The insurance claims process after an accident can be long and complicated. It is made more complex by the fact that insurance companies want to protect their own bottom lines rather than their clients. Here’s what you need to know to protect your rights when dealing with an insurance company in Nebraska.
Insurance Adjusters Are Trained to Save the Company Money
First, know whose side the insurance claims adjuster is on. The claims adjuster and any other insurance company representative who contacts you does not want what is best for you. They are trained to save the insurance company as much money as possible on your claim. Keep this in mind during negotiations and be careful what you say to an adjuster.
You Don’t Have to Use the Insurer’s Recommended Repair Shop
You are not legally obligated to bring your damaged or totaled vehicle to the repair shop that the insurance company recommends after a car accident. In fact, it is often better to choose your own shop to avoid using one that has an agreement with the insurance company.
Anything You Say Can Be Used Against You
During conversations with the claims adjuster, be careful what you say. Keep your answers to questions short and simple. Never admit fault for the accident. The insurance representative may sound friendly or say that he or she is “calling to check on you,” but the reality is that he or she wants to get you to say something incriminating. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know.
You Don’t Need to Give a Recorded Statement
A recorded statement is something that an insurance company wants you to give early on in the claims process, before you fully understand what happened or the nature of your injuries. However, you do not need to give one. Even if the insurance claims adjuster says one is necessary to continue processing your claim, this is not the case. Submit a written statement later instead, after speaking to an attorney.
The Insurer Will Try to Avoid Paying for Your Medical Care
During your claim, the insurance company may use multiple tactics to avoid paying for your medical care. This includes having you sign a medical authorization release form to access your full medical history to look for pre-existing injuries. The insurance company may also try to blame you for your injuries or ignore you as part of a delay tactic. Do not sign anything sent to you by the insurance company without bringing it to an attorney first.
The First Settlement Is Typically Low
If an insurance company offers you a settlement, wait to accept it. The first settlement is often too low in an attempt to get a client to settle for as little as possible. Rather than jumping to accept the first offer, negotiate your settlement value with assistance from an Omaha personal injury lawyer.
Once You Sign a Liability Waiver, Your Case Is Over
It is critical not to sign a release of liability waiver until you are sure that your settlement is adequate. Once you sign this document, your case is closed and cannot be reopened. Even if you discover that your injuries are worth more than you received, you cannot renegotiate for a higher settlement after you’ve signed the release form.
You Can Go to Trial, if Necessary
Your case does not have to reach an insurance settlement. You have the ability to take your accident case to trial in Nebraska, if necessary, and go up against the defendant in pursuit of fair financial compensation before a judge and jury.
If Your Claim Is Mishandled, You Have Rights
If an insurance company treats you unfairly, such as by making unnecessary delays during the claims process, or breaks any of Nebraska’s insurance laws, you may have the right to file a bad faith insurance claim. This is a civil lawsuit against the insurance company for mishandling your case. It could result in additional compensation to penalize the insurer.
Hiring a Lawyer Forces an Insurance Company to Treat You Fairly
The last thing to know when dealing with an insurance company is that an attorney can help you protect your rights and interests during the claims process. Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Nebraska helps you balance the scales and makes it easier to obtain the financial compensation that you need to move forward after an accident.