Insurance Companies and Accident Claims Investigations
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Insurance Companies and Accident Claims InvestigationsStaff Attorney2021-05-06T16:32:07-07:00
If you have been hurt in a car accident, you may be in the process of filing an insurance claim. If so, the insurance company has probably advised you that they will have an adjuster investigate the accident in the midst of filing your claim. But what exactly does an insurance investigation entail? How is it conducted?
Understanding what questions they will ask will help ensure that you and your car accident lawyer are doing everything possible to resolve your claim as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As soon as you make a claim, the investigation process starts
An insurance investigation claim begins as soon as you contact your insurance company to report an accident. The insurance company will then assign an adjuster to your claim. They will contact you within a matter of days (sometimes the same day) to collect more information surrounding the collision.
Information the adjuster will ask
When the adjuster contacts you, you can guarantee they will start the call off by asking your version of what happened. They will request an outline as to how the accident happened. The adjuster may ask you additional questions, such as:
Were the police called to the accident scene? If not…
Was a police report filed?
Do you have any photos and/or video from the accident scene?
Year, make, and model of the vehicles involved
Names and insurance information of the other drivers involved
Were any injuries reported? If so…
Did you receive medical treatment for your accident-related injuries?
The insurance adjuster will need a complete accounting of the damages you have accrued as a result of the accident. If you have property damage, let them know the amount. If you were injured, tell your adjuster the injuries you have or are developing.
If you have a personal injury, you should tell them what medical bills you have acquired. It is fine if you don’t have a complete record of the bills, as your lawyer will obtain this information on your behalf.
The adjuster will likely contact all parties involved
The insurance adjuster will likely contact all parties involved to ensure the versions of events match. They may contact the other drivers and witnesses to the accident. If there is any discrepancy to the version of events, this will raise a red flag and require additional investigations.
The adjuster could investigate the accident scene
If there are any discrepancies in the versions of events, the adjuster may want to investigate the actual accident scene. They will look for skid-marks, any structural damages, street signs, and so on.
They will ask for your medical records
If an injury was reported, the insurance company may request your medical records so they can your injuries. If they request this information, or they attempt to pry for detailed information, you will want to have a lawyer speak with them on your behalf.
They will begin establishing fault
Once the adjuster has gathered all information required to set up a claim, they will begin the process of evaluating fault. They will attempt to determine negligence and evaluate all damages related to the accident. In some cases, they may assign an apportionment of fault to each driver involved.
The insurance company will issue a settlement check
The insurance adjuster will review the policy or policies applicable to your case. Based on your damages and your apportionment of fault, they will issue a settlement check up to the total amount of the policy limits.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s offer
If you disagree with the insurance adjusters decision and settlement offer, you can always submit more information to them that would prove beneficial to your settlement. You may also request to speak with the manager to see if there is anything else you can do. If they disagree, you should consider sending a demand letter to the insurance company and initiate litigation proceedings.
How long does it take for the insurance company to investigate a claim?
In most cases, investigations can be resolved within a matter of weeks. If your case is more complex, it can take upwards of a few months. The investigation will depend on the complexity and severity of the accident and the policy limits at play.
How a car accident attorney can help you
If you are in the process of making an insurance claim, you should consider hiring a lawyer for the most beneficial outcome possible. Your attorney will help you prove damages, fault, and they can even negotiate a higher settlement offer on your behalf.