After an auto accident, you probably trust that your insurance company will take care of everything for you. Since you went with a name brand insurance company, pay your premiums each month, and try to drive safely, you haven’t considered looking into a car accident attorney.
Sadly, most insurance companies are not your friends. Since they’re in the business of making money, they may find ways to deny your claim and leave you out to dry. The best way to ensure that you are covered after an accident is to understand how insurance companies think. Insurance adjusters might be quick in their initial response, but this only to move through the process before you have a chance to understand what happened. While insurance adjusters seem friendly, their primary interest is protecting their employer before their clients.
Why Are Insurance Claims Denied?
- The accident was avoidable
Insurance companies love it if you could have avoided the accident. This even includes if you did something that may have led to the crash. It works out for them if you did something that might render your coverage ineffective. A good example of this would be if you were driving under the influence of alcohol, or allowing someone without a license to drive your car. Insurance companies on both sides of the accidents hope to show that the accident was avoidable because then they don’t have to pay.
The best way to counter a denied claim from your insurance provider is to talk to an Austin car accident lawyer. Everyone else involved in the accident does not have your interests in mind. Having your own lawyer will give you a huge advantage over the decisions made by an insurance company.
- You didn’t file a complaint or receive treatment right away
Insurers like to argue that pain and injuries either happened outside of the accident or were pre-existing. They’ll say just about anything to suggest that injuries didn’t occur as a result of the accident. Since some injuries won’t present themselves for a few days after the accident, it’s easy not to know that you’re hurt. If you do have a pre-existing condition, insurers may argue that the adverse affects are unrelated to the accident.
Having evidence that you went to the hospital or were checked out by a doctor after an accident will always help your case. Many people avoid going to the doctor after an accident unless it’s painfully necessary. Others want to prevent the appearance of just wanting a payout, even if there is a legitimate injury. Keep in mind that without some medical record indicating injury or pain, it’s hard to convince insurance companies that something actually happened.
- You didn’t handle the aftermath properly
After an accident takes place, you will have lots on your mind. From worrying about personal injuries to accessing vehicle or property damage. It is easy to get caught up in the aftermath, but this can lead to little mistakes that insurance agents will use against you.
- Using your words against you. Insurance adjusters will often try to get you to say something that will hurt your case. For example, they may get you to say that you are okay during the initial conversation. While you may mean “fine” in that you aren’t dead, they can throw this statement back in your face if you later submit medical expenses. While you need to talk to adjusters, be careful how you answer questions so that your words cannot be used against you later.
- Looking at your medical records. Adjusters may pressure you to sign a release that allows them to see your medical history. By looking at your files, they can learn personal details about you that might hurt your case. They will look for anything that can be used to discredit you. Unless your lawyer advises you to provide records, avoid doing so.
- Offering a settlement on the spot. It might seem like excellent customer service is an adjuster shows up immediately after the accident with a check in hand. If you accept their offer, you relinquish the right to add to your claim. By rushing you to take the quick settlement, insurance companies are hoping to rush your decision. You won’t have time to realize injuries or damage fully. Be wary when agents arrive with a check in hand. It is better to take the necessary time to fully assess the incident than to have quick cash in hand.
- Pretending to be on your side. Insurance adjusters will make it seem like you are their number one priority. They make you feel like you can simply report the incident and let them take over. They will advise you not to seek legal help and promise to take care of everything. Sadly, agents are often incentivized to save the company money. If they can keep you from hiring an attorney, they’ve already won as you won’t get the full payout without help.
How to Avoid Having Your Insurance Claim Rejected
There are several steps that you should take whenever there is an automobile accident. This will ensure that your request is taken seriously by the insurance company and will save time. Always make sure you are in a safe place before taking the following steps. This might mean moving your vehicle to the shoulder or setting up road flares. If there are serious injuries, call 911 immediately.
- Always exchange information with the other driver: insurance cards, license plate numbers, car registrations, and contact information. Get the other driver’s insurance agent’s contact information as well.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses of the accident. If they are unwilling to provide this information, try to get a cell phone video of their account.
- Call the police. Officers will file an accident report, interview witnesses, and help create an official paper trail. Get the officer’s names and contact information.
- Take pictures or video of the scene. You want to capture any damage done to vehicles or property along with any injuries. Capture anything that might help set the stage: skid marks, sharp turns, etc.
Fighting a Denied or Rejected Insurance Claim
If you’ve supplied all of the right information and your claim is still denied, as for a letter of explanation. Talk to your adjuster to understand their reasoning. If you haven’t already, hire legal help to ensure that your insurance company is treating you fairly and following state laws.
Be prepared. While you always hope an accident doesn’t happen, you can save yourself a great deal of time and energy by knowing what to do when it does happen. Do you have additional tips to avoid having a rejected insurance claim? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.