How would you respond if an accident happened and you knew that you were not at fault? That response could make all the difference in the world when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and possible legal consequences, so you need to be aware of the right steps to take to ensure that your rights are protected.
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The Insurance Claims Process
After a serious collision, injured people must face the insurance claims process
After an injury accident, an insurance claim needs to be filed to ensure that the injured person receives compensation for medical expenses, lost work and wages, damaged property, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. Here is valuable information about the insurance claim process.
When an accident happens, regardless of who is at fault, all parties should contact their insurance companies immediately. The insurance adjusters will acquire information about the cause of the accident and the extent of injuries and property damage.
The insurance companies will then open an investigation. Those involved in the accident will be interviewed and asked to provide any accident-scene photos, names of witnesses, and any other information that has been collected.
Anyone injured in the crash will likely be asked to undergo an independent medical examination by a physician of the insurer’s choice to document the cause and extent of any injuries.
The insurance adjuster will calculate the value of the claim, and will issue a settlement check. If the insurance claim is denied, or if the insured feels that the settlement amount is too low, the insured can appeal to the insurance company.
Calculating Insurance Claim Value
While it is relatively easy to determine the cost of medical expenses and lost income, it's much more challenging to place a realistic dollar amount on the pain and suffering a person deals with after being injured. Insurance companies have developed damages formulas to calculate how much to pay the injured for these types of non-monetary damages.
Denial of Claims and the Appeals Process
There are many reasons why a claim may be denied:
- The statute of limitations may have run;
- The injured person failed to submit to an independent medical examination;
- the type of accident may not be covered under the insurance plan.
If the claim is denied, the insured will receive notification from the insurance company. The insured then has the option to appeal the denial of claim. Appeals procedures vary from company to company, so it is important to review the policy in learn about the appropriate next steps.
When to have a personal injury lawyer step in to help
After having a claim denied or receiving a settlement offer that is too low, many people seek the help of a personal injury attorney who has experience in interpreting insurance policies and dealing with insurance adjusters to obtain the highest settlement possible. Many other people choose to find an experienced injury lawyer soon after an accident, so that the attorney can handle the insurance claim from the start and allow an injured person to focus on healing.
After being in a car accident, you may experience an unfortunate “15 minutes of fame” as all sorts of different people and parties want to talk to you. The other driver needs your information, paramedics will need to make certain you are okay, and the police might even show up to get a rundown on what led up to the collision. But there is one more group that will want to know about your car accident, and they are the one you might have to be the most careful about: insurance companies.
Regardless of what type of insurance you’re carrying, the company underwriting your policy wants you to believe that it has only your best interests at heart. The problem is that this is all too often not the case.
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