small payouts so casually, it's easy to forget that these are people's lives they're evaluating. Small claims means people don't have enough money to recover from an accident. That means incurring medical debt, eradicating savings, and living with a condition that could require lifelong treatment or medication. It often also means losing a job, further exposing families to serious financial insecurity.

This is your life at stake—you owe it to yourself to at least ask a lawyer what your options are.

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