California residents injured in an accident know that dealing with insurance companies is often complicated. Certain things can be done to help the process run smoothly.
Do not sign any releases or waivers before obtaining legal advice. Financial difficulties after a major accident involving serious injuries may make accepting an initial settlement seem tempting. An attorney will assist with making sure any initial settlement amount is suitable.
Next, contact the insurance company as soon as possible after the accident occurs. If possible, do this before even going to the doctor.
Additionally, keep detailed records of all conversations with any insurance company representatives. Obtain names of everyone spoken to, phone numbers and any other additional information that is important to the claim. Additionally, keep receipts of any expenses incurred while dealing with the claim, such as medical or travel expenses.
Maintaining proper communication with the insurance company throughout the entire process will help things run smoothly. This includes giving honest answers to any questions asked. False answers can result in a denial of the claim or cancellation of the entire insurance policy.
This also includes paying attention to any time limits under the policy. Many policies have a one year limit in which to bring a legal claim if the matter is not yet settled satisfactorily.
Make sure any requests are given in writing and clearly state what is needed. Any complaints should also be in writing and be sent to the proper individuals in the chain of command.
Do not overlook coverage under any other policies. Homeowners insurance or credit cards often come with policies that may provide coverage.
Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always represent policy holder’s best interests and may even deny an insurance claim in bad faith. The policyholder is usually at a disadvantage because the process is often not understood.
Treating it as a business negotiation and remembering that an insurance company is a business whose primary goal is to make a profit will help prevent a policyholder from being taken advantage of.
Although representatives of the insurance company may be friendly and pleasant, do not automatically think of them as friends. However, being respectful and courteous to them is always important and may even increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
Finally, initial estimates of losses given by insurance companies are typically on the low side. Therefore, it is best to get a second opinion from an outside appraiser, if possible.
An individual injured in an accident who is facing complications with an insurance company can benefit from an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer will work on his or her client’s behalf to obtain a fair and adequate settlement.