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After being injured in an accident, the hope is that you’ll receive a fair settlement from an insurance company. But winning a settlement isn’t easy.

When You Should Call a Lawyer

You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. You’re going to have to deal with the insurance claim process. This can be tough. Insurance companies aren’t looking out for your best interest. By having an attorney on your side, you have someone protecting your privacy, explaining your options, and fighting to win the maximum compensation.

Review Your Insurance Coverage After an Accident

Always review your own insurance coverage. This is especially important after a car crash. New York is a no-fault state, and you’re required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. You should review the benefits that your own coverage provides. You also should review any additional policies you pay for, such as collision, comprehensive, or uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.

Give Your Insurance Company Prompt Notice

Most insurance companies require prompt notice of an accident or occurrence that would lead to a claim. You’re expected to give notice as soon as is practicable. If you fail to tell your insurer for days or weeks, without a good reason for the delay, it could deny your claim for coverage.

How to Handle a Call from an Insurance Company

You’ll probably receive a call from the other person’s insurance company. This is common, but you should know how to handle it. The best thing to do is remain calm and direct the insurance adjuster to your attorney.

Don’t Answer an Insurer’s Questions Right After an Accident

You don’t want to have a conversation with the insurance company right away. In the hours following a traumatic event, you’re stressed, scared, confused, and possibly in shock. It’s not the time to discuss a claim. Give notice to your insurer, which you might be able to do online or through an app, but don’t try to answer questions or give a statement.

You Aren’t Required to Talk with the Other Person’s Insurer

You’re never obligated to communicate with the other person’s insurance company. You can communicate entirely through your insurance company and your lawyer.

How to Respond When Asked for a Statement

If your insurer or the other person’s insurance company asks for a statement regarding the crash, tell them you aren’t prepared to give a statement. Ask for the person’s name, their contact information, and any next steps you should be aware of. You should not provide an impromptu statement over the phone or agree to provide a statement in person. Always talk with your lawyer first.

How to Tell the Insurance Company “No”

If an insurance company contacts you right away with questions, it’s reasonable to say, “I’m not prepared to talk about the accident and my injuries yet. I’ll follow up after receiving medical care.” If you plan to get legal advice, you also can say you’ll follow up after speaking with a lawyer.

What Not to Say to an Insurance Company

It’s best to defer an insurance adjuster’s questions to your lawyer. But if you choose to answer any questions, keep your answers brief and factual. When talking with an insurer, remain as objective as possible.

  • Never offer an opinion about who was at fault for the accident.
  • Never take responsibility for the accident, admit doubt regarding what happened, or apologize.
  • Never guess at something related to the accident.
  • Don’t downplay your injuries.
  • Don’t offer any opinions about your injuries.
  • Never verbally accept a settlement offer without talking to a lawyer first.
  • Don’t give out other people’s names or contact information, including relatives, friends, witnesses to the accident, or your doctors.

Don’t Sign Any Paperwork from the Insurance Company

You might receive various forms form the insurance company. Don’t sign anything without talking to a lawyer first. One form might be a medical release. If you signed it and returned it to the insurer, it would give the company access to your full medical history. This is unnecessary. Let us handle getting the appropriate medical records to the insurer. Other forms might be liability waivers or settlement offers.

Giving a Statement to an Insurance Company

After talking with your lawyer, you might agree to give a statement over the phone or in person. This interview isn’t an interrogation, but it’s important to prepare. Your attorney will talk with you about the types of questions to expect and how to answer them.

Always stick to the facts and never guess at something. If you don’t remember something, say that. The insurer might ask for the statement to be recorded. You can say no. You’re under no obligation to agree to a recorded interview.

Common questions include:

  • Where did the accident happen?
  • What direction were you driving?
  • When did the accident happen?
  • Who was involved in the accident?
  • What type of car were you driving?
  • How many cars were involved in the collision?
  • Did you have any passengers at the time of the collision?
  • Who do you think caused the collision?
  • Did you hear or see anything that helped you determine who was at fault?
  • Was the vehicle damaged?
  • What type of repairs were needed, or was the vehicle deemed a loss?
  • Were you hurt in the accident?
  • Were you treated by paramedics or taken to the hospital?
  • What injuries did you sustain in the accident?
  • Were you wearing a seatbelt at the time?
  • What was the weather like at the time of the accident?
  • Did you file a police report about the accident?

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Was Your Insurance Claim Denied?

A common issue after an accident is an insurance claim denial. If you receive a letter saying your claim has been denied, call a lawyer immediately. This might not be the end of your claim. Insurance companies have administrative processes for appealing a denied claim. Also, an attorney can represent you in filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Insurance companies deny first- and third-party claims for many reasons, including:

  • A lapsed policy due to unpaid premiums
  • The vehicle or driver wasn’t covered under the policy
  • A personal vehicle was being used for a business purpose
  • Lack of or late notification
  • Failure to receive immediate medical care
  • The policyholder was at fault (for a third-party liability claim)
  • The claim is allegedly fraudulent
  • Lack of medical records establishing an injury
  • A pre-existing condition

Is Your Insurance Company Not Handling the Claim Properly?

If you think an insurance company isn’t handling your claim well, call a lawyer right away. Your insurance company has contractual duties to you based on your policy. It also has a legal duty to act in good faith. If your insurance company acts unfairly or unlawfully, a lawyer needs to step in. You might have a claim against the insurer based on a breach of contract for bad faith.

If the other person’s insurer acts unfairly, a lawyer can step in to hold the insurer responsible for its conduct. Filing a personal injury lawsuit often incentivizes an insurer to take your claim seriously and uphold the law.

Insurance company red flags can be: Your insurer not returning phone calls or emails, not fully investigating your claim, asking for the same documents repeatedly, sending you to different adjusters and departments often, quickly denying your claim, or not sending you the agreed-upon payout.

Let Us Handle the Insurance Claim Process

You might think dealing with insurance after an accident should be straightforward. But it rarely is. Insurance companies are looking out for their bottom line. They benefit from being able to deny a claim or limit the payout. It’s best for you to have someone on your side. A personal injury attorney from Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., will fight for you to receive the maximum insurance settlement possible for your injuries.

To schedule your free case review, get in touch with us through our online form or by calling (212) 490-5700.

CLIENT REVIEWS

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05/01/2015

“I cannot recommend Jon Damashek highly enough. I attribute the favorable outcome of my case to his consummate and tireless dedication and tenacity. Just as important, he was truly there with me every step of the way. He was very…

5 Stars Review 5
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05/01/2015

“I had the opportunity to work with Jon Damashek and had an amazing experience. I have known Jon for many years and always felt very comfortable relying on his expertise, knowledge of the law, and more importantly – his ability…

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06/05/2019

I had the opportunity of having this amazing team of lawyers work on my case. When I first met with Jordan Hecht and Michael Kusz, I really liked their energy and the spunk that they had, it meant business and…

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07/05/2015

I cannot recommend Jon Damashek highly enough. I attribute the favorable outcome to my case to his consummate and tireless dedication and tenacity. Just as important, he was truly there with me every step of the way. He was very…

5 Stars Review 5
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07/05/2015

I had the opportunity to work with Jon Damashek and had an amazing experience. I have known Jon for many years and always felt very comfortable relying on his expertise and knowledge of the law and more importantly his ability…

5 Stars Review 5
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07/05/2015

I have worked with countless attorneys over the years and Jon Damashek stands out among them. I have seen first hand him advocate for his clients vigorously. He fights for the rights of the seriously injured, does not back down…

5 Stars Review 5
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07/05/2015

I know all three named partners at this firm and highly recommend them. They are very professional and tireless advocates for their clients. If you need a personal injury attorney, you cannot do better than Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek.

5 Stars Review 5
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07/05/2015

After meeting with Jon Damashek I knew immediately he was the right attorney for me. I had met with other attorneys in the past, but Jon’s experience, knowledge, and track record were most impressive. I highly recommend Jon Damashek and…

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07/05/2015

After meeting a half dozen lawyers at different firms, I decided to go to Hecht, Kleeger and Damashek. As soon as I met Jon Damashek, I knew I had to look no further. Mr. Damashek made me feel at ease…

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07/05/2015

I retained Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek for a serious personal injury case. They were very professional and managed to obtain a settlement for me that far exceeded my expectations. I would strongly recommend this firm for anyone’s legal needs.

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Average 5 out of 5 rating based on 10 Reviews