Almost everyone knows that one of the first steps they should take after a car accident is to report the accident to their insurance company and file a claim. However, you may not have as thorough of an understanding about how the claims process actually works. During the process, you do not want to be surprised or confused or experience delays in your compensation, so it is important to understand what is happening each step of the way. The following is a brief explanation of the insurance claims process following a car accident:
Report the accident
Following a car accident, it is important to notify your insurance company that you would like to file a claim for compensation under your policy. A claims adjuster will be assigned to your case who will examine your policy and will review the information you provided regarding the accident. In relatively simple cases—you suffered only minor injuries or fault is not questioned—the adjuster will likely be able to estimate your losses quickly and make you an offer. If your case is more complicated—your injuries were serious, your policy is not enough to cover your losses, or you disagree with the offer—the claims process will likely take additional time and have additional steps.
Investigating the accident claim
If the adjuster has questions about the extent of your injuries and losses or about the events of the accident, they will likely conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding your accident. They can contact any witnesses who saw the accident, review police reports from officers who reported to the scene, take photographs of the scene, and may even make use of accident reconstruction experts to determine what happened. In addition, the adjuster may look into your claims regarding your injuries. They may request to review your medical records to determine whether your injuries actually occurred due to the accident and whether your treatment expenses were as extensive as you claimed. During this process, the adjuster is generally trying to avoid liability for the insurance company whenever possible.
Initial settlement offer
Once the adjuster believes they understand what happened and the nature of your injuries, they will make an offer for compensation for your qualified losses. In some cases, this settlement is sufficient to cover your losses, you accept it, and you receive a check. Many cases are not that easy, however, as initial settlement offers tend to be inadequate. You should never hesitate to have a car accident attorney review your settlement offer for advice on whether to accept a certain amount.
If your settlement offer was too low or if your claim was denied, you will have to enter into negotiations with the insurance company for a more favorable amount. You can present evidence of your injuries and other proof of your claims to convince them that your case is worth more than they believe. The assistance of a skilled injury attorney is extremely beneficial during these negotiations to ensure you obtain the payout you deserve.
The car accident claims process is often not easy or simple, so you should never hesitate to call 313-438-4357 today to discuss your claim with the Michigan Injury Lawyers.