Most drivers rarely have an accident. However, that unfamiliarity with the way your insurance company handles your claim can lead to confusion. This could result in an unsatisfactory decision against you. It is always best to put a team of Houston auto accidents lawyers on the case if you are unhappy with the way your insurance company resolved your claim.
How a Claim is Handled
The long, winding road that a case takes before a settlement can vary widely. Every accident involves different circumstances. Most claim investigations follow a similar procedure. How your insurance company works through your Houston car accident insurance claim depends on a few factors.
1. How the accident occurred and how severe it was
2. The policies of the insurance company
3. If the mishap involved personal injuries and/or property damage
What Your Claims Adjuster Will Require
Once you file your insurance claim, you will be assigned a claims adjuster. That person is responsible for determining if your policy covers the incident. The adjuster will contact you to gather some basic details. You may be asked for any or all of the following.
- The date the accident occurred
- Where the accident happened
- How the accident took place
- A copy of the police report
- The other driver’s contact information
- A list of witnesses and their contact information
- Your version of the events
The adjuster may also investigate the claim by visiting the accident scene, inspecting your vehicle for damage and taking pictures of your vehicle. You will probably be asked to sign a medical release form so that your records can be reviewed. The adjuster may also contact your physician regarding the extent of your injuries and the expenses you incurred during treatment. Your doctor could also be asked if you will need rehabilitation, how long rehab might last and when you can return to work. These are the same kind of questions that a Houston car accident personal injury attorney will ask as well.
Medical Costs and Vehicle Expenses
Until the adjuster can determine who caused the accident, it is likely that your insurance company will pay for your repairs and medical treatment. After fault has been determined, the other driver’s insurance company will negotiate with your insurance company to decide which company will pay for what.
Usually, you have a few options for getting your vehicle repaired. You may be asked to take your car to an approved car repair shop for an estimate. You might be asked to get a few quotes from repair shops of your choice. If the estimate is more than your insurance company is willing to pay, you will have to pay the difference.
The adjuster will ask for a waiver to see copies of your medical bills. Ask your attorney if you should permit this. Sometimes, your medical bills may hurt your claim and lower your settlement.
The adjuster will determine fault after the investigation is complete. You could be found to be partially at fault, not at fault or entirely at fault. If you are 30 percent at fault, you have to pay 30 percent of the bills.
Every insurance company has a special investigations unit to detect false claims. They will check out your claims history, previous car insurance companies and even your social media activity. Fraudulent claims are usually discovered.
If you feel it is unfair, you can dispute the settlement through mediation, arbitration or small claims court. If you must appeal, hire an experienced Houston personal injury attorney to represent you and guarantee that your rights are protected.