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