How Your Insurance Company Inspects Your Auto Accident Claim

Denver car accident and insurance dispute attorney R. Mack Babcock discusses how insurers investigate accident claims and who to turn to for help when a claim is denied

After you've been involved in a car accident, there are numerous steps between you and recovery. Once you've contacted the authorities (and if you've been injured, sought appropriate medical attention), your next step is to contact your insurance company and file a claim. This claim will eventually process through to a settlement.

Your specific insurance company will dictate how your claim is to be investigated. This investigation typically depends on:

  • Whether or not the accident led to property damage and/or injuries
  • The details of the accident; and
  • Company policy

While the specific steps insurance companies take may vary, there are some commonalities.

After the Initial Filing

After you notify your insurer about the accident, the first step that will occur is your case will be assigned a claim adjuster who will review your policy to ensure you're covered. You should expect your adjuster to contact you for the details of the accident.

Throughout the course of a serious investigation, you should be prepared for your adjustor to contact you about any of the following:

  • Requesting the police report
  • Interviewing any witnesses
  • Speaking with other involved drivers
  • Inspecting your vehicle
  • Documenting your vehicle's damage
  • Inspecting the scene of the accident
  • Requesting a signed release form giving them permission to obtain medical bills and records

Repairs To Your Vehicle & Medical Treatment

Until your insurance company determines who was at fault, they should pay for any repairs and medical care you require immediately – also referred to as "indemnification." They should also work on your behalf to negotiate with the other driver's insurance company to determine who will be responsible for payment afterward. If the other party is faulted, your insurance will then recoup their money through subrogation.

Vehicle Repairs

Unless otherwise stated in your policy, you'll have options for getting your car repaired. You can use a body shop approved by your insurance company. Depending on your policy, your adjuster may require you to get quotes from several body shops and compare, or you could be given the option to choose your own body shop. While you typically get to choose which body shop you use, you may be required to pay any difference between the estimate the shop gives and how much your company feels they should pay.

Medical Costs

You'll need to provide proof of injury to your claims adjuster before an insurance company will pay for your medical expenses. Your adjuster may ask you to sign a release form so they can have access to your medical records and bills.

At this time, you should contact a car accident attorney immediately to determine if this is an appropriate course of action for you to take, because even your own insurance company will often ask for information they are not entitled to under medical privacy laws.

Review Process

In order to ensure that your adjuster can best serve you, you need to provide them with as much information as possible. The information you will need to provide includes:

  • Your insurance policy number
  • Accident specifics
    • Date
    • Location
    • How the accident happened
  • Information about the other driver
    • Name
    • Insurance information
  • Police department that responded and/or the police report number

Determination of Fault

Your adjuster will then work to determine who was at fault for the accident, which doesn't always have to be all or nothing.

For example, your adjuster may determine that you are 40% responsible for the accident. This means that your company will pay your 40% and the other party's insurance may be responsible for the other 60% – although in some instances the company with the majority of fault will pay the entire settlement.

While this is how insurance companies are supposed to handle accident claims, unfortunately this doesn't always happen. Insurers may try to take advantage of policyholders by denying coverage as specified in their insurance policy.

If you need assistance receiving compensation after a car accident from your insurance company, please contact car accident and insurance dispute attorney R. Mack Babcock for a free consultation. For more information about car accident litigation, personal injury or our other practice areas, please browse our blog and knowledge center.

Disclaimer

While the Babcock Law Firm tirelessly works to obtain successful outcomes for its clients, prior positive outcomes are no guarantee of future success. Indicating prior positive results is in no way intended to guarantee future results.

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