Tips for Filing Car Accident Claims Against Insurance Companies
How the Insurance Companies Work
Just as every snake has its own unique characteristics, not every car insurance company is the same. The larger auto insurance companies have local adjusters and lawyers who work exclusively for them known as “captive counsel.” These people are employees of the company whose job is to minimize your claim and thereby minimize the amount the company pays out. Smaller and medium-sized insurance companies often are not large enough to have an adjuster in every city or a law firm on the payroll in every town. There are a number of ways the smaller and mid-sized insurance companies handle claims that range from in house adjusters to contracting out claims to independent claims adjusting companies. It helps to have an attorney who is familiar with the insurance company handling your claim and how it is set up. This knowledge may play a role in determining the best way to pursue the claim.
Accident Claim Adjuster Tactics
It has been our experience that many insurance companies of all sizes like to switch adjusters around, forcing the claimant to repeat themselves until they get frustrated and do harm to their own case. This is a common shared tactic of most insurance companies. However, not all of them employ the same tactics. A number of insurance companies use claims-adjusting software such as the infamous Colossus program to devalue your claim. Below are links to specific pages offering tips on dealing with some of the different auto insurance carriers when bringing a car accident claim:
- Allied Auto Insurance Claims
- Allstate Insurance Auto Accident Claims
- Farmers Insurance Group Claims
- Fred Loya Insurance Claims
- GEICO Car Accident Claims
- Liberty Mutual Insurance Claims
- Mercury Insurance Claims
- Mid-Century Insurance Claims
- Nationwide Insurance Claims
- Progressive Auto Insurance Claims
- Rodney D. Young Insurance Claims
- Safeco Insurance Claims
- State Farm Insurance Car Accident Claims
- USAA PIP Insurance Claims
- 21st Century Insurance Claims
It helps to be familiar with the company and its specific claims adjusting tactics before you try to pursue a car accident claim.
Must I Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
You do not have to hire an attorney following an auto accident. However, if you suffered more than just property loss in a very straight-forward accident, you are taking a great risk by not hiring an attorney who handles car accident claims. Insurance companies put their claims adjusters through extensive training. Their primary role is to reduce the loss exposure for the company.
If you sustained injuries or liability is disputed (even in part) in your case, we would recommend you seek the advice of an attorney before taking any further steps. Some things you need to know are this:
- 1) You should never give a recorded statement without your own attorney present.
- 2) Just because the property damage adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company says they are “accepting liability” does not mean they will pay all of your medical bills and compensate you for your losses fairly. That simply means they are agreeing to pay some yet-to-be-determined amount for the vehicle damage. Bodily injury adjusters will “audit” your medical bills and offer to pay you only the amount that they decide to consider “reasonable and customary.”
- 3) They will usually not pay your bills as you go. They make you front the money for all of your care and then offer you a settlement at the end once your finances are stretched thin. They know you are less likely to seek care timely if you are struggling financially.
- 4) If you settle your claim against the other driver without getting permission from your own first-party insurance carrier, you may be waiving your right to make an underinsured/uninsured motorist benefit claim.
- 5) Beware of insurance companies swoop and settle tactics:
Be aware also, that they have lawyers on staff advising them as needed on how to minimize your damages. Knowing this, wouldn’t it be wise to have a lawyer advising you along the way?
How Hiring a Lawyer For A Car Accident Can Help
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we handle car accident claims every day. This is the primary type of injury claim we see in Houston. We understand that auto accidents can be scary and inconvenient when they arise. If you call us for a free consultation, we will:
- Discuss your case with you and let you know what to expect for the company you are dealing with.
- Help you obtain the medical care you need if you do not have affordable access.
- Answer your questions along the way.
- Pay the up from costs of ordering bills and records, filing a claim and even a lawsuit if necessary.
- Charge you no attorney fees and no expenses unless we make a recovery for you.
- Give you peace of mind of not having to fight an adjuster so you can focus on recovering.
Call us for a free consutation today at: 713-932-0777.
Answers to Other Questions About How to File a Car Accident Claim
- What is covered by the Texas liability auto insurance policy?
- What claims do passengers have?
- What is a diminished value claim?
- Why do I need my UIM permission to settle with other drivers/tortfeasors?
- What is a Stowers demand letter?
- What is the importance of personal injury protection in the Texas auto liability policy?
- What Texas laws pertain to hit-and-run accidents?
- Will auto liability insurance cover intentional acts?
- Who is at fault in a rear-end auto collision?
- What is the difference between a first-party and a third-party insurance claim?
- Will my auto insurance rates go up if I file a claim?
- What constitutes a minor impact collision?