How do I deal with the insurance company after an accident?

How do I deal with the insurance company after an accident?

After an accident, an injured person is forced to deal with many things, including pain from injuries, medical appointments and bills, lost work and wages, damaged vehicles - and insurance companies. Regardless of whether the accident was serious or minor, it is inevitable that an insurance adjuster will be involved after an accident.

Here are some suggestions on how to deal with an insurance adjuster:

Contact your own insurance immediately - Your policy likely requires you to cooperate with your own insurance adjuster, whose job it is to investigate your claim, communicate with witnesses and others involved in the crash, review records, and inspect property damage. Provide your adjuster with any photos or information you got at the crash scene.

Review your insurance policy before speaking with an insurance company representative - Make sure you understand your policy including any exclusions and limitations. Get clarification from the adjuster on any aspect you don’t fully understand.

Keep a written log of anything related to your claim - Write down the date, time, name, and topic of all phone calls and written communications with insurance adjusters. This will help provide evidence of what was said and done throughout the insurance claim process.

When dealing with the adjuster for the insurance company of the other party 

Do not exaggerate anything about the claim, your injuries, or your vehicle damage;

Do not accept the insurance company’s expert evaluations of damages without getting an independent estimate;

Don’t authorize the release your medical records to the insurance company - it is safer to collect the and send the records yourself.

Do not give a recorded statement without first speaking with a personal injury attorney.

Do not accept and cash a settlement check or sign a release form without talking with an attorney - Once the check is cashed and the release signed, you will not be able to go back later and re-open the claim.

For some minor accidents that do not involve significant injury, it is possible to handle the insurance claim process alone. For any major injury or fatality accident, it is crucial to find a good personal injury attorney to lead you through the entire process. Since injury attorneys don’t cost anything up front, and only get paid at the end of the claim out of the settlement or verdict funds, there is no reason to avoid getting the legal assistance needed to ensure a fair and full result.

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Everett-Bellingham WA

This massive semi and car accident demonstrates that size does matter in crash safety

Though engineering and materials are increasingly sophisticated in manufacturing safer cars, certain factors will always favor larger vehicles. For information on the top five safest vehicles in crashes, and what you should do if you are injured in a car accident, click here for this article from Bill Coats Law, a personal injury law firm in Bellingham WA who helps victims of drunk and distracted drivers. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

Here's one rule you need to be aware of before you settle your claim

There are lots of elements of a car accident claim that come into play when you try to file one. Some of them are obvious, and others are just big surprises. Attorney Bill Coats in Bellingham, Washington created this video to talk about one rule that could completely negate your claim if you exercise your right to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. Be clear on your rights and responsibilities before you sign anything, and watch this video to learn more.

Everett-Bellingham WA

One easily overlooked way an accident victim's life is changed

Imagine you're the victim of a car accident. You're on the phone with the adjuster from the at-fault driver's insurance company. Are you going to be able to think of all the ways this accident has and will continue to affect your life? Click here for a video on an easy-to-overlook aspect of how an injured person's life can be affected from a car accident.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Does it really make sense to hire a personal injury attorney?

Would knowing that settlements are typically 40% hiring with an attorney's representation help? This is what a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council found. If you understand the process of how insurance companies handle auto accident claims, the main reason won't surprise you. Click here to learn why it may be a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney for your accident claim.

Everett-Bellingham WA

When an uninsured motorist hits you, it can be hard to know what to do next. Here's one victim's story.

A common type of injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident is damage to the spine or pelvis. When someone is blindsided because a negligent driver "came out of nowhere" and hit them, there can be life-changing consequences. In this accident victim's story that happened in Bellingham, WA, the at-fault driver caused damage so severe that the victim was not able to return to his job after the accident - ever again. It was critical that he find money to pay for lost wages and damages he received because of the accident. Insult to injury, the motorist who hit him was uninsured.