Tips on Dealing with Insurance Companies
In many cases, people injured in accidents haven’t had prior experience in dealing with insurance companies and processing their claims. Insurance companies are what the industry calls “paper tigers.” That is to say, no matter how much proof you provide in the form of medical records, bills, wage loss, etc., it is never enough and they always ask for more or have some excuse why they cannot offer you the fair value of the case. To add to the stress of being injured in an accident, it is time consuming and emotionally draining to worry about getting a fair settlement. In many cases, the adjusters are inhuman and don’t treat you with the respect you deserve, no matter how bad your injuries or losses. The advantage to having the attorneys of Boughter Sinak, LLC represent you is that we will fight hard to make sure the insurance companies treat you with respect and handle your claim fairly. We take the worry out of the unknown and allow you to focus on your physical well-being and recovery.
A few general tips before we get started: be the one to report your accident to your insurance company and make sure you get a copy of your insurance policy declaration page that lays out your coverage. Additionally, get a copy of your police report and review it for accuracy. Before leaving the scene of an accident, be sure to take photos of all vehicles at the scene and the damage done. Above all, be honest and cooperative.
With that said, let’s get started.
Avoid giving a recorded statement.
Insurance companies largely insist that recorded statements are routine and for a reason—those recorded statements are often used later on to minimize recovery. It’s possible that the recording won’t be used in this way, but these recorded statements rarely, if ever, help your case. They really just help the insurance company. It’s also extremely unadvisable to give your statement to the insurance company (especially someone else’s insurance company) without speaking to an attorney first or having an attorney present.
Have your doctor bill your insurance company after an accident.
If you were hurt in an accident and received medical attention (a singular instance or ongoing treatment), insist upon your doctor sending the bill to your insurance company. Doctors and chiropractors sometimes do not want to bill your coverage and would rather wait until you settle and get paid from your settlement to have you foot the bill. This is due to the fact that many doctors and clinics have signed contracts with certain insurance companies to accept lower fees for their services and waiting until the case settles puts more money in their pockets.
Don’t settle if the settlement isn’t right.
You have at least two years in some states (one year in some) to settle. People sometimes assume they’ll recover from their injuries quickly or think they’re not injured enough to seek compensation and so they agree to settle on a smaller compensation. However, if that injury gets worse or becomes chronic, there’s nothing that can be done after the settlement is accepted.
Avoid communication with the other driver’s insurance company.
Getting involved with the other driver's insurance company can be a bigger hassle than you might anticipate. The insurance company does not have your best interest and can confuse you or pressure you into an early settlement. Avoid any and all communication with the other driver's insurance company and let all the communication go through your attorney. Do not give a recorded statement (you’re under no obligation to do so) and instead let your attorney deliver the statement. Any communication regarding medical treatment for any injuries should also be done through an attorney who has your best interest and is aggressively fighting for your maximum compensation.
What to do if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance or is underinsured:
Generally, unless there is some other cause for your car accident, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, then you have to look to your own insurance policy to recover the damages you are entitled to under Indiana law. When you obtain auto insurance, it is important that you elect uninsured and underinsured coverage under your own insurance policy to protect you in instances where the at-fault driver does not have any insurance or does not carry sufficient insurance coverage if your damages exceed what is available under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. In addition, there may be medical payments coverage under your policy that may provide payment for some, but typically not all of your medical bills depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries. If you have been hurt by an uninsured or underinsured driver, contact us today for a free evaluation.