If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you weren’t at fault, you’re probably in the process of filing a claim with your insurance company. Although insurance companies exist to offer aid when it’s most needed, it’s important to keep in mind that at the end of the day, these companies are also businesses. They have a vested interest in their own profitability, which means finding reasons to pay you less. Because of this, it’s good to know how insurance companies go about assessing your claim.
INITIAL CONTACT BY AN INSURANCE REPRESENTATIVE
Once a claim is filed, an insurance representative will contact you to gather more information about the accident and ask about the other witnesses. With an injury filing, a claims adjuster will most likely be assigned to your case to investigate the claim. Ideally, their job is to combat insurance fraud, but companies worried about the bottom line will sometimes deny legitimate claims.
BASIC CLAIM INVESTIGATION COMPONENTS
Assessing your claim will start with the information you offer in the initial contact, so it’s a good idea to record your memories of the accident to avoid any contrasting information in the future. With casualty and property insurers, an ISO claim search takes place. Their search report will include your basic information, a summary of similar claims, whether or not you have previous claims, and an extensive claim analysis.
Generally, the basic elements of an investigation include gathering images for evidence, physically inspecting the car for damage, visiting the scene of the accident to see if there could be other influencing factors, taking statements from witnesses, and recording your official statement about the accident.
It’s highly possible the investigators will utilize an Accurint search, which includes far more details than mere data basics and the accident itself. These searches can bring up addresses, house values, average neighborhood income, financial holdings, bankruptcies, criminal records, professional licenses, voter registration, permits for hunting or guns, family members, and details gleaned from your online and social media presence.
SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT
It is becoming increasingly common for investigators to issue a social media report. It’s crucial to understand that any conflicting revelations acquired on your social media pages may contribute to your claim being invalidated. It’s recommended to not discuss your injuries online or post any photos until the claim is settled. This is because both comments and photos can be taken out of context or misconstrued and used against you.
MORE INVASIVE TACTICS
Be aware that various, more extreme tactics can be used to garner “evidence” that may be used to negate the validity of your claim. This includes video surveillance, photos monitoring your daily activities, or recording statements and interviews in an attempt to trip you up in questioning.
If you’re going through an assessment, stay calm. Take photos for your own documentation, keep paperwork and all written communication, stay off social media, and consult your lawyer. When discussing the accident, be honest, always ask for clarification, don’t use language that exaggerates the circumstances, answer only the questions given, and do not immediately agree to settlement offers. Overall, be patient. It might be a drawn-out process, but it’s worth the fight.