If you have been in a auto accident, the likelihood is your auto insurance company will do anything and everything to prevent payout on your claim, or restrict the amount you receive. While many view insurance agencies as a trusted source of assistance, the goal of the insurance agency is to watch its own bottom line.
Here are 9 questions to ask yourself when making an auto accident claim with your insurance provider:
1. How do I get fairly compensated for damages incurred in the accident? Just like any other business, insurance companies are created to make profits. As a result, they are geared to pay out as little as possible in order to boost their own profits. If you are concerned you are not receiving fair compensation, it is always wise to speak to legal counsel before settling with the insurance carrier.
2. Do I have to use one of the insurance company’s approved mechanics? No. We recommend using a mechanic you trust, hopefully one you use on a regular basis. Once again, the insurance company is looking at its own bottom line. To help reduce costs, their approved mechanics may not spend the time and resources necessary to accurately diagnose the vehicle’s damage, or they may do a bare bones repair job. Once you have settled your claim, any remaining damage to your car is your problem.
3. Auto insurance only covers damage and medical bills, right? Always check your policy, but auto insurance policies often offer additional compensation for things like daily expenses, car rental fees, or compensation for pain and suffering.
4. If I don’t accept their offer, will I walk away with anything? If you are entitled to compensation, you can decline the insurance company’s offer. However, at this point, you need to be prepared to advocate for a better offer, which will take time. Again, if you are not receiving fair compensation, and the insurance provider is not negotiating, it is always wise to speak to legal counsel before settling.
5. What if they tell me my injuries are pre-existing, and they do not have to pay for my medical costs related to the accident? This is a common issue we hear among clients. The insurance company is obligated to pay for injuries or aggravated injuries incurred in the accident. So, if you have an injury that happened prior to this accident, you are still entitled to compensation for anything that makes the injury worse.
6. Do I have to use the insurance company’s approved doctors? No. We strongly suggest you use a doctor you trust, preferably one you have built a relationship with over the years, to ensure you receive the best medical care for your injuries.
7. What do I do if they refuse any documentation besides the police report from my accident? While the police statement is one document to be used during an insurance investigation, it isn’t the end of the story in many cases. Accident reports are taken immediately after the accident occurs, when the extent of the injuries may not yet be known. Many accident victims don’t feel the pain of their injuries until hours, or even a day or two, after the accident. And the full extent of injuries may not be diagnosed by a doctor until several days – sometimes weeks or months – after the accident occurred.
8. How do I know my injuries are severe enough to make a claim? If you have medical bills, or are suffering from pain or experiencing any negative effects to your quality of life, you should be compensated.
9. I was told my claim was closed and I have no recourse, even though my accident-related injuries weren’t discovered until now. What do I do? Protzman Law Firm’s Personal Injury Division has seen many cases in which a seemingly low-level injury is later diagnosed as a severe damage. This damage which may cause long-term pain, suffering, or even the inability to perform your job adequately. If that is the case, the insurance company may be responsible for coverage. We recommend hiring a lawyer who understands the process to help you effectively navigate the process.
Above all, remember the insurance company is looking out for its own interests. Fortunately, you do not need to take on the insurance company on your own. A respectable personal injury attorney works on behalf of you – the client – to protect your rights.