Fighting the Insurance Company After a Car Accident

Fighting the Insurance Company After a Car Accident

After a car accident, dealing with the insurance company can seem just as stressful and anxiety-inducing as the accident itself.

Yes, there is a lot to worry about when trying to navigate the post-accident insurance claims process. The complexities of the process may feel too overwhelming to the point of exhaustion and hopelessness. However, do not give up just yet, as the fight has only begun.

You need to know certain things about insurance companies, including the tactics they use, before you have your first conversation with the insurance claims adjuster assigned to your case.

In this guide, we will explain the dos and don’ts of dealing with insurance companies and give you practical tips on fighting the insurer after a car accident to ensure a fair and efficient resolution of your claim. Contact an experienced car accident attorney in San Mateo to legally challenge the insurance company.

What You Need to Know About Insurance Companies

Fighting the Insurance Company After a Car Accident

In the hours or days after a car accident, you may get a call from the insurance company’s representative requesting information about the accident.

Before you answer any questions or provide any information to the insurer, you need to know who you are dealing with and what the insurance company is really trying to get from you.

How Insurance Companies Work

Insurance companies make money by collecting premiums from their policyholders and investing that money to make a profit. When an accident occurs, the insurance company is responsible for paying for the damages and injuries up to the policy's limit.

When dealing with the insurance company, you must always remember that insurance companies are profit-driven businesses, which means that (a) they are not trying to help you, and (b) they may attempt to deny or minimize your claim to protect their bottom line.

The Role of Insurance Adjusters in the Claims Process

Insurance adjusters are representatives of the insurance company who investigate claims and determine how much the company should pay to the claimant. 

Adjusters assess the extent of the damage from the accident, determine the parties' liability, and negotiate settlements with the claimant. In some cases, adjusters may delay the claim process or offer lowball settlements to save the company money.

The Insurance Company Is Not Your Friend

Insurance companies are businesses, and their main goal is to make a profit. This means they may not always have your best interests at heart because the less they pay you, the better for them.

Insurance adjusters may seem friendly and helpful, but their ultimate goal is to settle your claim for as little money as possible. Approach any interactions with your insurance company with caution and to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer before signing anything.

Tactics Insurance Companies Use After a Car Accident

Insurance companies employ a wide range of tactics to minimize the value of your claim or deny it altogether.

While insurers are creative and constantly come up with new ways to devalue or deny claims, some of the most common tactics insurance companies use are:

  • Blaming you for the accident. One tactic insurance companies use to avoid paying out a claim is to blame you, the claimant, for the accident. They may claim that you were in some way responsible (e.g., you failed to follow traffic laws, or you did not seek medical attention right away, which worsened your injuries). If you believe your insurer is trying to shift the blame for the accident onto you, contact a lawyer immediately. 
  • Delaying the claims process. Insurance companies may also try to delay the claims process, hoping you will eventually give up or settle for less money. If you are dealing with this tactic, keep detailed records of all correspondence with the insurer, including emails and letters. Follow up regularly with the insurance company and hire a lawyer who can use the legal framework to expedite the process. 
  • Offering a quick, lowball settlement. A settlement offer made by the insurance company may seem like a good option at first, especially when you receive the offer in the first hours or days after the accident. However, you need to remember one thing: the insurer’s first offer is almost always lower than the true value of your claim. Do not be tempted to accept this offer. Contact a lawyer to calculate a fair compensation amount and present your counteroffer to the insurer. 
  • Denying a claim. In some cases, insurance companies will outright deny your claim. They may claim that your policy did not cover the accident, that you did not follow the proper procedures, or that you failed to provide sufficient evidence and supporting documentation. If this happens, seek legal advice as soon as possible, as you may still have a chance to challenge the denial. 
  • Discouraging you from contacting a lawyer. Often, insurance companies discourage claimants from getting legal counsel, arguing that it will only complicate matters. However, the real reason why your insurer does not want you to be represented by a lawyer is that they know they cannot take advantage of you when you have a lawyer by your side. Your lawyer will handle the communication with the insurance company and ensure that the insurer honors their promises and responsibilities owed to you and that you are treated with the respect you deserve. 

After a car accident, it is understandable that you do not want to face the hassle of dealing with the insurance company and dealing with the legalities involved.

Hire a lawyer who can fight the insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on healing and getting back to your normal life.

The Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with the Insurance Company After a Car Accident

If dealing with the insurance company after a car crash feels like a battlefield, treat it as such and prepare accordingly.

Follow the dos and don’ts of dealing with the insurer to boost your confidence and get some peace of mind: 

  1. DO talk to a lawyer first. Before you communicate with your insurance company, you might want to consult with a lawyer first. A lawyer can explain your legal rights in the aftermath of a car accident and review your policy carefully. They can also navigate the claims process, provide legal advice, and advocate for your best interests in interactions with the insurer. 
  2. DO stay calm and professional. Understandably, emotions can run high after a car accident, but you must keep a cool head and stay calm when dealing with the insurance company. Avoid getting angry, argumentative, or confrontational; this will only worsen things. Instead, be polite and professional, even if you disagree with the adjuster’s assessment of your case. If anything, being rude can hurt your chances of getting a fair settlement.
  3. DO stick to the facts. When reporting your accident to the insurer or answering any questions asked by the insurance adjuster, stick to the facts of your case and avoid speculation. Describe what happened during the accident, who was involved, the injuries sustained, and how much damage was done to the vehicles involved. Keep it short and avoid providing unsolicited details that can negatively affect your case.
  4. DO review your insurance policy. You need to know your policy backward and forward when dealing with the insurance company so that your insurer does not misrepresent the terms of your policy. You need to understand your coverage and the compensation you are entitled to receive. If you have questions or concerns, ask your lawyer to explain your policy's terms. 
  5. DO keep in mind that the insurer is not your friend. As explained earlier, insurance companies are in business to make money. Insurance adjusters may be friendly and act like they are on your side, but they are not. Their goal is to minimize their liability and pay you as little as possible, not to provide you with the compensation you deserve.

Now that you know what you should do when dealing with the insurer after a car accident, here’s what you should avoid doing to protect your right to compensation: 

Hire a Lawyer to Fight for the Money an Insurance Company Owes You
  1. DON’T provide a recorded statement if you haven’t talked to a lawyer yet. Be careful about what you say to an insurance adjuster after your car crash. Insurance adjusters may attempt to elicit useful information from you they can use to deny your claim or pay you less. Do not give any recorded statements to an insurance adjuster until you have spoken with a lawyer. A lawyer can prepare you for questioning, review any existing statements you have made, and provide valuable advice to ensure your rights are protected. 
  2. DON’T sign anything if you haven’t consulted a lawyer first. If the insurance company presents you with a settlement offer or any agreement that needs your signature, be cautious before you sign anything. Remember, once you sign and accept a settlement offer, it bars you from pursuing additional compensation. If the insurer offers you a settlement, have it reviewed by a lawyer to ensure that the offer is adequate and represents fair compensation for your damages.
  3. DON’T accept blame or apologize. When providing any statements to the insurance adjuster, avoid any discussion of fault or blame. Do not apologize or admit guilt even if you believe you were partially responsible for the accident. In fact, avoid saying anything that may be interpreted as an admission of liability because this can negatively affect the outcome of your claim. Instead, stick to the facts. Just because you think you were to blame for the accident doesn’t mean you were. Consider speaking with a lawyer to determine fault in your specific situation. 
  4. DON’T settle too quickly. Understandably, you probably have bills that are due, but resist the temptation to accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer, no matter how “generous” or adequate it may seem at first sight. Settling too soon can result in an inadequate settlement that does not fully cover all your damages because the severity of your injuries may not be apparent at this point, and you probably haven’t realized your long-term costs yet. 
  5. DON’T post on social media about your car accident or injuries. In the digital age, we are quick to share everything that happens in our lives on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms. However, social media posts about your accident or injuries can harm your claim. You may be surprised to hear this, but insurance adjusters may use your social media posts as evidence against you, arguing that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. For this reason, refrain from posting about your accident and injuries and ask your friends and family to do the same until your claim gets resolved. 

While following these do’s and don’ts in the aftermath of a car accident can set you on the right path to recovering fair compensation, you may still need legal advice to successfully navigate the insurance claims process.

Hire a Lawyer to Fight for the Money an Insurance Company Owes You

Sometimes, trying to obtain the compensation you deserve after a car accident might feel like being in a boxing ring with an opponent who can predict your every move and is willing to destroy you. If you feel that you have been cornered to the ropes or got knocked down by the insurer, you can take one particular step to remedy the situation and fight back: contact a lawyer.

The sooner you seek legal counsel, the better you will be to protect yourself. Your lawyer will take over all interactions with the insurance company and work hard to ensure you get the best settlement offer possible.

Many people do not hire a lawyer because they underestimate the persistence of insurance companies and do not know what insurers are capable of. They mistakenly believe that insurers are genuinely interested in helping them obtain the compensation they deserve. Unfortunately, that’s never how it works.

Car Accident Lawyer
John N. Frye, Car Accident Attorney

Insurance companies are willing to jump at any opportunity to settle your claim for the least amount possible or deny your claim altogether. Insurers know that victims of car accidents are usually desperate for money, which is why they often pressure claimants to accept lowball settlement offers.

Insurers also know that unrepresented claimants lack the legal knowledge to stand up for their rights, which opens the door for the company to take advantage of you in your time of need. Your lawyer will not let any of that happen.

A skilled personal injury lawyer will take the lead in dealing with the insurer and handle all steps and aspects of the claims process so you can focus on resting and recovering from your injuries.

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