Getting into a car accident can be a traumatic experience. During this stressful time, it may be difficult to navigate the insurance claims process calmly and successfully. Unfortunately, many insurance companies are not eager to dole out thousands of dollars to their insured customers, even though that’s what we pay them to do. Oftentimes, insurance companies will look for any excuse they can find, even if it’s a false or fraudulent one, to avoid paying their customers’ claims. Read through this guide on how to navigate the insurance claims process successfully.
First Steps to Take after an Accident
In the time period immediately following an accident, it’s important to follow the appropriate steps to ensure your rights are protected. Review the first steps you should take right after getting into a car accident:
Contact the police. After an accident, contact the police and have the responding officer take down the details of the accident in a police report. Police reports can support your case when you file a claim with your insurance carrier. In addition, the police can help diffuse a potential hostile situation with another driver.
File an accident report. Read up on your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requirements for submitting an accident report. Typically, you must report the accident to the DMV if the property damage exceeds a certain amount or someone was killed or injured in the accident.
Contact your insurance company. After you have moved a safe distance from the accident, contact your insurance company. Typically, they will let you know what information you need to send them. Depending on your coverage, they may send for a tow truck or reserve a rental car for you to drive.
Many Texas drivers only carry the bare minimum insurance coverage, and approximately 13% of Texas drivers are uninsured. Additionally, at-fault drivers may flee the scene of the accident. Situations like these are when having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage comes in handy. If you did not purchase this type of insurance, you may still be able to get this coverage if your insurance company cannot prove that it was offered to you and you did not decline it in writing. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Briggle & Polan can help you understand if this is the case for you and your situation.
Handling the Insurance Adjuster
If you were injured in a car accident and you’ve gone through the initial steps listed above, an insurance adjuster for the vehicle that caused your injuries will contact you.
No matter how friendly or empathetic the insurance adjuster may seem, remember that they ultimately work for an insurance company whose bottom line is profit. Insurance companies will do whatever they have to do to avoid paying claims. Adjusters are well-trained to make you feel comfortable enough to let your guard down and reveal potentially damaging information.
Goals that insurance adjusters typically try to achieve include:
Denying your claim entirely.
Minimizing the amount they pay.
Delaying the process.
When they call you, insurance adjusters will try to get you to record a statement, ask leading questions to try to elicit a response, and then use that recorded information against you. They’ll try to get you to sign general medical authorizations, which will give them access to your medical records and history in an attempt to find something to minimize your claim. They’ll say they’ll take good care of you and your situation and will discourage you from hiring an attorney. They may hire investigators to stake out your home and work and look for any evidence that they may be able to use to say you’re not suffering from an injury.
Never forget that insurance adjusters work first and foremost for the insurance company whose bottom line is profit and nothing more. If you’re contacted by an insurance adjuster after an accident, provide the name of your personal injury attorney and then end the call.
Insurance claims may be paid based on the type of coverage you purchased. Depending on the claim you filed, you may receive payment from the comprehensive, collision, liability, or other component of your insurance package. Claims may also be paid from multiple sections of your policy depending on the circumstances of the car accident.
Texas is a liability state, and in order to recover money for damages you received in an accident, you’ll need to prove that the other party caused the accident and that as a result of the incident, you suffered real, demonstrable damages.
Don’t let this burden of proof discourage you. Every insured driver who was injured in a car accident is entitled to compensation. When you have experienced personal injury attorneys like those at Briggle & Polan on your side, you’ll have a good shot at recovering enough money to get the medical care you or your loved ones need and be compensated for your lost earnings and accident-related expenses. It’s important to go through the insurance claims process so that negligent drivers and others be held accountable for the damage they’ve caused.
Many people who file an insurance claim run into problems receiving payment from their insurance company. Oftentimes, insurance companies will attempt to deny claims for the following reasons:
You haven’t paid your monthly premiums. If you miss even one payment, your insurer may suspend your policy without you realizing it.
You don’t have full coverage. Not having comprehensive or collision coverage is one of the main reasons insurers deny claims. If you don’t have collision coverage and your car was dented in an accident, your insurer will not pay for the dent to be repaired if you don’t have collision coverage.
You didn’t report the accident on time. If you wait too long to report a crash, your insurer may claim they didn’t have enough time to research your claim, and may deny it.
You were driving under the influence. If you were driving while intoxicated, your car insurance company will not cover damages in the event of an accident.
You didn’t get immediate medical assistance. If you don’t seek immediate medical treatment after a crash, your insurer may deny your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
If your car insurance company denies your claim unjustly, don’t panic. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you fight the denial and recover the funds you’re entitled to.
Car Insurance Problems? Contact Quality Representation
Each and every month, we pay our car insurance companies a fee to stay insured on the road. When something bad happens, it’s their legal responsibility to process our claims and pay us the compensation we’re entitled to. Unfortunately, car insurance companies will search for any excuse to get out of the claims they owe us.
If you were injured in an accident and your car insurance company will not process your claim or will not pay you the full amount they owe you, our personal injury attorneys at Briggle & Polan are here to fight for you.
We offer a no-cost, no-obligation case analysis and we’ll answer all of your accident-related questions. If you hire us, you’ll never pay a cent until we have won money for you.
Contact our Austin personal injury attorneys at Briggle & Polan, PLLC at (512) 400-3278 for a free case consultation today!