Being involved in an accident is stressful – add to that the prospect of having to deal with your insurance company or with someone else’s insurance, and you might find yourself in a nerve-wracking situation. Fortunately, filing an insurance claim is not a complex process in most cases as long as you know what steps to take and what to expect along the way. The attorneys at 801-Injured share important insights about the process of filing an insurance claim after an accident.
What Information Do You Need For an Insurance Claim?
Let’s suppose you have been involved in an automotive accident caused by a distracted driver. Your first step should be to seek medical attention for any injuries. It is important to see a doctor even if you don’t think you have been hurt or if your injuries are minor or not visible (such as whiplash), as it is not uncommon for some injuries to remain asymptomatic for days, even weeks after the accident. If there were significant injuries and/or damages, you will need to call the police and obtain a police report.
Next, you should gather as much information about the scene of the accident as possible, including the other driver’s contact information and insurance information. Take pictures, make notes of any witnesses’ names and contact, and anything else that may count as evidence in your favor. Make sure to document as much as possible and exchange information.
What Happens When You File an Insurance Claim for an Accident?
Once you have gathered all the key pieces of information you need and initiated the process of filing a claim with your insurance – or with the at-fault driver’s insurance when applicable – you can expect to receive a few phone calls from insurance adjusters. When someone calls wanting to interview you and asking questions about the accident, it is important to keep in mind that because insurance companies are for-profit businesses, part of an insurance adjuster’s job is to investigate the scenario of each accident claim with the goal of finding reasons to reduce the amount of money paid out whenever possible. If you feel uncomfortable answering questions, a personal injury attorney can provide assistance and speak on your behalf.
The insurance adjuster will then bring back all the information gathered from your statements as well as from the scene of the accident and use it to make a recommendation to the insurance company regarding how much money may be issued to cover for all damages. Typically, you can expect to receive compensation for medical care, lost income, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life (such as social or educational experiences that you may have missed out on due to your injuries).
How Soon Should I Report an Accident to My Insurance?
The deadline to report your accident and initiate a claim with your insurance varies from company to company, so it is important to check your specific policy. Some carriers give you up to three years, while others may require you to file a claim in less than 30 days from the date of the accident.
The safest rule to go by is to file your accident claim as soon as possible. This is a smart move for several reasons. First, you will not risk missing the deadline for filing a claim. Second, even if your insurance allows you to wait for two or three years before filing, it may not be in your best interest to do so, because it is extremely important to have solid evidence to document the exact circumstances of the accident. If you decide to wait, it may be harder if not impossible to get access to key elements such as damaged or totaled vehicles, witnesses, and other aspects needed to strengthen your claim and maximize your settlement amount.
What Should I Do If My Insurance Claim is Denied?
Sadly, it is not uncommon for some claims to be unfairly denied, especially when you are dealing with an at-fault party’s insurance carrier instead of your own carrier. A common reason that insurance companies use to justify a denied claim is alleging that your injuries were due to a pre-existing or unrelated condition and did not result from the accident. This can happen when the victim of an accident fails to seek medical attention right after the accident because they don’t believe they have been hurt or feel no pain, only to realize days or even weeks later that they are now having symptoms that require treatment.
Another reason why an insurance carrier may try to deny your claim or reduce the amount of your payment is due to lack of sufficient evidence, such as not enough documentation from a physician or the lack of a police report. These can be used as reasons to limit the insurance company’s liability. This is why it is so important to gather as much evidence as you can at the scene of the accident and to be evaluated by a medical professional without delay – if the insurance carrier is trying to deny your claim in bad faith, you will have enough evidence to support your claim.
If your claim has been denied, your first step is to contact the insurance company and find out the reasons for the denial. You may also want to contact a personal injury attorney who can help you negotiate with the insurance carrier and work with them to secure the compensation you deserve for your accident. If you are having trouble getting your claim accepted or have questions about the insurance claim process, the attorneys at 801-Injured are ready to help. Contact us for a free case review.