If you suffered an injury or significant property damage in a car accident, the outcome of your insurance claim could have a huge impact on your financial future. You may be wondering how the insurance adjuster will investigate your claim and what you can do to increase the odds of approval. We’ll discuss both in this blog.
How Auto Insurance Companies Determine Fault After an Accident
When you file a claim with an insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. It’s the adjuster’s job to determine whether your claim should be approved or denied and how much to pay in a settlement.
The more significant your damages, the more comprehensive the investigation will likely be. That said, even if your injuries were relatively minor, you can still expect the adjuster to look for signs of fraud and reasons to reduce the value of your claim or deny it outright. The less money the insurance company has to pay out, the higher their profits.
The approach the adjuster takes when performing the investigation will depend on the insurance carrier’s policies, the severity and nature of your accident, and whether you suffered injuries, property damage, or both; however, there are a few steps that are common in most investigations. They include:
- Getting a Statement from You: Any statements you provide to the insurer can affect the outcome of your claim. This is why it’s so important to let a car accident lawyer handle this correspondence on your behalf. Do NOT call the other party’s insurance company. They will try to get a recorded statement from you and that is NOT in your best interests. Again, the best way to protect your rights is to let a seasoned attorney handle all dialogue with the insurance company.
- Getting a Statement from the Other Drivers Involved: The insurer will want to make sure that your version of events matches that of the other drivers involved in the accident. The adjuster will get statements from those drivers and compare them to your version provided by your attorney to find out if there’s any disagreement regarding liability or the events that led to the collision.
- Getting Statements from Eyewitnesses: Witness statements may offer another source of insight into how the crash occurred. If you or another driver reports a witness to the insurer, the claims adjuster will likely contact that person for questioning.
- Reviewing the Police Report: This report will provide details about when and where the accident occurred, whether there was property damage or injuries, and perhaps will include eyewitness statements and the officer’s determination of fault. If there were any chemical tests performed at the scene, the report should contain information about their results. It should also provide details about any citations issued to the drivers involved.
- Evaluating Photos of the Scene: Photographs can tell a great deal about the events leading up to a collision. They may also help the claims adjuster determine the extent of property damage and the severity of injuries.
- Searching for Other Evidence: Depending on the circumstances of your crash, there may be other types of evidence the insurance adjuster will want to review. For instance, if you were hit by a commercial truck, the adjuster might assess the driver’s logs and black box data for evidence of negligence. If the accident occurred in front of a business establishment, the adjuster might look for surveillance footage. As we’ll discuss later in this blog, the social media accounts of the drivers involved in the wreck can also serve as a valuable source of evidence to claims adjusters.
If there’s confusion or a disagreement regarding the cause of the collision, the insurance company may bring in an accident reconstruction expert to review the evidence and assist in the determination of liability. Some investigations conclude within a matter of days, but others can take several weeks. The duration of the investigation will depend on several factors including:
- The strength of the available evidence of liability;
- Whether all parties involved agree on the cause of the crash;
- The potential amount of compensation the insurance company may have to pay out;
- Whether any evidence is being withheld; and
- Whether all available evidence seems to assign blame to the same party.
How Can I Increase My Insurance Claim’s Chance of Approval?
When filing a car insurance claim, it’s important that you are cautious and avoid saying or doing anything that might compromise your case. Below are a few strategies that may increase your claim’s chance of approval:
- Call an Attorney Right Away: It’s best to consult a car accident lawyer before you even report the crash to the insurance company. Your attorney can handle the logistics of your claim and help you avoid critical mistakes.
- Stay off Social Media: Claims adjusters often review the social media profiles of the drivers involved in an accident. Their goal is to find evidence that can be used to determine liability and perhaps to deny a claim or reduce its value. You should stay off social media while your case is ongoing.
- Follow the Instructions of Your Healthcare Providers: Don’t give the insurance company a reason to argue that your own negligence has aggravated your injuries. Follow your doctor’s instructions, attend all medical appointments, fill your prescriptions, and avoid strenuous activities if your doctor advises you to do so.
- Don’t Sign Anything from the Insurance Company: You might feel desperate for financial relief, but accepting a low settlement early in the proceedings could be a costly mistake. Don’t sign anything from the insurance company without your attorney’s approval.
- Keep Track of Your Damages: Keep any receipts and invoices for medical care and other costs related to your accident and injuries. These expenses might include child care, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, and domestic help.
Call (562) 206-1939 for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Insurance adjusters can be ruthless when it comes to searching for reasons to deny or reduce the value of car accident claims. Attorney Michael Waks can make sure you are treated fairly during every stage of the proceedings, and he can aggressively represent you during settlement negotiations and any litigation that may follow.
With more than 30 years in legal practice, Michael Waks has the knowledge, legal strategies, and resources to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call (562) 206-1939 to schedule a free consultation, or use our Contact Form to send us a message online.
Download Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF
When you’re involved in a car accident, it’s not easy to stay calm and think clearly. The shock of such an unexpected and traumatic event can affect your statements and actions at the scene. We developed our Car Accident Emergency .PDF to help drivers gather the most important information that will be needed to file an insurance claim. Click Here to download it for free, and be sure to store it in your glove compartment.
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