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KNR Legal Blog
Car accidents are already a hassle. This is especially true if you’re dealing with physical injuries. But lo and behold, insurance companies are known to throw curveballs at people with a valid claim.
Here are 12 surprises you might encounter when dealing with insurance after a car accident.
Navigating the aftermath of a car crash can be a whirlwind. It can feel like too much to bear with all the paperwork, phone calls, doctor visits, auto repair shops, and other hassles. But amidst the chaos, something else is lurking—unforeseen insurance challenges. Whether from your carrier or the party who caused your accident, these unexpected obstacles can make the road to recovery even more complex.
No matter what happened in your auto accident or how clear liability is, you should anticipate playing the waiting game to some degree.
A lot of this can be attributed to the bureaucracy you’d find with any large company. Claims must be processed, reviewed by multiple parties, and finally approved. It’s a procedure that can take some time. However, some insurance companies may delay processing claims, hoping you’ll get frustrated and give up or accept less money.
You might expect a fair offer right off the bat. After all, you submitted your medical expenses and information about your lost wages. What else do they need? It’s frustrating, but don’t be shocked if the first offer feels like pocket change.
It’s a common tactic for insurance adjusters to lowball initially, hoping you won’t realize your claim’s true value.
The need for appropriate medical attention after a car accident cannot be overstated. This is the best way to document your injuries, ensure they are correctly treated, and you appreciate their significance. When you file a personal injury claim, the insurance company may request your medical records or that you see their doctor instead of yours. Why? They are looking for ways to diminish your injuries.
Sometimes, these insurance industry-friendly doctors will minimize your injuries, which might reduce your settlement. But you should consult your doctors first and don’t just rely on what an insurance company tells you about the extent of your injuries.
Watch what you say to insurance adjusters. These folks can seem friendly on the phone, but regardless of whether they represent your insurance company or the party at fault, they will put the company’s interests above yours. These professionals are trained to get you to say things on record that aren’t in your favor. They can later use your statements against you.
That sprained ankle from a decade ago might suddenly become relevant after a reckless driver rear-ends you at a red right and you break your ankle. The insurance company probably won’t be able to dispute liability, but they may try to deny the severity of your injury.
Insurance companies might dig into your past health records to prove your current injuries aren’t from the wreck at all.
It can feel like you’re in a spy movie, but for high-value claims, the insurance company might actually spy on you. Their aim? Catching you doing something that contradicts your injury claims. If they suspect you might exaggerate your injuries or fabricate details, they might employ private investigators to watch your activities and collect evidence.
Suppose you’ve filed a claim mentioning severe leg injuries that inhibit walking or standing for extended periods. A week later, you decide to attend a local fair, thinking a short walk might be therapeutic. An investigator might film you as you walk around, using this as evidence to challenge your injuries.
Don’t engage or confront the investigators if you suspect you’re being watched. Not only can this escalate the situation, but anything you say or do can be used against you. Instead, note the surveillance, maintain consistency in your activities with your claims, and inform your attorney.
You love your car, and it deserves the best care. But insurance companies might prefer a quick fix over a more appropriate replacement. Or, they might not recognize that your car’s value has dropped since the accident.
Imagine claiming after a car accident and hearing, “Sorry, you’re not covered.” Sadly, sometimes, insurance companies routinely look for ways to refuse coverage based on policy technicalities. Disqualifying reasons include a lapse in premium payments, late reporting, insurance policy exceptions, policy misrepresentations, and more.
The person who caused the accident has insurance – great news, right? But hold on! Their insurance might not cover all your costs significantly if your bills exceed their policy limit. In these cases, your best option may be to file a claim with your own underinsured/uninsured motorist policy.
Ohio uses a comparative negligence standard to assess liability. This means you can still recover damages if you are partly responsible for a collision, but your compensation will be reduced by your degree of fault. This is an essential factor, but it can add a layer of complexity. Additionally, if there’s more than one person at fault, things get sticky fast. Insurance companies might bicker over who should pay what.
There’s a hidden clock counting down if you’re seeking compensation through a personal injury settlement. The ‘statute of limitations‘ is the deadline to file your claim. In Ohio, it’s generally two years after your car accident, and while that may seem like plenty of time, you might miss out on any compensation if you miss it.
Insurance companies require a thorough paper trail to verify the legitimacy of claims. The more extensive your damages or injuries, the more documentation you might need. To process your claim, you might need to provide heaps of documents, from medical bills to wage slips. It’s like schoolwork but less fun.
Document fatigue can lead some to abandon their claims or miss out on entitled compensation by accepting an offer just to get it over with. So, it’s crucial to stay organized. Create folders for different documents, make copies of everything, and maintain a log of correspondence with the insurance company.
If the paperwork becomes unmanageable, consider seeking help from a legal professional who can guide you through the process and ensure your claim remains uncompromised. Remember, while the paperwork may be tedious, it’s the pathway to the compensation you deserve.
Navigating an insurance claim post-car wreck can feel like an obstacle course. Being aware of the possible complications can equip you for the journey ahead. But if you’re ever in doubt or suspect that an insurance company is crossing the line by acting in bad faith, consider working with an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and you get the fair treatment you deserve.
Kisling, Nestico & Redick has been helping people through the insurance claim process and securing maximum compensation for over 15 years.