Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company

Posted on January 20, 2024 in Car Accidents

After you’ve been in an accident, there are several things you will need to consider, both in the immediate aftermath and in the time soon after. One of these important steps involves contacting your insurance company to notify them of the accident and initiate the claims process. You must be cautious, however, when communicating with an insurance company (even your own) to avoid any potential pitfalls that can negatively affect your claim and your opportunity to maximize your compensation after your accident.

Having an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer working for you to communicate with your insurance company on your behalf is always your best option. With a skilled legal professional in your corner, you can be confident that someone is protecting your rights. Your best interests will remain the priority throughout every step of the process. Allowing your lawyer to handle all communication with your insurance company will not only avoid miscommunication or mistakes but also put a highly trained negotiator in the driver’s seat for your claim.

If you have been involved in a car accident and face dealing with your insurance company to seek a resolution to your claim and pursue compensation, reach out to a knowledgeable car accident lawyer today to schedule a consultation. Your lawyer can examine your situation, explain the legal options that may be available to you, handle all communication and negotiation with your insurance company, and lead you through the process as you navigate the often complicated landscape of car accident insurance claims.

Overview of Insurance Companies

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company

Though it is wise to be wary of some of the tactics insurance companies may use to get you to provide recorded statements or agree to settlements that may not be most favorable to you, insurance companies do serve a fundamental role in life, particularly when it comes to the aftermath of car accidents.

In the most basic sense, the role of an insurance company is to provide coverage for policyholders in the event of a car accident to make sure expenses due to medical costs or property damage are mitigated. Though this practice is certainly helpful in many situations, it is still advisable to exercise caution when providing information to your insurance company. Knowing what should or should not be said is important, even when you have your lawyer handling communication on your behalf.

The Need for Effective Communication with Insurance Providers

Communicating with your insurance company following a car accident plays a crucial role in the success of your claim, the settlement offers you receive, and the overall amount of compensation you may have the opportunity to obtain. Though taking swift action to notify your insurance company can be beneficial from a timing standpoint, it is important to note that there are reasons why providing too much information without any legal advice is never a good idea.

Certain types of statements made during the initial reporting and investigation stages of the claims process can have an impact later on, which is why you should exercise prudence and obtain legal guidance from an experienced car accident attorney as early in the process as possible.

The Initial Contact

The Initial Contact

As mentioned above, acting quickly to notify your insurance company of your car accident is a good idea, particularly when you have medical bills and property damage you want to get help covering. The problem this presents is that, in many instances, claimants make the mistake of unintentionally harming their own claims by not being careful with what they tell or ask their insurance provider.

Without the proper legal advice, you can potentially admit fault, miscommunicate some of the details of your accident, or make other statements that can complicate or even weaken your claim. Allowing your lawyer to take on the responsibility of all communication with the insurance company will give you a reliable guide through the entire claims process. Your attorney can provide your insurance company with the appropriate information while also serving as a safeguard for your legal interests.

Insurance Coverage Questions

Even though you should be letting your lawyer take care of the communication and negotiation with your insurance company, it is always important to be aware of the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Having your attorney ask questions about your coverage limits and exclusions will be beneficial as you seek to observe the process. The world of insurance policies and coverage can quickly become confusing to anyone who does not deal with it regularly, so having your lawyer on hand is vital.

A knowledgeable car accident attorney can interpret the complex legal language and ensure that you are both fully informed and fully protected as communications with the insurance company are carried out.

The Investigation Process

As insurance companies begin reviewing a filed claim, they will start with a thorough investigation of the reported accident. This is typically done through a series of interviews and gathering statements, documentation, and evidence to assess the details of the car accident and determine the severity of the damages, both in terms of physical injuries and property damage.

During these investigative interviews, insurance companies sometimes attempt to get people to make definitive statements regarding the accident that can sometimes end up negatively impacting the claim and the subsequent compensation awarded. Consulting with your lawyer to be aware of what to expect during this investigation and be prepared to provide only the necessary information is important.

Documentation and Evidence

As with any legal process, gathering and maintaining as much documentation and evidence related to your car accident is critical. Thorough documentation will not only strengthen your insurance claim and help it hold up during investigation but also lay a strong foundation for any potential legal processes or litigation that can potentially arise in the future. Some of the key types of documentation you should seek to obtain include:

  • Photographs or videos taken at the scene of the accident showing the location, the damage to the vehicles involved, and any physical injuries sustained.
  • Documentation for medical records, repair estimates, police reports, and other documents that provide details about the accident and any damage caused.
  • Contact information for all parties involved in the accident, as well as names and contact information for eyewitnesses who can provide statements.

Your lawyer can guide you regarding what types of documentation and evidence will be helpful and provide insight into the best options for using this evidence to maximize your potential compensation.

Communication Pitfalls to Avoid

Although you should be turning to your lawyer to handle all communication with the insurance company, it can be helpful to be aware of the potential pitfalls other individuals fall into when speaking to their insurers. Some of the most common communication mistakes to avoid include:

  • Never Admit Fault — You must refrain from admitting fault or taking any responsibility for the accident during your communication with your insurance company. Doing so can have serious consequences regarding your claim.
  • Don’t Give Too Much Information — Providing unnecessary or irrelevant details can create opportunities for miscommunication or disclosing things that can potentially harm your claim. Give only the required information.
  • Be Aware of How Your Statements Can Be Used — Though some of the things you hear may seem harmless, such as questions about weather conditions, where you were going, or what you were doing at the time of the accident, your answers can be used against you if you misspeak or say something damaging to your claim.

Though the examples listed above may seem self-explanatory on the surface, insurance companies have employees who are well-trained in drawing out the types of answers and statements they want.

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

Negotiating with the Insurance Company

With your car accident lawyer at your side, you can enter the negotiation phase of the insurance claims process with greater confidence. Though your attorney will be negotiating with your insurance company on your behalf, having a basic understanding of how the negotiation process works and what to expect is important. Though some steps may vary depending on the specific insurance company and your location, the negotiation process typically involves the following steps:

  • Exchanging information
  • Assessment of damages
  • Discussion of settlement terms

While most insurance companies operate professionally and in good faith, there are unfortunate instances when insurance providers may utilize tactics during the claims process and negotiation to reach a faster or more favorable settlement for them, such as:

  • Lowball Offers
  • Undervaluing Damages
  • Delaying the Process

Insurance adjusters may also pressure claimants to convince them to accept a quick offer to reach a settlement. Having a skilled car accident attorney negotiating for you will reduce the risk of falling prey to these tactics. Your lawyer is familiar with these strategies, can identify them quickly, and take steps to counter them.

Subrogation and Liens

Subrogation I Question to Ask Your Insurance Company

Some more intricate aspects of the insurance claims process include subrogation and liens. These factors are often unknown to many policyholders, which is another reason why having your lawyer present throughout the process will benefit you. A brief definition of these terms is as follows:

  • Subrogation — This is the right of the insurance company to pursue a claim against a third party whom the insurer believes to be responsible for the accident.
  • Liens — Situations in which a third party (such as a healthcare provider or creditor) may have a legal claim to a portion of the settlement amount.

Addressing subrogation and liens promptly during the claims process is important to avoid further complications. Failure to deal with these issues can result in delays in the process or legal challenges regarding your settlement. Your lawyer can guide you through these important steps.

The Importance of Strong Legal Representation

In summary, it is plain to see why hiring a knowledgeable car accident attorney with experience in handling communication with insurance companies is vital to your chances of maximizing your compensation. When you have professional legal representation working on your behalf, it removes any potential advantage the insurance company may have over you during negotiation. Above all, your lawyer will always be looking out for your best interests and seeking the most favorable outcome.

Work with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been in a car accident, why put yourself through the added stress and frustration of dealing with your insurance company? Let an experienced car accident attorney take that responsibility off of your shoulders. By working with a skilled lawyer, you can focus on recovering from any injuries you may have sustained in the accident. At the same time, a legal professional takes care of the communication and negotiation with your insurance provider. This will give you peace of mind that your insurance claim is in strong and capable hands.

When you have a knowledgeable car accident lawyer working on your behalf, you benefit from not only insight and knowledge gained from previous car accident cases similar to yours but also the skills of a proven and experienced negotiator. Though your insurance company will always say they are putting your best interests first, they may not always take all of the necessary steps to maximize the amount of financial compensation you can receive. With your own lawyer on your side, you can be sure that the most favorable outcome is the goal.

If you are going through the aftermath of a car accident and need help dealing with your insurance company, contact an experienced car accident attorney for help. Insurance claims can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with insurance adjusters trained to protect the insurance company’s bottom line and settle claims quickly and for as little compensation as possible. Letting a car accident lawyer who is well-versed in the insurance claims process step in for you to handle communication is always a wise decision. Contact a car accident attorney today to get started.

Seek Your Free Consultation Today

Bob Boatman, Phoenix Car Accident Attorney

Robert W. Boatman, Car Accident Lawyer

Case evaluations with personal injury attorneys should be free of charge, so you can learn about your options and how a lawyer can help without risking any additional losses. Never wait to begin protecting your rights by having a legal professional handle all insurance communications.