If you were recently involved in a car accident, getting compensation may not be as easy as filing a claim and getting the money from your policy. Your insurance company may give you a couple of hoops to jump through, advise against retaining a lawyer, or force a settlement before you have time to determine the extent of your injuries.
This is the reason why it pays to know how to approach your insurance company after a car accident, generally by retaining a lawyer, such as a car accident attorney.
Basics of Making a Claim
An accident must be reported to the company within 24 hours after it occurred. If you were not at fault, get in touch with the other party’s insurance providers. You may be required to provide a full report of what happened and the extent of damages or injuries. These should be supported by video, photos, and other types of evidence to back up your claim.
The insurance company will then open an investigation into the claim. The parties may be asked to submit to further examinations by the insurance provider’s chosen medical professional to confirm injuries. In the case of property damage, a claims adjuster may also be involved.
After looking at the results of the investigation, the parties and the insurance company may enter into a settlement to cover injuries and damages. You can appeal the amount if you believe that it is inadequate for the damage suffered.
What to Do
The process above is fairly straightforward, but there are times when your insurance company may not be taking the claim as seriously as you hoped. Maybe the processing time is too slow or they have denied the claim outright. In some instances, the company may take it as far as denying claims without a reason, paying you less than you are owed, or refusing to investigate claims.
It is important to make sure that the claim is covered by your insurance policy and that you have followed all terms required by the policy, such as timely reporting. If the claim is denied, you can appeal. The appeals process may differ from one insurance company to another, so it is important to read the policy to know how to go about it. However, if they resort to other measures, such as refusing to investigate a claim or forcing you to settle for an amount that is less than you are owed, then you have another recourse.
Hiring a Lawyer
The most practical decision you can make if your insurance company is not taking the claim seriously is to hire a lawyer. Talk to an insurance attorney who can help you file an airtight claim. Having a lawyer in your corner raises your chances of getting your claim attended to by the company.
Your lawyer will first evaluate your claim and give you a couple of options moving forward. If you have enough to claim fraud or bad faith, your lawyer can introduce the most suitable legal options for you to take. These may include legal complaints for fraud or bad faith, breach of contract and even personal injury claims.
Your insurance policy provides assurance that you have a safety net if accidents occur. However, it is not always certain that the claims process will go as smoothly as you hope, especially if there is a substantial amount of money at stake. It is important to know the basic process of making a claim and what your options are if doing so becomes difficult.