Accident victims are often bombarded with bills and logistical complications that make recovery even harder than it would be on its own. Depending upon the type of injuries present, it can take a great deal of time and money to get through the entire recovery process. Whether it was a car accident, a work-related incident, or something else caused by another party, filing a personal injury claim can be a significant step toward getting the compensation you deserve for your costs and the trouble you’ve experienced.
Insurance companies are one big aspect of navigating these claims because they’re the ones that you will file with, and they’re the ones who are ultimately answerable for paying the settlement you reach. Read on to find out more about personal injury claims and the role that insurance companies play in them.
What Are Personal Injury Claims?
A personal injury claim is an insurance claim filed with the insurance company of the alleged at-fault party. Filing such a claim allows the injured party to get paid to help cover their medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the accident. Accident victims may have serious injuries that can take weeks or months to heal. They may even be disabled or have experienced permanent impairment in some other way due to the accident, affecting their current and long-term financial outlook.
An experienced personal injury attorney can be an excellent asset for filing such a claim and getting the maximum settlement offer possible from the insurance company. However, an attorney isn’t necessary to file one.
What Role Do Insurance Companies Have in Personal Injury Claims?
An insurance company is an entity that represents the insured party who is allegedly at fault in any given case. Therefore the injury claim should be filed with them, and they’re the ones who will ultimately pay the injured person the compensation that they’re due for their injury claim.
However, insurance companies aren’t going to offer a generous amount of settlement money to anyone who asks them. That’s where the negotiations and process get tricky. Usually, the insurance company representative (typically a claims adjuster) will start by conducting an initial interview with you to gather relevant data for your case so they can quantify what they think is a fair settlement offer.
After the insurance company’s investigation, they’ll reach out with their settlement offer, which is usually far below what the settlement amount could reasonably be. Hence, it’s important not to accept their initial offer. This is where the negotiating process begins, again handled by the adjuster representing the insurance company in question.
It’s also possible that an insurance company will deny claims of personal injuries or other claims against its policyholder. In this case, the injured party may need to hire a personal injury attorney to communicate with the insurance company or even file a personal injury lawsuit against it.
What Is a Claims Adjuster?
A claims adjuster is the person who handles your claim for the insurance company with which you file your claim. They typically stay in communication with you about specific details.
It’s essential to keep in mind that, while an insurance adjuster isn’t necessarily trying to trick you into saying anything, they can and will often use anything you say in their case to offer as little as possible in your settlement offer on behalf of the insurance company. It’s important not to take an assuming or overly trusting stance with them or anyone else representing them.
It’s also important to note that the insurance adjuster will often have a team behind them of legal professionals, such as lawyers, who help to collect and organize the data and advise them on how they should proceed. So in a personal injury claim, you’re not typically only dealing with one person but rather with a whole team of experts who know how to save money for insurance companies, even if it’s at the expense of a fair settlement.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit differs from a personal injury claim in that it is a legal process that allows an injury claim to be resolved in the court system. Sometimes this is necessary to get the full extent of the costs covered when fair compensation wasn’t offered in the first place, or the claims adjuster denied the claim altogether.
Suppose a personal injury claim leads to a lawsuit. In that case, the insurance company representing the at-fault party is obligated to hire a lawyer to represent their policyholder and defend their side of the trial.
When Should You Move from Claim to Lawsuit?
When the insurance company you have filed your claim with either denies you or lowballs you with the compensation offer they make for your settlement, it may be time to file a lawsuit. However, suppose you want to go that route. In that case, it’s crucial to hire an attorney to help you succeed in your pursuit to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related costs. Experienced personal injury attorneys know how to deal with insurance adjusters and how to maximize settlement offers for their clients.
It’s also important to know that your case can hold up against the insurance company. Gather as much physical evidence as you can, including eyewitness accounts of family members, police reports, property damage pictures, medical treatment records, insurance policy specifics, medical bills, and anything else relevant so you can present evidence that can help you seek damages and win. A personal injury attorney can help advise you on how to gather the most evidence efficiently.
How Can You Maximize Your Personal Injury Claim Settlement Offer?
In any personal injury case, observing a few specific best practices is vital to maximizing your settlement offer.
Don’t Agree To Be Recorded
When you initially speak with the insurance claims adjuster, they may ask you if you consent to be recorded. Don’t agree to this because you never know whether you will accidentally say something that could be misunderstood or used against you in your case. It’s best to lean on the safe side, especially when a lot of money for your injuries is on the line.
Don’t Rush the Process
It’s also important not to rush through your personal injury claim process. If you’re in a rush, you might find yourself agreeing to a smaller compensation than you deserve simply because of impatience. Take your time and wait until your medical procedures are complete before agreeing to anything. This will ensure no more medical expenses arise after a settlement offer is made.
Protect Your Medical Records
Finally, it’s essential to protect your medical records as long as your personal injury attorney tells you to. Your medical records are private, and you don’t have to release them to the insurance company or adjuster at any point. Most adjusters will ask for more information than they need in compiling their cases. Don’t feel pressured to give up medical records or any other private information, even if the adjuster or insurance company asks you for it. Always consult with your attorney when you aren’t sure what to do.
Get Expert Legal Advice
If you’ve been injured in an accident and are moving to seek compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit, don’t go it alone; contact 1-800-Ask-Gary to get a free consultation with a legal professional who is equipped to advise you on how to best proceed in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.