You expect the driver who causes a crash to pay for your costs. When the police officer who responds to the crash writes up a report making it clear that the other driver was the one at fault, you can make a claim against their policy for property damage losses and any expenses related to the injuries you suffered in the crash.
When dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, you will want to protect yourself, as the company will likely try to limit your claim.
Learn about the coverage available
The first thing you need to do to empower yourself while dealing with an insurance company is to learn the details of the coverage available to you. The greater the overall limit on the other driver’s policy, the more compensation you can request based on your expenses.
The other driver may have carried the minimum amount of liability coverage required under state law, or they might have a much bigger policy because they earn a decent income and have significant personal property that they want to protect.
Watch for leading questions
Insurance adjusters are often eager to manipulate someone into implicating themselves. If you admit making a mistake at the wheel or even apologize to the adjuster or the other driver, the things that you say could potentially hurt and imply you share some responsibility for the collision.
Insurance adjusters may want to talk to you or even have a recorded interview. You have the right to bring an attorney with you to such sessions, and asserting that right could protect you from manipulation intended to limit what the company pays.
Don’t let short-term needs outweigh your long-term liabilities
Medical bills and vehicle repair bills start piling up immediately after a crash, and you might feel quite anxious about bringing those accounts back into compliance. Insurance companies count on you prioritizing those short-term financial pressures over your long-term needs.
They may offer you a settlement that is less than what the crash cost you. Once you accept that settlement, you won’t be able to ask for more compensation even if you have thousands of dollars in additional expenses. The only way to protect yourself from the high-pressure and sometimes manipulative tactics employed by an insurance company is to establish what your claim is worth and then advocate for an appropriate amount of compensation.
Many people severely hurt in car crashes have neither the patience nor the time to deal with insurance adjusters. Being realistic about the insurance company’s intentions after a car crash could protect you and help you get the support you need.