Introduction to Car Accident Insurance Claims, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Have you been involved in a car accident? Then you will almost certainly be speaking with one or more insurance adjustors before too long. Insurance claims are the primary means whereby many car accident injury victims receive compensation for their injuries (depending on the applicable policy limit and the extent of the victim’s injuries, payment of the insurance claim may be the only compensation the injury victim receives). Although insurance company commercials paint a picture that the company and its employees are available to car accident victims in the aftermath of a crash and are there to help the victim, rarely is this the case. Many drivers and insured occupants find the insurance claim process to be quite confusing and aggravating. A car crash lawyer can help guide you through the insurance claims process even if you have no intention of ever filing a lawsuit.
Is Your State a Fault or No-Fault State for Insurance Claims?
One of the first questions that must be addressed in the insurance claims process is whether your insurance policy was issued in a “fault-based” or “no-fault” state. The answer to this question tells you and your attorney which insurance company should be presented with your claim for compensation. In a “fault-based” state (of which many of the states are), the insurance company of the at-fault driver pays the claim for the injured motorist and/or occupant. The insurance company for the injured motorist only pays compensation if additional money is needed to pay for the victim’s injuries after the at-fault motorist’s insurance has paid.
Conversely, in “no-fault” states, each individual motorist’s insurance pays the claims of its own insured and not the other parties involved in the crash, regardless of who was actually at fault in causing the crash. Therefore, injured motorists will file a claim with their own insurance company and not with the “at-fault” motorist’s insurer.
At-fault insurance claims systems are technically more fair in that innocent motorists who are injured in a crash (and their insurance carriers) are not made to bear the financial burden of their injuries. However, determining who is at fault can take a considerable amount of time, and this can delay the payment of the insured’s claim. No-fault systems do away with the determination of fault and instead help get compensation to the injured motorists as quick as possible.
Tips to Expedite the Insurance Claims Process
Many injured motorists do not know what to expect when they file a claim with an insurance carrier. The process begins when the motorist contacts the appropriate insurance carrier, requests a claims form, and completes and submits the form with any requested supporting documentation. From there:
- An insurance adjustor will contact the injured motorist and may request the opportunity to take photographs of the victim’s injuries and/or vehicle. The insurance adjustor’s job is to settle the claim as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. If the insurance adjustor finds the claim is valid and covered by the policy, he or she may offer a settlement to the injured victim. Victims who are offered a settlement should carefully consider the nature of their losses and determine whether the settlement truly and adequately compensates them for their losses and expenses.
- If the initial settlement offer is not accepted, or if the adjustor does not believe the claim is covered, he or she may ask the injured motorist to provide a written or recorded statement to better assist him or her in making this determination. Injured motorists do not need to provide a written statement or recorded statement in order to continue in the claims process. If such a statement is provided, the adjustor will use the statement along with other evidence he or she is able to obtain to determine who appears to have caused the crash and whether the motorist’s claim should be approved or denied. It may be advisable to consult with an attorney before providing such a statement.
- If the claim is determined to be valid, the adjustor is to continue attempting to negotiate a settlement to the claim in good faith.
Your insurance claim attorney can assist in the claims process by speaking with the adjustor on your behalf and evaluating proposed settlements with you. Your attorney may also respond to rejected settlement offers with counter-offers, thereby informing the adjustor of the compensation you need to settle your case and move forward.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC For Your Free Car Accident Claims Review
Stern Law, PLLC has helped numerous car crash victims successfully navigate the claims process, which can be fraught with anxiety and stress. Let our experienced team handle the insurance companies and the insurance adjustors for you. We will ensure your claim is timely filed and that the insurance companies do not take advantage of the stress and confusion accompanying the insurance claims process. Call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 so we can help you with the insurance claims process.