The insurance claim process can be very confusing. While communicating with your insurance adjuster, you might wonder how the company is handling your case behind the scenes. Understanding this investigatory process is crucial to protect your rights and ensure you receive a fair settlement at the conclusion of your claim. Most insurance companies follow the same basic steps when investigating an accident.
If you have not done so already, contact a Colorado car accident attorney as soon as possible following your accident.
Reporting the Claim and Gathering Information
Your claim begins when you file a report with the insurance company. Different companies follow different reporting processes; you can usually file online, over the phone, or by directly contacting a representative. The company will assign an adjuster to the case.
The adjuster will then contact you to gather information about the accident. He or she will ask for a summary of how the accident occurred and may ask you to provide certain pieces of evidence. This evidence may include the police report, photographs you took at the scene, and your medical records.
Further Investigation and Medical Review
After speaking with you, the adjuster will continue his or her investigation. Usually, the adjuster will reach out to the other driver as well as any witnesses who were present at the scene. The adjuster will ask these parties for their version of events and record the information.
The adjuster will also review your medical records to evaluate the nature of your injuries. He or she may also ask you to attend an independent medical examination with a doctor of the company’s choice.
The insurance adjuster may also visit the accident scene to gain a clearer picture of how the crash occurred. Usually, adjusters only take this step if it is unclear who is responsible for the crash or if the accident is especially severe or complex.
Preliminary Determination of Fault and Settlement
Once the adjuster gathers enough information to determine who is responsible for the accident, he or she will make a preliminary determination of fault. The adjuster will complete a required company report and inform both parties of the decision. If the insurance company finds you are eligible for compensation, it will also provide a settlement offer.
If you receive a settlement, you can choose to accept it, negotiate for a higher amount, or escalate your case to a lawsuit if necessary. If the company denies your claim, you can file an appeal or escalate to formal litigation.
Hiring a Colorado Attorney for Your Insurance Claim
It is important to remember that insurance adjusters do not have the same goals you do. Their priority is to act in their company’s best interest and may employ tactics to justify a lower settlement on your behalf. For example, if you provide a statement about your injuries and discover that the actual injury is more severe later on, the insurance company may use your premature statement to cast doubt on your credibility. This may lead to a lower settlement offer or a potential denial.
In these situations, it is important to have an attorney to represent you and your interests. Your attorney can prepare you for each stage of the insurance investigation process, helping you gather necessary evidence and avoid making statements that could harm your claim. Your lawyer will also be able to negotiate on your behalf, evaluate your settlement offers, and help you proceed with an appeal or lawsuit.