The car insurance claims process can seem overwhelming. Just buying car insurance can be a headache. But, when you have been in an car accident, trying to sort out all of the different policies and procedures can be more stressful than the actual accident.
Personal injury lawyers know how to deal with insurance companies and how to help people like you get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Types of Coverage
There are many different types of insurance policies and coverage issues. Often in car insurance claims the kind of insurance you have make a big difference in the way the claim is handled.
If you are in an accident and you are at fault, liability insurance will cover the cost of the repairs and injuries to the other party, but not for you.
Comprehensive insurance is not always comprehensive. Usually, it covers the cost of any damage you do and will pay you for damages done to your car, even if you are at fault for the accident.
Every state is different and it may not always include coverage for your injuries.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers you, and in most states your passengers, for any injuries they receive in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
This coverage is usually limited to a certain time period after the accident and only covers a certain dollar amount of medical costs. Many PIP policies also will reimburse you for missing work.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
While drivers may be required to have insurance, not all of them do. Some drivers carry insurance, but not enough to cover all the damage they cause.
When you have a policy that includes coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists you can get compensated for your property damage, injuries, and pain and suffering, even if the other driver has no insurance.
How Adjustors Work
Adjustors work for insurance companies. It is their job to evaluate a claim and negotiate a payment amount. Adjustors do not represent you, and they do not have your interests at heart.
As soon as the insurance company is notified about an accident it opens a claim and assigns an adjustor.
The adjustor must also evaluate the extent of the injures and the property damage. Using data from past crashes and a complex computer algorithm, adjustors value the case. The insurance company then sets aside that amount to cover the payout.
The adjustor never tells you or your lawyer what that amount is. The rest of the process is the adjustor trying to settle the case for less than the amount that was set aside.
Adjustors are rewarded for settling claims quickly and for not going over the amount set aside. Adjustors are regulated by state insurance commissions and have ethical guidelines.
Most adjustors handle hundreds of accidents a year. They understand personal injury laws and the dynamics of car crashes and personal finances. When you deal with an adjustor by yourself the adjustor has the advantage.
The Claims Process
The claims process starts with you informing your insurance company of a car accident. Usually an adjustor from your insurance company and the other insurance company will want to talk to you about the accident.
If an adjustor calls you, you should be cautious. It is usually best to avoid speaking to an adjustor until you have consulted with a personal injury lawyer. This can keep you from doing anything that may hurt your chances of getting the full compensation you deserve.
Once you hire a lawyer, the lawyer will negotiate with the insurance adjustor. The lawyer will usually prepare a demand letter, complete with medical records and facts about the accident.
During this process your insurance company will usually pay for your car to be repaired or pay you the value of your car if it was totaled. This is separate from the negotiation with the adjustor from the other insurance company. Your insurance company will usually get reimbursed from the other insurance company through a special system the insurance companies have.
Instead the point of filing a lawsuit is to keep your case from expiring due to what is called the statute of limitations. It also gives lawyers more tools to get more information. If a settlement is reached you are paid and the lawsuit is dismissed.
If your lawyer and the insurance company do not reach a deal, the case will go to court for a trial. It often takes a year or more for a case to get to trial.
The trial itself could take anywhere for a day to a week or longer, depending on the case.
Don’t face the insurance adjustors alone. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident we can help you find an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with a proven track record.
Your claim is too important to take chances with.