When you get injured in a car accident that was another driver’s fault, recovering your losses usually involves dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, this is not an easy process. There are several challenges—and risks—involved, and even simple mistakes can leave you without the compensation you deserve.
As a result, if you have an insurance claim after a car accident in Illinois, it is best to put an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. But, even when working with an attorney, you must be careful to protect your legal rights. With this in mind, here are 7 tips for dealing with an at-fault driver’s insurer after a collision:
When dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a car accident, it is very important to be careful about what you say. While your goal is simply to collect the financial compensation you deserve, the insurance company’s goal is to pay you as little as possible. It will try to deny your claim by all means available—and this includes using your own words against you, if possible.
Generally, it is best to let your lawyer communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf. If an adjuster working for the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you, you do not have to answer any questions, and you should not hesitate to say “I don’t know,” or “You’ll need to speak with my lawyer.”
Once you file your insurance claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should conduct an investigation, and it should use the evidence gathered during this investigation to make a determination of liability. While the insurance company might determine that it is liable for the accident, it also might not.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company determines that it isn’t liable, you should not take this as the last word on your claim. Instead, you should rely on your lawyer to conduct a thorough investigation and make an accurate determination of liability with your best interests in mind.
Just as you shouldn’t trust the at-fault driver’s insurance company to accurately determine liability, you also shouldn’t trust it to accurately calculate your losses. Much of the information needed to calculate your losses will be in your possession. The insurance company’s calculation will only focus on a small subset of your losses, and it will only represent a small fraction of the amount you are entitled to recover.
One way the at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to gather information about your claim is by asking you to sign a medical release. While the adjuster may say that the release is needed in order to calculate payment for your medical expenses, this is not entirely true. You (or your lawyer) can submit the relevant medical records; and, if you sign a release, this will give the insurance company access to all of your medical records—not just those related to your car accident.
As you work through the insurance claim process, you should document the effects of your car accident injuries. Each day, write down your pain levels, anything you are unable to do, and any events you are forced to miss. Keep copies of your medical and employment records as well. Your lawyer will use this documentation to calculate just compensation for your accident-related losses.
One of the best ways you can protect your claim when dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company is to prioritize your physical and emotional recovery. If you do everything you can to recover as fully and quickly as possible, the insurance company won’t have any excuse to try to deny payment of just compensation.
Finally, when dealing with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, it is imperative that you not settle your claim too soon. Once you settle your insurance claim, it’s over. So, be patient, work with your lawyer to prove how much you are entitled to recover, then make an informed decision (based on your lawyer’s advice) when a settlement offer is on the table.
Do you need help filing an insurance claim after a car accident in Illinois? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information.
To speak with a lawyer in Chicago, Oak Park, or Rockford about your claim in confidence, call (708) 358-8080 or request a FREE consultation online now.