What To Know About Insurance Disputes After An Accident
If you were injured in a crash with another driver or someone else who was behaving negligently, you might assume that this other person would be the biggest obstacle in seeking compensation for your injuries. But in many cases, insurance companies prove to be the most difficult aspect of your injury claim.
I am Joe Mitchell, founder of The Mitchell Law Firm, P.A. I’ve been advocating for injury victims for more than 25 years, and I have seen all the tactics that insurers use to deny financial liability and prevent an injury victim from receiving the compensation they are entitled to. These tactics begin as soon as you contact your own insurer to report an accident, so it is important to know what to do/say and what to avoid.
Your Insurer Has Interests Contrary To Yours
As a policyholder, you would expect that your insurance company works for you – or at least has your best interests in mind. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. Insurance companies are driven by profit, and the best way to make profit is by rejecting as many claims as possible and settling the remaining claims for as little money as possible. Claims adjusters are looking for any reason to deny or limit your claim. Therefore, you need to be especially careful about what you do and say after an accident.
How To Avoid Jeopardizing Your Claim
After an accident, you are required to report the accident to your insurance company in a reasonable amount of time. But aside from letting them know about the accident, you should say as little as possible. Keep these tips in mind:
- Do not speculate about who was at fault in the accident (especially if you may have been partially at fault).
- Do not say that you haven’t been injured unless you have been checked and cleared by a medical professional. Even then, not all injuries are immediately apparent, and you don’t want to speak prematurely.
- Do not agree to give an official statement about the accident before speaking to an attorney.
- Do contact the police and have them create an official accident report.
- Do collect the contact and insurance information from the other driver.
The facts about an accident may change over time as more details emerge. But insurers will always try to use the version of events that most effectively limits their own liability. It is much easier to wait and give insurers accurate information than to try and change your statements later.
The Role And Responsibilities Of Insurance Companies
To be sure, insurers play a critical role after any injurious accident. They provide the vast majority of compensation paid out in a claim, settlement or jury award. But because so much money is on the line, they have a vested interest in avoiding or minimizing these payouts.
That being said, your insurance company is legally obligated to assess your claim in good faith – searching for a reason to honor the claim rather than just a reason to deny it. When you work with my firm, I fight to ensure that these obligations are upheld. I search for negotiated settlements first, but I won’t hesitate to take a matter to court if it means the best result for you.