If you've been injured in an accident, you may have medical bills to pay. You may also have lost wages because you couldn't work. If another person caused the accident, that person's insurance company may write you a check to cover some or all of your damages. Often, the case will be settled out of court. Sometimes a trial is necessary. Knowing how to deal with the insurance company can be helpful in getting the best recovery for your case.
Cooperate With Your Insurance Company's Adjuster
If you've had a car accident, inform your insurance company before you talk to the other driver's company. Before you leave the scene, make sure you get contact information for any witnesses as well as the other driver, and take photos of property damage and injuries if possible. Your policy requires that you cooperate with your insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster investigates your claim, talks to witnesses, reviews police and hospital records, and inspects physical damage - using this information to determine how much the insurance company will pay.
Avoid Settling Too Quickly
If you've been in a car accident and both parties have insurance, the adjusters for each company will talk to each other about the case. However, if you've been injured in a non-automobile accident like a fall in a grocery store, the owner's insurance company may contact you directly. The adjuster may offer to settle the case quickly. However, it is almost always to your advantage to wait until you know what treatment you'll need in the future. In the meantime, carefully document all of your treatment, bills, and lost wages.
Don't Give Too Much Information
When dealing with the adjuster for the other person's insurance company, remember that the adjuster's job is to try to settle the claim in a way that saves the company money. Avoid discussing your injuries until you know whether you'll need more treatment in the future. If you're asked to make a recorded statement about the accident, you may want to consult a lawyer first. If you make a statement, make sure you understand the questions before answering them. Answer questions briefly and avoid adding details.
Don't Release Your Medical Records
The other party's insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a form authorizing your doctor to send medical records to the insurance company. While signing the form could save you a little time and postage, it could also give the insurance company access to all of your records, including those not related to the accident. It is safer to collect the records and send them to the insurance company yourself.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding personal injuries and insurance companies is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a personal injury lawyer.