Most motor vehicle drivers file insurance claims once every eight to 10 years, according to the Insurance Information Institute. So most of us drivers don’t have any idea how to navigate through an insurance claim after a car crash. The process can be annoying, intimidating, time-consuming and frustrating.
Document everything relating to the crash if possible, taking photos of the crash site, obtaining insurance information from the other driver and getting witnesses’ names and contact information. As soon as possible, write down what happened, the time of day, the road conditions, the weather and anything else that you think may be relevant. Clearly document your treatment. The insurance company will be looking at this information to determine how much they are willing to “pay” for you to obtain medical care relating to your injury.
Create a file and make sure that you include everything related to your claim. Obtain the e-mails and contact numbers of the various agents involved in your claim. In many cases, there is one agent who handles the medical part of your claim and another who handles the damages part of your claim. Sometimes, there’s another agent who just calls to find out how you are. You don’t need to reveal any information about how you’re doing if you are not comfortable with this.
Insurance companies aren’t necessarily there to support you through a medical recovery. They have a conflict in that they must also limit the amount they pay on claims in order to stay in business. They use general bell curves to judge how far along you should be at a certain point in your injury recovery. If you don’t fall within their standards of typical treatment, they will likely seek to have an independent medical examiner diagnose you. But in most cases, their medical examiner will simply say that you don’t warrant any more medical treatment. It can be difficult to get the insurance company to see you as a person who has been injured and needs ongoing medical or rehab treatment.
In regard to getting your car repaired, you do not have to go to your insurer’s “preferred shop” to get the damage repaired. However, many insurance claims specialists will make it seem like this is what you must do.
Generally, insurers have contracts with certain preferred vendors. These contracts include budget limits for various types of repairs. According to Mark’s Body Shop, in the vast majority of cases, the initial insurance estimate given for damage repair is not adequate. In the case of Mark’s Body Shop, which is not an insurance company preferred vendor because they believe that being one is a conflict of interest, insurers will pay more when it is made clear that the repairs are “necessary to properly and safely repair your vehicle.”
If you are uncertain of your rights or feel like you are being pressured to resolve your claim, you might wish to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can explain your rights and your insurer’s obligations.
Dealing With Insurance After an Accident? Contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr.
There is no charge for your first consultation. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We take Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as debit cards.