Being in a car accident can be challenging. After the unfortunate event, you and your insurance company must agree on fair compensation for your injuries and property damage. As you may know, insurance companies make their money by offering protection in the case of a car accident. However, you can expect your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to attempt to save as much money as possible.
Insurance companies rarely work with your best interest in mind. Instead, their goal is to keep payouts to a minimum, so their profits can rise. They do this by offering a lower settlement than the total value of a personal injury claim, denying coverage, delaying the investigation, or even using intimidation tactics to get you to agree to their settlement.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Do not be fooled by an insurance adjuster’s helpful or kind nature; they are not on your side. If you wish to considerably improve your chances of maximizing your financial compensation, it is best to retail the legal services of a car accident attorney.
#1. Seek Legal Help to Find the True Value of Your Car Accident Claim
Too often, insurance companies offer compensation for costs related to only your physical injuries. Some of the leading expenses insurance companies offer to cover in the event of a car accident include medical bills, loss of income, and car repairs. They tend to avoid emotional damages, even though you are legally eligible to pursue those damages. Engaging the services of an auto accident lawyer can help you accurately determine the value of your personal injury case. Moreover, a lawyer will aggressively pursue all economic and non-economic damages you have a right to, negotiating and convincing the adjuster to place the value where it is needed.
Other reasons to seek legal assistance from a car accident injury attorney include:
- You may become overwhelmed by the entire process
- The insurance companies may pressure you to settle for less
- The insurance company is disputing your damages
- You need ongoing medical care, and cannot afford out-of-pocket costs
- Your state’s statute of limitation may run out before reaching a fair settlement
When dealing with an insurance company, avoid guessing the value of your car accident case or letting the adjusters take advantage of you. Instead, contact a car accident attorney to handle your case and fight for your rights.
#2. Gather Evidence and Documentation
The evidence and documentation you gather immediately after the car accident plays a massive role in substantiating your claim. Include as much evidence as you can, including:
- Photos and video of the accident scene
- Obtain witness statements
- Medical bills and records related to your car accident injuries
- Notes on how your injuries have affected your life, on pain, or daily limitations from your injuries
- A copy of the police report
- A record of the lost wages due to your injuries
- Receipts for all medical-related expenses
- A history of car damage and repair expenses
Regardless of how you file the car accident claim, it is best to keep copies of everything so you have a complete record.
#3. Communicate Clearly and Do Not Admit Fault
When calling the insurance company to inform them about your car accident, remain calm and decline to be recorded. You have no legal obligation to allow them to record the call. If they insist, refuse politely but firmly. Give them only necessary personal information, such as your name, address, policy number, or where you work. Avoid providing information that is not related to your injuries or claim.
Remember to always stick to the facts of your car accident, such as where it happened, when, who were the people involved, and the type of accident. When they ask you to describe your injuries, provide general terms. You may miss something, or your injuries may worsen. You will not want your words used against you. Avoid saying that you are ‘ok’ or ‘fine’. Equally important is never to use language that assumes blame, such as ‘sorry’ or ‘my fault.’ Never admit fault nor make accusations. Only provide the facts of your accidents and do not add any additional information. Other questions you are unprepared to answer should be referred to your car accident attorney.
Do not accept the first offer, regardless of how generous it may seem to you. The insurance adjuster’s job is to settle for the lowest possible payout, so decline any offer until you know for certain how much your claim is worth.
#4. Be Very Wary of What Documents You Are Asked to Sign
After a motor vehicle accident, your insurance company will likely ask you to make a statement or sign documents. Please be very cautious of any documents you are required to sign. In most cases, such documents could limit or even restrict your legal rights, preventing you from pursuing the maximum value of your car accident claim. Always have your attorney review these documents or offers before signing them.
What If the Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith?
Bad faith is a legal term referring to insurance companies’ action (or inaction) to avoid honoring an agreement with a policyholder or someone they must pay. Under Colorado law 10-3-1115, an insurer must not delay or deny payment for their benefits. The law also states a delay or denial is a violation if made on a limited basis.
Some examples of insurance bad faith actions include:
- Refusing to negotiate in good faith with you or your attorney
- Delaying handling your claim and not meeting legal deadlines
- Refusing to honor a legally binding contract
- Denying your insurance claim without a legitimate reason
- Refusing to make a fair settlement offer
- Paying too little based on your actual claim value
- Misrepresenting the policy language
- Presenting false evidence
- Refusing to answer messages, phone calls, or emails
- Sending confusing or incorrect documents
What matters most is if the insurance companies are attempting various strategies to avoid paying the appropriate amount in a reasonable time frame. If you believe the insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact an attorney and learn about your options.
How Can Mountain States Injury Law Help Deal with Insurance Companies?
When you have our car accident lawyers on your side, you can leverage the playing field when dealing with insurance companies. From communicating with insurance companies to reviewing settlement offers, negotiating a better settlement, and filing a lawsuit on your behalf, there are various ways we can help. Rather than having insurance companies tell you what to do, we dictate what happens next.
It is best to understand the stakes are always high in car accident claims. It is common for injury claims to be worth thousands of dollars or more. Do not let the responsible driver’s insurance company undervalue your claim. Take control by contacting us as soon as possible. We can hold the at-fault driver and the insurance company accountable, and demand the maximum compensation you deserve. Our legal team understands car accidents and insurance companies’ state and federal laws. We represent clients in Idaho, Colorado, and Montana. Contact Mountain States Injury Law today to learn more about your legal rights.