Your family has had a car accident, or you have been injured in a fall at work. Now comes an often bothersome part of the situation, dealing with the insurance company to make a claim. From the moment you make the call, or the insurance company calls you, you need to be aware of the do’s and don’ts. In this article we will highlight some of the common misconceptions around making liability claims with any insurance companies.
Misconception #1: The insurance company makes money off premiums, so they must pay.
Many of us are under the impression that our premiums finance the insurance company. Not so. Insurance companies make a large portion of their money through investment earnings. What that means for the person making the claim is that it is in the best interest of the insurance company to delay or deny claims. The longer an insurance company can keep from paying damages the better for its bottom line. Hiring an attorney is your right to help you work through the claims process and is often to your advantage in terms of time saved and the amount paid. Pay-outs are more likely to be higher and quicker when a claimant has legal representation.
At the end of the day, insurance companies are in the business of making money and the longer they can keep their money the more interest they make. There are several ways insurance companies hang on to their money:
- Pay low and quickly
Denying payment of a claim is the simplest way for an insurance company to keep their money. By claiming, sometimes falsely, that a claim is not covered, they are banking on the possibility that the claimant will “go away”. Delaying payments also improves their chances of making money because many claimants will settle for a low payment just to have the matter resolved. Offering a quick, low payout is a big win for the company because the insurer looks good by making a quick offer and also makes money by paying less. Keeping everyone out of court also ensures minimal cost to the insurance company. Remember, you have the right to legal representation and such help will usually result in a higher payout.
Misconception #2: The insurance company has your best interests at heart.
One of the biggest surprises after an auto accident can be how quickly the other driver’s insurance company calls you. The adjuster is friendly and compassionate. Be very careful at this point, the insurance company is not looking out for you. They are seeking to resolve this claim quickly, preferably with little or no damages paid. Time is money, as the saying goes. You, however, are very vulnerable. Make sure to do the following:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- File all reports promptly
- Keep all conversations polite, but brief
- Consult with an attorney
Always seek medical help, if needed, immediately. File all police reports and insurance claims quickly. Always be polite yet brief when interacting with the insurance company. No one wants to have to hire an attorney or go to court, but often this is your best option to receive the most appropriate compensation for your claim.
Won’t that delay my settlement even further? Possibly, however, there are companies that specialize in helping individuals meet their financial obligations while waiting for the court process to play out. Companies such as The Legal Funding Group can assist with lawsuit loans against pending pre-case settlements. They work with many different types of settlements from personal injury to drug injury and workers’ compensation. There is no longer a need to feel pressured into settling for less than what is deserved.
Misconception #3: Surely someone will have documentation of everything.
Often the best advocate we have, whenever we are involved in an accident of any kind, is our smartphone. It is crucial to document everything you can after an accident. From the minute an accident or injury occurs remember to:
- Take your own photos at the scene
- Get business cards or make notes of names and phone numbers
- Write down names, dates and times when interacting over the phone
- Attend all scheduled appointments
Pictures are especially important at the beginning because most insurance companies do not immediately send an adjuster to a site. Your photos are a valuable resource for all parties. A picture is worth a thousand words, and an accident is no different. Your own documentation of conditions at the time or damage incurred at the site could make a big difference to the outcome of your claim. Make sure to back the photos up through an email or flash drive.
When speaking with anyone involved with your claim, from the police to witnesses to the other driver, write down the names and phone numbers (business cards are best), so you have an accurate record of who was involved. If you are interacting over the phone, make a note of names, dates, and times. Also, at the end of the conversation, summarize what was discussed. If your case goes to court having great documentation can only benefit you. Good records make good cases.
Lastly, make sure to attend all medical, legal and court appointments. This is vital to a successful outcome. You will be asked to jump through many hoops along the way, and a good-faith effort on your part shows that you are taking the process seriously. When a claimant has met all their obligations related to a case, the outcome is likely to be more favorable.
In the long run, legitimate claims will be paid. How fairly and efficiently you are compensated depends on how well you advocate for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into accepting less than you deserve. If financial security is going to make a difference to being able to wait for a fair judgment, remember, there are options available like The Legal Funding Group. Seeking legal representation is your right and may make the difference between a merely adequate settlement or an exceptional resolution for you and your family.
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