After a car accident, you’ll likely have to deal with an insurer or multiple insurance companies. Sometimes these companies can cause issues. For help dealing with an insurer after an accident, call our Ohio insurance claims lawyers.
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Car Accident Insurance Claim Lawyers
When another person is responsible for the crash, then that person is liable for your injuries. However, at-fault drivers rarely payout claims themselves. Instead, their insurance company handles your claim for compensation. Or, you could also be seeking compensation from your own insurance company after a crash.
In either case, you deal with a large company that is highly knowledgeable about Ohio insurance law with a team of lawyers. To even the playing field, work with the Ohio insurance claims lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick.
Who’s Car Insurance is Liable for the Accident?
After you are hurt or lose a loved one in a car crash, you need to know who is responsible for the accident. This often requires obtaining evidence of another driver’s careless or reckless conduct behind the wheel.
Our Ohio insurance claims lawyers are highly experienced in investigating accidents. When you are going through an insurance claim, the insurer will also investigate the crash. You should not rely on their findings. They will interpret the facts in a way that supports them – not your claim. You will benefit from your own attorney conducting an independent investigation into the crash and gathering evidence.
Our lawyers will gather as much evidence related to the crash as possible, including:
- Crash report
- Video footage of the accident
- Documentation regarding the driver’s record
- Documentation related to the vehicle
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert witnesses
Through this evidence, we will determine who caused the accident. We will then analyze who is liable for compensating you for your injuries. This may be the at-fault driver. It could also be another party, such as the vehicle owner or the driver’s employer.
When we are confident as to who is liable for the crash, we will pursue compensation from them and their insurer.
Common Car Insurance Issues & Questions
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, our experienced lawyers have handled virtually every type of insurance claim and can assist with every aspect of your case.
What Can We Help With?
Common Car Insurance Claims We Handle
Car Accident Insurance Claims
In Ohio, someone is injured in a motor vehicle crash every 5.2 minutes, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Serious car accidents can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, disfigurement, and even death. If you have suffered a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, you may be experiencing significant physical pain along with anxiety about how you will pay your bills while you are attempting to recover.
When you suffer an injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim, which is usually filed against the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy.
Compensation from an Insurance Claim
While accident victims can pursue compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, most compensation for motor vehicle accidents comes from insurance companies.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the kind of insurance policy you carry, you will either need to file a claim with your insurance company or that of another driver.
Pursuing an insurance claim can be a complicated process, particularly in situations involving severe injuries or losses. The good news is that you do not have to face the insurance claim process alone. The experienced car accident attorneys at KNR will talk to third parties and negotiate with insurance companies for you.
In Ohio, compensation may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
Types of Car Insurance Coverage
This is the mandatory minimum policy required by Ohio law. Liability insurance is usually sufficient to cover the injury victim’s medical bills and repair costs after a car accident.
Pays to repair or replace the policyholder’s car after an accident, regardless of fault. It’s usually required for leased or financed cars.
This protects against damage to the policyholder’s vehicle by something other than an accident.
Uninsured/ Underinsured Coverage
This insurance is supplemental insurance for damage and medical expenses if you’re in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver.
The Insurance Claim Process
When someone else was responsible for your accident, you are going to pursue compensation from their insurer. This is known as a third-party claim. If you were to pursue compensation from your own insurance company, this would be considered a first-party claim.
Opening an Insurance Claim
Whenever an insurance company is notified of an accident and claim, it must promptly open a new claim and assign an adjuster. The next step is for the insurer to investigate. The insurer will gather evidence to determine who is at fault and liable. This is necessary in determining whether your claim should be approved or denied.
If the insurer believes its policyholder is not responsible for the accident, it will deny your claim. It may also deny your claim if it is outside of the policy coverage. Also, your claim may be wrongly denied, in which case you should speak with our Ohio insurance claims lawyers about insurance bad faith.
Evaluating Injuries & Damages
The insurer will also look closely at whether you have suffered an injury, and if so, the type and extent of that injury. This requires the insurer to review your medical records. To do this, the insurer will probably send you a release. They are hoping you will simply sign this document and send it back to them without talking to a lawyer.
We recommend you do not sign a release. This often gives an insurer access to your entire medical history, which is unnecessary. By working with an experienced car accident lawyer, you can be confident the insurer will receive the medical documentation it needs to value your injuries without invading your privacy.
Insurance Settlement Offers & Negotiations
If your insurance claim is approved, an insurer will offer you a settlement. It is in your best interest to not automatically sign a settlement offer or cash a check. Instead, discuss the value of your claim with an experienced Ohio insurance claims lawyer.
In most cases, a first settlement offer is low. An insurer will try to minimize its costs. You do not have to accept this first offer. Your Ohio insurance claims lawyer can make a demand for fair compensation, and then enter into negotiations with the insurer. If negotiations progress, they should lead to an appropriate resolution of your claim.
Issues During a Auto Insurance Claim
Through the years, we have seen all types of issues surrounding insurance claims. We have been involved in efficient insurance claims processes that have enabled our clients to receive appropriate compensation in a few months. We have also handled claims that repeatedly ran into problems. We have had to push and fight insurers every step of the way to ensure our clients received a fair settlement.
During our years of handling car accident claims, our Ohio insurance claims lawyers have found that some of the most common issues include:
Asking for Duplicate Documentation
Insurance adjusters will sometimes do things to make the claims process more difficult. One of these things is asking for duplicate and repetitive documentation regarding the crash and your injuries. By working with an attorney, you have someone to ensure adjusters receive what they need and do not get away with delaying a claim with unnecessary documentation requests.
Under-Valuing Your Vehicle
An insurer may recognize that the policy covers repairing or replacing your car. However, in order to save money, the insurer may argue that your car is worth less than it really is. This valuation is particularly important if you need a check to replace your vehicle for something of comparable value. Our lawyers will fight back against an insurer’s improper conclusions, such as a low-ball vehicle valuation.
Under-Valuing Your Injuries
An insurance company may agree that you are hurt, and it is responsible for paying you a settlement. However, it may try to claim you are not as hurt as you say. By trying to minimize your injuries and the effect they had on your life, the insurer is trying to place themselves in the position to pay you less. We are here to prove you are seriously injured and to prove the damages you have experienced.
Claiming You are Partly Responsible
One way insurers will fight to reduce the compensation they owe you is by claiming you contributed to the crash. They may claim you were also negligent. Under Ohio’s comparative negligence law, this would reduce your final compensation. Our Ohio insurance claims lawyers are highly experienced in battling contributory negligence claims. We will seek to prove you were not at fault or to minimize your contribution.
Denying Your Claim
There are many reasons why an insurer can deny a claim. When you seek compensation, the insurer will look for any fact that supports it denying your claim without violating the law. This means you may receive a letter stating your claim has been denied and then providing a reason. You should not treat this like the end of your case. Instead, if you are not working with an attorney yet, you should call Kisling, Nestico & Redick. We will look at your ability to appeal your claim or seek compensation through a lawsuit.
Claiming to Not Negotiate
When an insurer provides a settlement offer, they really want you to take it. They do not want you to refuse it and ask for more money. To this end, the adjuster may say this is the best possible offer. Many of our car accident clients are told an initial settlement offer is a final offer. This is rarely true. There is almost always room to negotiate for a better settlement.
Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Going through an insurance claim can be complicated and difficult. Yet, throughout the experience, you expect an insurer to treat you fairly. This is particularly true when it is in your own insurer. Not only is treating you fairly the right thing to do, it is also the law when it comes to insurance claims. Under the law, an insurance company is required to treat you with good faith and fair dealings. If they violate this law, it is known as bad faith.
If your insurer treats you unfairly during a first-party claim, and this results in economic damages or personal liability, then you may be able to sue the insurance company for bad faith. Being treated unfairly may amount to illegal conduct if your insurer:
- Fails to communicate with you
- Fails to properly and promptly investigate your claim
- Wrongly denies your claim
- Misrepresents or lies about the policy coverage
- Refuses to negotiate with the other claimant
Ohio law only recognizes bad faith in first-party claims. If you are involved in a third-party claim, you should work with our Ohio insurance claims lawyers as soon as possible. This may help you avoid unfair and unethical insurance practices, and it improves your chance of receiving an appropriate payout.
How An Attorney Helps Your Insurance Claim
It is important to understand that insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart. The reality is that insurance companies are for-profit businesses, which means that they will look for ways to reduce your claim.
Even your own insurance company is interested in closing your claim for the lowest amount possible. If the amount does not sufficiently cover your losses, you could be left paying out of your own pocket. Therefore, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before you accept any settlement offer.
What Will My Lawyer Do?
Enlisting the help of an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney early on will improve your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. A skilled personal injury lawyer will:
- Investigate the details of your accident and find the liable parties
- Collect evidence and witness statements to support your claim
- Gather the necessary documentation and medical records
- Compile evidence of all your financial damages and associated losses
- Identify all liable policies and communicate with the necessary companies
- Aggressively negotiate to obtain a favorable settlement while you focus on healing.
Can You Handle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
There’s no law that stops you from reaching an agreement with the insurance company without a lawyers help. But going it alone means dealing with a large company with teams of attorneys and considerable resources focused on paying you as little as possible.
Regardless of whether you decide to settle your claim with the insurance company or take your case to court, having an attorney who’s dedicated to getting you the best possible outcome and advocating for your interests gives you a better chance at success.
Contact Our Ohio Insurance Claims Lawyers Today
When you are hurt in an accident and need to obtain compensation from an insurer, it is a good idea to get help. In minor accidents that only result in property damage, you can usually deal with an insurer yourself. However, when you are dealing with serious injuries, the stakes are too high to go through the process without legal representation.