When you file a car accident insurance claim in Texas, the insurance company will not release payment until it has investigated the crash and confirmed that its policyholder is to blame. Unfortunately, an insurance company’s investigation can be confusing, time-consuming and frustrating for you as an injured accident victim. It may benefit you to hire a car accident attorney to help you with the investigation process.
Who Is the Insurance Claims Adjuster?
Before an insurance company begins an investigation, it will assign someone called a claims adjuster to your case. The insurance claims adjuster is someone trained to analyze claims submitted to the provider and to recommend a resolution – either claim acceptance or denial. The claims adjuster is who you will speak to when contacted by the insurance company, in most cases.
Be careful when talking to an insurance claims adjuster, as this person will not be your advocate. The claims adjuster’s goal will be to profit the insurance company by saving it money on your claim. Keep in mind that the adjuster will want to devalue your claim and get you to settle for as little as possible. If you do not feel comfortable corresponding with the adjuster during the investigation process, you have the right to hire a lawyer to do so for you.
What Information Will the Insurance Company Need?
Once the insurance company receives your car accident claim and assigns an adjuster, it will investigate the crash and your eligibility for benefits by analyzing all available evidence. It may be your responsibility to submit some of this information, while the claims adjuster may retrieve other facts and documents on its own. The adjuster may visit the auto shop that is holding your vehicle, for example, for an in-person assessment of the property damage. An insurance company can use many different forms of evidence to complete its crash investigation.
- Medical records and bills
- Copy of the police report
- Citations the other driver received
- Photographs and/or video footage
- Pay stubs
- Property damage repair estimates
- Eyewitness statements
- Crash reconstruction
The insurance company will need your permission to access some evidence, such as your medical records. Before signing a medical authorization release form from an insurance company, however, bring it to an attorney for a review. Many release forms request access to a claimant’s full medical history, not only the records relevant to the case. This is a strategy to find pre-existing conditions and a reason to deny the claim or reduce the payout. A lawyer can help you submit the proper medical evidence during an auto insurance claim.
How to Protect Yourself During an Insurance Company Investigation
An insurance company’s investigation process centers around the company’s mission to save money by reducing your payout as much as possible. Keep this in mind when speaking to the claims adjuster. Protect yourself and your right to recover compensation from an at-fault driver by avoiding common mistakes during an insurance investigation.
- Do not miss your deadline for filing the insurance claim.
- Do not admit fault for your car accident, even in part.
- Do not give away more information than is necessary to answer the adjuster’s question.
- Do not be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to a question.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the claims adjuster.
- Do not sign a medical authorization form or any other documents from the insurer.
- Do not accept a settlement offer until having it reviewed by an attorney.
With this long list of do-nots in mind, one thing you should do is to hire a car accident lawyer in Texas to represent you during negotiations with an insurance company. A car accident lawyer will know exactly how to handle an insurance company and its claims adjuster for the best possible results for your case.