If you have had an auto collision, no matter whose fault, there are some important tips on how to deal with insurance companies.
1. One of the most important steps, even before calling insurers, is call the police and ask them to make a report. You may use 911 to call the police immediately after a crash. Police reports often are key to supporting an injury claim. The police are supposed to respond and make a report whenever there is injury, or when property damages are over $1,000.00. Just exchanging driver and insurance details without calling the police is often a mistake.
2. Recognize that there are two insurers involved – yours and the other driver’s. How you deal with them is different.
Your Own Insurer
If you are injured, your own insurer will pay the medical bills, up to $20,000.00, no matter who is at fault. If you have full coverage, you may want your own insurer to repair or replace your car no matter who is at fault. Your insurance policy requires you cooperate with your own insurer – including returning phone calls, giving crash details, signing medical authorizations, and giving wage loss details. Good cooperation with your own insurer should help get your claims processed better.
The Other Driver’s Insurance
Be more wary about cooperating with the other driver’s insurer, especially if it was their driver’s fault. You should not (at least not without a lawyer’s approval) consent to an interview about what happened or provide a recorded statement. Insurers will often make it seem they are just gathering information, or they want to help advance your claim. But in fact, they often are hoping you will say things that hurt your case.
3. Do not accept a check or sign a release of any kind without talking to an attorney. You can receive money for your car damage and still preserve your injury claim, but know what you are signing. One insurer in particular tries often to offer $500.00 or $700.00 early on, not explaining that means you give up all injury claims.
4. Keep a record of who you talk to. Whenever an insurer contacts you, ask for and write down the claim number and the adjuster’s full name and phone number. That can make things go quicker once your lawyer gets involved.
There is no good reason not to talk to an experienced lawyer after any type of auto collision. At Klampe Law Firm, there is no charge for our time until and unless you retain us, and then there is no fee owed until we recover money for you. We do not charge any fee on the money you get for your car or repairs, or for getting your own insurer to cover your medical bills – unless that claim is denied and we have to fight for those benefits.
We try to be available immediately for calls involving personal injuries. This is part of our commitment to our clients; we know how to do this well, and we take each call seriously. If you were injured in an automobile crash, we welcome the chance to speak to you.