What To Say To Your Insurance After An Accident
Alabama is a “fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. That means the insurance company of the party responsible for causing the accident must legally pay claims for injuries and property damage. You will either file a claim with your own insurance company or with the other party’s insurance company, called a third-party claim. When you pay your premiums on time month after month, you would think that your own insurer would act more cooperatively than a third-party insurer. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. That is because you may send the wrong message to your insurance company without even realizing it.
Why an Insurance Agent Might Question Your Claim
All people can act on biases, whether they are conscious of them or not. Insurance agents are no different. The person who receives your claim might make up his or her mind that you are exaggerating your injuries to receive a higher pay-out. Some things that could cause him or her to come to this conclusion include:
You delay going to a doctor to receive treatment: If you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit stemming from the car accident, you should visit a doctor to start treatment for your injuries as quickly as possible. It doesn’t look good for your case if you allow more than two weeks to pass before you see a doctor for the first time. Visiting the emergency department, urgent care, or your primary physician right away sends the message that the injuries you received were significant enough to seek prompt medical treatment. Another thing that could hurt your case is not following your doctor’s recommendations for treatment. This is true even if you did seek prompt medical attention.
The reason that delaying seeing a doctor is so problematic is that it makes it more challenging to connect the injuries you sought treatment for with the accident. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and will seek reasons to deny claims whenever possible. For example, the agent handling your claim could say that something else caused the back pain you went to the doctor for if you delay making the initial appointment. He or she might attempt to dig into your medical history to determine if you have a pre-existing condition or if something happened after the accident to cause the pain.
Exaggerating your losses: As an injured person seeking compensation for losses, you must prove they happened as you claim and to the extent that you claim. If you make the mistake of overestimating your financial losses, the insurance adjuster will discover this later. He or she may assume that you’re not seriously injured and are only looking for a large pay-out. That is one reason it is important to only seek financial compensation for your actual losses and estimated future losses. You should present the following documentation to prove your claim:
- Billing statements for medical treatment: This would include charges such as an ambulance ride, emergency room care, doctor visits, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and medical equipment. In a car accident case, your auto insurance carrier should pay before your health insurance carrier.
- Pay stubs showing reduced income: Hold onto your pay stubs that show you worked reduced hours or had to take vacation time or sick leave while recovering from your injuries. If you’re self-employed, present a financial statement from the month before the accident and the month of and after the accident to show the difference in earnings.
- Doctor’s statement estimating future losses: If you feel that the injuries will impact your ability to work at the same capacity in the future, ask your doctor to write a letter estimating how long it might take to recover. You can then translate this to an economic loss based on what you currently earn.
Seek Legal Counsel if You’re Receiving Unfair Treatment
Insurance adjusters have the legal obligation to handle your claim without bias, even if they assume it’s not valid. If you feel this isn’t happening, contact Smith & McGhee, PC at 334-702-1744 for a free review of your case. As experienced personal injury attorneys in Dothan, Alabama, we’re prepared to challenge the insurance agent who may be preventing you from receiving the financial compensation you need and deserve.