Fighting the Insurance Company After a Car Accident

June 1, 2024 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Fighting the Insurance Company After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is a stressful and overwhelming experience, and the challenges don't end when the dust settles. Fighting the insurance companies after a car accident is often complicated, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. You don’t need the extra stress and burden of dealing with the insurance company, especially when you're trying to recover from injuries and get your life back on track.

Insurance companies are businesses, and they try to minimize payouts and maximize profits whenever possible. This means that they may not always have your best interests in mind. To ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve, it's crucial to be prepared and know your rights when fighting the insurance company after a car accident.

One of the most important things you can do is contact an experienced car accident attorney near you for a free consultation. They can review your claim, advise you of your options, and deal with the insurance company for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Having a lawyer represent you greatly increases the likelihood the insurance company will take your claim seriously and provide you with the full and fair compensation you deserve.

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Why You Need an Attorney for Help

Working with an attorney to deal with the insurance company after a car accident offers many benefits, including:

Protecting Your Rights and Interests

Consulting a car accident lawyer

An experienced car accident attorney will protect your rights and advocate for your best interests when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you. Their goal is often to settle claims as cheaply as possible. Your attorney will make sure you are treated fairly and fight to get you full and fair compensation.

Determining Liability

Establishing who was at fault in a car accident is not always straightforward. An attorney can thoroughly investigate your accident, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and if needed, bring in accident reconstruction experts to help prove liability. Insurance companies may try to unfairly pin blame on you to reduce their payout - your lawyer will push back against this.

Assessing Full Damages

Insurance companies often make lowball initial settlement offers that do not account for the full extent of your damages. An attorney will make a comprehensive assessment of your damages, including current and future medical expenses, lost income, reduced earning capacity, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses. They'll use this to negotiate for a settlement that adequately compensates you.

Handling Complex Negotiations

Negotiating with insurance companies can be challenging, especially if liability is disputed or there are complex issues involved like pre-existing conditions. An experienced attorney is skilled at these negotiations and will handle all the back-and-forth with the insurer on your behalf. If the insurer refuses to make a fair offer, your attorney can file a lawsuit and take them to court.

Managing Paperwork and Deadlines

There is a lot of paperwork, documentation, and strict deadlines involved in car accident claims. Making a mistake or missing a deadline can hurt your case. Your attorney will make sure everything is properly completed and submitted on time so that important details and compensation aren't lost due to clerical errors or missed cutoffs.

Your attorney can provide valuable legal advice after reviewing the unique details of your case. They can discuss your options, estimate the value of your claim, and advise you on the best path forward, whether that's accepting a settlement or taking the case to trial. Having an expert on your side helps you make well-informed decisions.

Insurance companies have the resources to vigorously defend their interests. Having a skilled car accident lawyer levels the playing field and improves your chances of getting maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. In fact, the Insurance Research Council conducted a study that found that people who use attorneys to handle their personal injury claims have an 85% higher chance of getting a favorable settlement than those who don’t. Additionally, lawyers are able to get settlements that are, on average, 3.5 times higher than settlements injured parties obtain without using an attorney.

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront costs and they only get paid if they win money for you.

Documenting the Accident

One of the most critical steps in building a strong case after a car accident is gathering evidence at the scene. This includes:

  • Taking photos of the damage and the scene: Photographs serve as visual evidence of the extent of the damage to your vehicle and any other property involved in the accident. Be sure to take pictures from multiple angles and include close-ups of specific areas of damage. Additionally, capture images of the surrounding scene, including skid marks, traffic signs, and road conditions.
  • Obtaining witness statements and contact information: If there were witnesses to the accident, their statements could be invaluable in supporting your claim. Ask for their contact information, including names, phone numbers, and email addresses. If possible, request that they provide a brief written statement describing what they saw.
  • Filing a police report: Calling the police to the scene of the accident is essential, as they will create an official report. This report will contain important details about the incident, such as the date, time, location, and parties involved. Be sure to obtain a copy of this report for your records.

Keeping Accurate Records

In addition to evidence gathered at the scene, it's crucial to maintain accurate records throughout the claims process. This includes:

  • Medical bills and treatment history: Keep track of all medical expenses related to the accident, including hospital bills, doctor visits, prescription medication, and any ongoing treatment or therapy. Request copies of your medical records and bills from your healthcare providers.
  • Repair estimates and invoices: Obtain estimates for the cost of repairing your vehicle from reputable auto body shops. If you decide to have your vehicle repaired, keep all invoices and receipts related to the work performed.
  • Lost wages and other expenses: If your injuries prevent you from working, document any lost wages by obtaining a letter from your employer stating your hourly rate or salary and the number of days you missed. Also, keep track of any other accident-related expenses, such as transportation costs to and from medical appointments.

Understanding Your Insurance Policy

Before engaging with the insurance company, it's essential to understand the specifics of your auto insurance policy. The most common types of coverage include:

  • Liability coverage: This covers damages and injuries you cause to others in an accident where you are at fault.
  • Collision coverage: This covers damage to your own vehicle in the event of a collision, regardless of fault.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage: This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of fault.

Knowing Your Deductibles and Limits

Your policy will have deductibles, which are the amounts you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. It's important to know these amounts, as well as the limits of your coverage, which cap the amount your insurance company will pay for damages and injuries.

Understanding the Claims Process

Familiarize yourself with your insurance company's claims process. This typically involves reporting the accident, providing necessary documentation, and working with a claims adjuster who will investigate the incident and determine the amount of compensation you're entitled to receive.

Communicating with the Insurance Company

Negotiating A Settlement
  • Reporting the accident promptly: Most insurance policies require that you report an accident within a specific timeframe, usually within 24 hours or a few days at most. Failing to do so could jeopardize your coverage.
  • Being cautious when providing statements: When speaking with insurance representatives, be cautious about the information you provide. Stick to the facts and avoid admitting fault or speculating about the cause of the accident. Remember that anything you say can be used to undermine your claim.
  • Keeping a log of all communications: Maintain a detailed record of all communications with the insurance company, including the date, time, and content of each interaction. This will help you keep track of the progress of your claim and ensure that you have evidence of any commitments made by the insurance company.
  • Knowing when to hire an attorney: If you're having difficulty communicating with the insurance company or feel that they are violating your rights, it may be time to consult with an experienced car accident attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Negotiating a Settlement

Before entering into settlement negotiations, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of the value of your claim. This involves:

  • Calculating damages: Damages include property damage to your vehicle, medical expenses related to your injuries, lost wages due to missed work, and pain and suffering. Work with your attorney to determine a fair and reasonable amount that encompasses all of these factors.
  • Making a demand: Once you have a clear idea of the value of your claim, your attorney will submit a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter outlines your case, the damages you've incurred, and the amount of compensation you're seeking.
  • Countering the insurance company's offer: The insurance company will likely respond to your demand letter with a counteroffer. This is where the negotiation process begins. Your attorney will review the offer and advise you on whether it's fair and reasonable. If not, they will submit a counteroffer on your behalf.
  • Knowing when to accept a settlement: Deciding when to accept a settlement offer can be challenging. Your attorney will provide guidance based on the strength of your case, the extent of your damages, and the likelihood of success if you were to take the case to trial. Ultimately, the decision to accept a settlement is yours, but it's important to consider your attorney's advice carefully.

In some cases, negotiations with the insurance company may fail, or the insurance company may act in bad faith by denying your claim without a valid reason or delaying payment unnecessarily. In these situations, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit.

  • When negotiations fail: If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation you deserve.
  • When the insurance company acts in bad faith: If the insurance company engages in unethical or unlawful practices, such as denying your claim without a valid reason or failing to investigate your claim properly, you may have grounds for a bad faith insurance claim.

Preparing for Trial

If your case proceeds to trial, your attorney will work with you to build the strongest possible case.

This involves:

  • Gathering additional evidence: Your attorney may need to obtain additional evidence to support your claim, such as expert witness testimony or more detailed medical records.
  • Working with expert witnesses: Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals, can provide valuable testimony to support your case.

Understanding the Risks and Benefits of Litigation

Taking a case to trial can be a lengthy and costly process, and there's always a risk that you may not prevail. However, it can also result in a higher settlement or award than what the insurance company initially offered. Your attorney will help you weigh the potential risks and benefits of litigation and help you decide how to proceed.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today

Fighting the insurance company after a car accident can be a complex and challenging process. It's essential to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the fair compensation you deserve. By gathering evidence, understanding your insurance policy, communicating effectively with the insurance company, and knowing when to seek legal assistance, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome.

If you struggle to navigate the insurance claims process or feel that your rights are being violated, don't hesitate to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The Francis Law Firm has a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to fighting for the rights of car accident victims. We understand your challenges and will work diligently to help you obtain the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can deal with the insurance company for you and help you maximize your financial recovery.