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How the Insurance Claim Process Works

| Category: Personal Injury | April 16, 2024

Whether you are injured in a slip and fall or a car accident, navigating the insurance claim process is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting compensated for your losses. Unfortunately, most people do not know what to expect and are completely unprepared. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations that protect their profit margins by minimizing the amount they pay out in claims. Don’t let them use your lack of experience against you – get a personal injury lawyer on your side who can handle the claim process and help you get the compensation you deserve. 

Step 1: Reporting the Claim

The first step in the claim process is to make sure the insurance company is aware that an accident occurred that resulted in injuries or other losses. There may be multiple insurance companies involved, depending on the nature of the claim. A car accident, for example, may involve insurance companies for both drivers and possibly your health insurance. Your health insurance will be made aware of the claim if you seek medical treatment. If the other driver was at fault, then the claim should be reported to their insurance. That said, you should probably alert your insurance company in case their insurance has lapsed or they simply fail to report it. 

Step 2: Providing Information to the Insurance Company Representatives

You will have to provide some basic information at the time the accident is reported. The insurance company may contact you later for a more detailed statement about what happened. This is where things can get very tricky, even if you are speaking with your own insurance company. The representative may try to get you to make statements that allow them to deny your claim or pay less than it is worth. You must, therefore, be very careful about what you say because anything you say may be used against you. Here are some additional tips: 

  • Do your best to stick to the basic facts and details that you are certain about. 
  • “I don’t know” is a valid response. 
  • Do not opine as to what may have happened or what caused the accident. 
  • Do not give a recorded statement. 

If you are uncomfortable talking to the insurance company, contact a personal injury lawyer for help. They can talk to the insurance company on your behalf. 

Step 3: Potential Settlement

Once the insurance company has collected all of the pertinent information, they may make an offer to settle your claim. This can happen within the first few days of reporting your claim. You should be aware, however, that you will waive any future claims to additional losses if you accept the offer. Insurance companies will often make settlement offers very early in the process, before you know the full extent of your injuries and other losses, in order to minimize the amount they have to pay on your claim. 

The insurance company’s initial settlement offer will likely address some portion of your medical expenses. It is unlikely that they will offer to pay your lost income or compensate you for your pain and suffering. They will take advantage of the fact that most non-lawyers do not know what compensation they may be entitled to. 

The claim process can become a negotiation at this point, but you need to know what compensation you are entitled to and how the law applies to your case. If your insurance company has offered to settle your claim, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your option, assess its fairness, and explain your options. 

Step 4: Payment

If you are able to come to a settlement agreement with your insurance company, the only thing left for them to do is cut you a check. This should happen relatively quickly once you enter into the settlement agreement. Again, however, we want to emphasize that you will waive all future claims as part of the settlement. This means that you cannot seek additional compensation if you later discover that your injuries are worse than you initially thought or if you suffer additional losses. 

Contact Personal Injury Lawyer Thomas E. Pyles if You Have Been Injured in an Accident

Personal injury lawyer Thomas E. Pyles has been helping accident victims get fair compensation for their injuries for over 30 years. We can help with every aspect of your claim, from gathering the documentation you need to negotiating your compensation. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 301-705-5006 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.