How to Work with the Insurance Company
When you are injured in an auto accident that was caused by someone else, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, repairs to your vehicle, and other unexpected losses.
After the crash, it is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your legal rights are protected. Although technically you can negotiate directly with the insurance company, you should remember that insurance adjusters and company lawyers handle these cases day in and day out. Their job is to minimize payouts, and they know exactly what they are doing.
At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, our lawyers’ job is to protect you during insurance company settlement negotiations. We know all the tactics insurance companies use, and we will argue aggressively for the full compensation you deserve. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation, and let us take over the hassle of dealing with the insurance company.
How Insurance Settlement Negotiations Work
- Get the at-fault driver’s auto insurance information at the accident scene. Be sure to copy down the driver’s insurance carrier, policy number, and full name. You will need this information to file a claim against the insurance policy.
- The insurance carrier will require documentation supporting your claim that the other driver was responsible for your injuries. The police report, photos of the scene, and any witness statements could serve as supporting evidence.
- You will also need to provide all of your medical bills to document your injury. Keep a record of how much time you have missed from work, as well as paystubs showing your regular income.
- After an insurance adjuster evaluates your claim, he or she may offer you a settlement amount. Be warned that this first offer is typically not enough to cover the full extent of damages suffered. (Especially if you are dealing directly with the insurance company rather than working through an attorney, the adjuster will assume you are not equipped to negotiate effectively.)
- You can negotiate for a higher amount, but you need to be able to back up your request for a higher settlement. A fair settlement should take into account future medical expenses and future lost income, as well as pain and suffering. You may need experts to help document these damages.
- Once a fair settlement is reached, have the insurance company put the settlement offer in writing in case the settlement check you receive is lower than the settlement offered.
Remember: Different states have specific rules about deadlines for filing an auto insurance claim. If you miss the deadline, your claim will be denied, and you won’t have the opportunity to receive any compensation for your losses.
To talk with an attorney now for free, contact us. We can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and review any initial settlement offer.
Tips for Dealing with an Insurance Adjuster
Some people are intimidated by insurance companies and don’t know what their rights are when it comes to compensation. If this is your first experience with an auto insurance claim, you may think the first offer is the only one. However, you should never accept the first settlement offer an insurance company makes.
Insurance adjusters are trained to pay out as little as possible to victims of auto accidents. They will offer you a low settlement proposal to gauge your experience with insurance claims and to try to persuade you to accept less than you deserve.
This initial offer is not based on the specific losses you have suffered (and will continue to suffer). Rather, it is based on what the insurance company has been able to get other people to accept in situations like yours.
There are some critical precautions you should take when it comes to dealing with insurance adjusters:
- Do not apologize for the accident or say you are sorry. You may just be acting polite or simply regret that the accident happened. The insurance company will try to use this as an admission of fault.
- Do not sign a release giving the insurance adjuster access to your medical records. It is true that they will need to see proof of medical bills and treatment expenses. But will try to review your full medical record looking for pre-existing conditions that could be blamed for your current injuries.
- Do not give a recorded or written statement about your accident without consulting an attorney. Insurance adjusters will use anything you say against you. They may seem like they are concerned for you, but their questions are designed to get you to answer in a way that could hurt your claim.
- Do not take your adjuster’s word for anything throughout the claim process. Everything should be in writing.
- Do not accept or cash a settlement check without speaking to an attorney. You may be entitled to much more than what you have been offered, and cashing that check means you are signing away you rights to the full compensation you are owed.
When you work with a knowledgeable attorney from Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, we manage all communication with the insurance company. We will gather all the necessary documentation, such as your medical bills, lost wage statements, and information regarding your out of pocket expenses.
Once you have finished any medical treatment or reach maximum medical improvement, we will provide the insurance company with a demand letter. This letter states the other driver was at fault for the accident, provides an outline of your medical treatment, and requests the amount of compensation you need to be made financially whole again.
When the adjuster reviews this letter and the other documentation provided, they will then decide what their settlement offer is going to be. Negotiations can continue after this, and your lawyer may move forward with filing a lawsuit if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
What to Do If the Insurance Company Rejects Your Claim
There can be many reasons why the insurance adjuster rejects your claim. Even when you know the other driver caused the accident, the adjuster may have found things during the investigation that they believe disputes the validity of your claim.
It’s vital that you get the denial in writing and that it includes a valid reason. Don’t, however, give up seeking compensation because your claim was denied. Just because an insurance adjuster denies your claim doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to compensation.
Insurance companies will do whatever they can to pay you nothing or as little as possible. They will look for any reason to try to show your injuries weren’t caused by their insured driver.
They may dig into your background, find records of a previous injury, and state their insured driver didn’t cause the current injuries you sustained in the accident.
If you believe the insurance company’s reason for denying your claim isn’t valid, you have a right to appeal. Determine how the insurance company’s appeal process works and move forward with it. An attorney can help you with this. Once your claim is reopened, you’ll be able to negotiate for a settlement.
However, if, after your appeal, the company stands by its rejection, you have the option to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit against the insurance company and at-fault driver may force them to reopen settlement negotiations.
If these negotiations fail, you can take your case to trial, and the insurance company may be forced to pay you based on the judge’s findings.
What to Do If the Insurance Adjuster Won’t Cooperate
When you’re going through the claims process, an adjuster will be the main point of contact for the insurance company. While some adjusters will be responsive and willing to work with you and your attorney, others may fail to communicate, may seem hostile, or otherwise uncooperative.
If this happens, be sure to document everything. If the insurance adjuster won’t return your calls, write them a letter.
In the letter, you should state that you’ve been trying to reach them and ask that they return your call to discuss your claim. Be objective and calm, sticking only to the facts of your claim.
In some cases, the insurance adjuster will return your calls but might refuse to negotiate a settlement. If you have the appropriate documentation that proves their insured driver caused your injuries, they should be willing to negotiate until you get a fair settlement from them.
Hiring an attorney is your best option for ensuring that the insurance company will act in good faith. Experienced attorneys know how to negotiate with insurance companies, and they can provide the necessary evidence to prove your injuries were a direct result of the auto accident.
When It’s Time to Contact an Attorney
The best time to consult with an attorney is immediately after an accident. Our attorneys will review your case, explain your legal rights, and be honest if we think you can handle your case on your own.
However, when you’re in pain and struggling to pay for your medical bills, the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance adjuster who doesn’t care about you. Our attorneys will handle your insurance claim from start to finish so you can focus on your recovery. With our decades of experience, we will work to aggressively negotiate with the insurance company for a full settlement that is right for you.
How an Attorney Can Help
As soon as you hire Ketterman Rowland & Westlund to handle your auto accident claim, we will obtain key evidence to build a strong case for you.
We understand the complexities involved in an auto accident case and how important it is to provide the insurance company with documentation that proves their insured driver is responsible for your injuries.
Some of the evidence we’ll collect includes:
- Police reports
- Vehicle estimates and repair bills
- Medical records and bills
- Witness statements
- Video surveillance of the accident
- Photos of the accident scene
- Photos of your injuries
- Lost wage reports
- Documentation of out of pocket expenses
All the evidence we gather will prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident and their insurance company should pay you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
In the state of Texas, you can receive compensation for the following damages:
- Current and future medical expenses – This includes bills for hospital visits, urgent care visits, physical therapy, occupational therapy, home health care, surgery, specialty providers, primary care providers, and in-patient services.
- Lost wages – If you can’t work because of your injury, you can receive compensation for any income you have lost (including paid time off). You can also be compensated for future lost income.
- Pain and suffering – This includes mental and physical distress from your accident that affect your quality of life.
- Vehicle damage – You can receive compensation for any vehicle repairs or replacements you need, and you can be provided with a rental car paid for by the insurance company.
Our attorneys never back down from a fight. You can depend on us to make you and your case a priority. We make ourselves available 24/7 so you can reach us whenever you need us. We’ll keep you informed of the progress of your case every step of the way and will answer any questions you have.
You don’t have to go through this challenging time in your life by yourself. We’ll focus on the legal process while you focus on healing and recovery. Let us take some of the burdens off you by handling the complicated insurance claims process.
Hurt in an Accident? Call Ketterman Rowland & Westlund for Help
Dealing with insurance companies on your own can be stressful. If you don’t have much experience with insurance claims, you may be taken advantage of and accept a settlement offer that is much lower than you deserve.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complicated road ahead of you. At Ketterman Rowland & Westlund, we have the legal knowledge and experience to take on your auto insurance case.
Contact Ketterman Rowland & Westlund today for a free consultation. We will meet with you and answer all your questions. We’ll review the details of your claim and determine if we can go forward with settlement negotiations. There are no fees for our services unless we recover money for you.