What Car Accident Victims Should Know About Medical & Property Release Forms
Posted in: Car Accidents
If you’re hurt in an Ohio car accident and need compensation, you probably assume that the responsible motorist’s insurance company will handle your claim promptly. However, even if the circumstances surrounding the incident seem clear, you may be disappointed to receive a rejection or low offer that doesn’t cover your damages.
AAA auto insurance accident claims can be particularly challenging, which is why retaining representation from an experienced Ohio insurance claim lawyer is critical.
Though all insurance companies in Ohio have a duty to pay valid claims, many skirt their obligations in the interest of profits, including AAA Insurance. In some situations, this conduct amounts to bad faith. Our bad faith insurance lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick are committed to enforcing your rights and confirming insurers comply with state law.
Established in 1902, the American Automobile Association (AAA) is one of the oldest insurers in the United States. Organized as a federation of regional motor clubs, the company includes the AAA East Central, which serves several counties in Ohio.
Though its record on environmental advocacy and conservation efforts is admirable, the company has received complaints from victims who suffer injuries in car accidents. Some of these issues may be due to not following proper procedures for filing a claim, which generally involves:
Still, many victims run into roadblocks even when they fully comply with every step and supply the necessary paperwork. In fact, a Consumer Reports survey reveals that up to 26 percent of claimants experienced problems in filing AAA auto insurance accident claims.
The statistics on AAA’s claims-related issues are not so surprising once you realize how insurers operate. These companies are businesses, and their success is directly tied to profits. They view your claim for compensation as a threat to their bottom line.
Employees are instructed to find reasons to reject your claim or offer low-ball settlements. The AAA insurance adjuster may:
Insurance company representatives are notorious for attempting to place the blame on you for the crash. This strategy stems from Ohio’s comparative negligence law, which provides that victims can only recover compensation if their fault is not greater than that of the person, they’re claiming was negligent.
In other words, you are barred from receiving any monetary damages if you were 50.1% or more blameworthy in the motor vehicle crash. Plus, when you’re less than 50% at fault in the collision, your recovery is reduced by the percentage of negligence attributable to you.
For instance, you may be entitled to $50,000 for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other monetary damages. However, there is evidence that you were 10 % responsible for causing the auto accident. Your award is reduced by $5,000, so you may recover $45,000.
Though Ohio’s comparative negligence statute applies to car accident cases that go to trial, insurance agents will raise the issue of your own conduct when handling your claim. Examples include allegations that:
An insurance company may try to convince you that you don’t have a valid claim under these and other scenarios and that you stand to recover nothing if you take the case to court.
It can generally take anywhere from a few months to two years to reach a AAA settlement. The time it takes depends on the complexity of your injury claim, your attorney, the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate, and your degree of fault. The time it takes to reach a settlement with AAA also depends on the time it takes to go through the process. For example, medical treatment can take a few months, and it can take a week or two to compile and send all the necessary documents.
You should be wary of a settlement offer that comes too quickly. Low-ball car accident settlements are a well-known tactic for getting people to accept less than what they deserve. It’s usually best to consult a lawyer about what to expect in your situation and what’s a reasonable timeframe.
No. Insurance adjusters are not interested in your well-being. Any written or recorded statement you make about your accident, the events leading up to it, and possible fault could hinder any future legal action or undervalue your claim.
Not without first consulting your lawyer. While submitting medical documentation is part of the process if you’re injured, insurance companies like AAA will look for opportunities to diminish your injuries. You may be asked to submit your complete medical history or undergo an exam from a doctor they select.
If you’re filing under your own AAA car insurance policy, you must report the accident “promptly” or “as soon as possible.” But that does not mean you have to immediately file a claim. While AAA will consider claims even after years, the Ohio statute of limitations in personal injury claims is typically around 2 years.
If you feel that your claim was wrongly denied or that you were inadequately compensated, you should speak with an attorney. You may have to counter AAA’s low-ball settlement offer, send a demand letter, or move through the company’s formal appeal process.
When you understand how insurance companies like AAA approach your claim for compensation, you can see the value in having an experienced attorney on your side. Our insurance bad faith lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick are the skilled advocates you need to protect your interests in AAA auto insurance accident claims. We’re also prepared to take the case to court if necessary to fight for your rights.