After you’re involved in a car accident in a city like Fort Collins, the insurance companies will immediately start their investigation. The immediate start is because insurance companies want to limit their losses when paying out on any accident claim.
Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to lose money. So, insurance companies take both property damage and bodily injury claims very seriously. They have a team of investigators and adjusters who want to get a jump start on each and every claim.
A lot of people think that they pay for car insurance and that their car insurance company will be there when they have an accident. Right? Well, it does not exactly work that way, although it should. As I stated above, insurance companies are not in business to help people. They are in business to make money and if they can get out of paying a claim, due to contractual reasons or due to the facts, then they will gladly do so.
What Happens After You Call in a Claim to Your Insurance Company?
Normally, if you are involved in a car accident or car crash you call your own insurance company to initiate a claim (whether for property damage and/or bodily injuries).
Once you call your own insurance company or your insurance company’s claim’s department, a claim will be set up and transferred to a particular insurance adjuster in the company who specializes in either property damage or bodily injuries or both. That adjuster will develop a claim number and will attempt to get ahold of you right away.
Work with Your Insurance Company Only
Since this is your insurance company, you have a contractual duty to cooperate with them, give them a recorded statement and anything else that will help them determine liability or fault. If you decided not to cooperate, then your insurance company could deny coverage for the claim. You do not want that to happen.
Therefore, make sure you call your adjuster back and cooperate with them by sending photos, car repair estimates, etc. However, do not cooperate or talk to the other side’s insurance company. Repeat, do not talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company or insurance adjuster. They will use anything you say and twist it in a way to help their own insured. You need a skilled lawyer to talk to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
What Steps Will the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Take?
As soon as the at-fault driver’s insurance company receives notice of your claim, they will get started on their investigation. They will obtain the accident report from the local police department if the police did come to the scene. Normally then, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will do the following:
- Obtain Accident Report (if one was completed by the appropriate police department.
- Send an investigator or adjuster out to the scene to take photos and measurements.
- Send an investigator or adjuster out to take and record eyewitness statements, if in fact there were eye-witnesses.
- They will call their insured driver and get a recorded statement or non-recorded statement about the facts of the accident.
- They will try to obtain a statement or record a statement from you (but do not give them a statement and definitely do not give them a recorded statement).
- After doing their investigation above, the insurance adjuster will make a determination on liability or fault for the car accident. The insurance company will either admit liability or deny liability. If they deny liability, then they will deny your claim.
- If the at-fault driver’s insurance company admits liability for the accident, then they will pay out money to repair your car or pay you money for the total value of your car, if it was totaled.
- If the at-fault insurance company admits liability and you are injured, it will begin an investigation into you and your injuries.
How Does an At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Investigate You and Your Injuries?
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will start investigating you by doing the following:
- As I said before, the insurance adjuster will call you and try to get you to give a recorded statement. DON’T DO IT.
- The adjuster wants to know who you are. They will begin investigating you and your past history, criminal history, prior car accidents or any accidents for that matter. They want to find anything negative about you that they can use to defend their own insured.
- The insurance companies have various tools at their disposal to investigate you. One such tool is a proprietary insurance claims database. Through a computer search, they can see any and all insurance claims you may have made in the past.
- The insurance adjuster will get on Google and Facebook and other social networking sites to find anything negative on you. Maybe you were injured on May 5th and then you post a photo of you playing soccer on May 6. That will seriously harm your ability to pursue your injury claim.
- The adverse insurance company will send you medical authorizations or if you have an attorney, they will send them to your attorney. Medical authorizations signed by you let the insurance company discover anything and everything about your current and past medical history. I believe this is an invasion of privacy and never allow my clients to sign these authorizations. I will give the insurance adjuster all your medical records and bills when your case is ripe for settlement.
- Finally, when you are finished with your medical treatment, the adjuster will attempt to offer a settlement. Insurance adjusters normally handle hundreds of cases at one time. So, you are just a claim number to them. It is my job, as your attorney, to make sure they understand your injuries and your medical bills and their relation to the accident. An attorney who does not specialize in personal injury cases will not normally be very good at negotiating your settlement.
How I can Help
My name is Doug Allen and I have more than 22 years of negotiating car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents with insurance companies. In fact, I started my legal career back in 1990 by representing insurance companies when defending these types of claims.
I represented companies like State Farm and GEICO, among others in denying claims and defending the insurance companies in court. I now use that very experience in getting the best settlements for my injured clients.
If you have been injured in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident or any other type of motor vehicle accident in Fort Collins, Loveland, or other cities in northern Colorado, I can get you the highest settlement possible based on the injuries you have sustained.
Please get in touch or call me for a free consultation and I will meet you at your home, work or anywhere that suits you.