Auto Accidents: The Claims Process
Dealing with the stress of an auto accident can be difficult in and of itself. However, dealing with insurance carriers is an added stress that can often be much more nerve-wracking than the accident itself. This is especially true in cases where aggressive insurance providers present tempting offers of settlement. The auto accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. provide the following tips for dealing with insurance companies during the claims process, following an auto accident.
- Notification to ALL relevant Insurance Companies. Ensuring all appropriate insurance carriers have been notified of the incident is important to determining the potential resources that exist to provide compensation for your claim. The majority of auto accidents involve solely the insurance carriers of the parties involved in the accident. However, auto accidents may also involve additional insurance carriers, which many fail to consider. For example, auto accidents that occur as a result of third-party negligence often involve additional insurance policies from which compensation may be recovered. Specific examples include accidents which can trigger home owner’s insurance or premise liability insurance, or in cases where the cause of the accident is suspected to be a result of the city’s or county’s failure to maintain roadways or other municipality related negligence. A Chicago accident attorney can determine the appropriate sources from which to seek compensation for your injuries.
- Assignment of Claim. Claim number and adjuster. When an accident is reported to an insurance carrier, a claim number is typically assigned immediately. An adjuster may be immediately assigned to handle the claim, or assigned shortly thereafter. Although the claim number generally remains the same throughout the process, it is not uncommon for the adjuster assigned to your case to change during the process. In fact, the adjuster may change multiple times during the process. Generally, you can obtain the name and contact information of the current adjuster simply by providing the claim number to the insurance carrier.
- Property Damage. Claims for bodily injury are handled separately than claims for Property Damage. The most common property damage claim are those related to repair of the vehicle involved in the accident.
- Demand Letter. During the initial phases, your accident attorney will submit a demand letter to opposing parties requesting compensation for damages sustained as a result of the accident.
- Opening offers. Insurance companies will often provide a low-ball offer, in an attempt to quickly settle automobile accident claims. These offers are typically nowhere near commensurate with the actual injuries sustained during an accident. In some cases, the injury attorney will submit a counter-offer to the insurance company in an attempt to reach amicable settlement and provide just compensation to the client. However, if settlement negotiations fail to meet a client’s expectations of fair compensation, it is then necessary to proceed to trial. This phase is commonly referred to as the litigation phase.
Because the claims process is often confusing to those unfamiliar with legal, medical, and insurance processes, it is imperative that you seek assistance from a licensed attorney experienced in handing automobile accidents.
At Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C., our Chicago injury and accident attorneys are familiar with the claims process, as well as all other components of personal injury or wrongful death actions extending from auto accidents. Contact us today at (773) 516-4100, or online at www.zneimerlaw.com for a Free Personal Injury Consultation.