How Do Insurance Companies Investigate a Car Accident?
If you get injured in a car accident in Nebraska, you will file a claim with the auto insurance provider of the at-fault party. This could be the other driver involved in the crash, a third party or your own insurance company. Either way, you will have to go through the insurance investigation process before you can receive benefits. Knowing how insurance companies investigate car accident claims can help you prepare for the process to come.
Assign Claims Adjusters
First, the insurance company will assign a worker with the title of insurance claims adjuster to your case. Insurance adjusters receive multiple cases across their desks every month. They are the professionals in charge of reviewing insurance claims and deciding if the claimant is entitled to receive benefits.
The insurance adjuster will be on the side of the insurance company. The adjuster will want to minimize, not maximize, your payout to save the insurance company money. Be careful what you say to a claims adjuster during an investigation. Do not admit fault, for example, or talk about your injuries until you have seen a doctor. The adjuster will be looking for reasons to deny or reduce benefits.
Read the Police Report
The adjuster will call you shortly after you report the car accident to ask for details and information, starting with the police report number. Calling the police and getting the police report number can strengthen your claim in the eyes of an insurance company. The police report can contain important details about your crash, such as who the police officer believes was to blame or which driver received a citation. Always give the police your side of the story while at the scene of a car accident. This will help you establish your version of events.
Talk to the Other Party
Once the adjuster speaks to you about the accident, he or she will collect information from the other party or parties involved. The adjuster may call the other driver involved in your wreck as well as speak to eyewitnesses who watched the crash occur. The goal of these conversations will be for the claims adjuster to obtain a well-rounded view of how and why the accident happened. This will allow the adjuster to determine liability and decide on your claim.
Review Photographs and Other Evidence
The insurance company will ask you to submit any evidence you have regarding your car accident. This may include photographs and video footage. The claims adjuster will inspect images taken to see if the property losses match what you have claimed. Taking photographs yourself while at the scene of a car accident can give you evidence of the other driver’s liability. A picture of food wrappers in the other driver’s seat, for instance, could serve as evidence of driver distraction.
Assess Property Damage in Person
Many insurance claims adjusters leave the office to visit crash scenes and auto shops in person. The adjuster may need an in-person assessment of property damage to accurately estimate the costs of repairs. The adjuster will also check to make sure the losses claimed are accurate to verify your credibility. The adjuster may also revisit the scene of the crash to try to gather available evidence, such as photographs of tire marks on the ground.
Review Medical Documentation
Last but not least, an insurance company will conduct an in-depth review of your medical records. It is important not to sign a release form giving the insurance company full access to your medical history. This is a strategy the adjuster may use to search for pre-existing conditions and deny your injury claim. Instead, give the insurance company copies of only the medical records that are relevant to your claim.
If you need assistance negotiating with an insurance company during its car accident investigation, contact an attorney in Omaha for representation.