January 17, 2024
How to Deal With the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
Did you know accidentally revealing you were tired at the time of your car accident could potentially result in a denied car accident insurance claim?
What you say and do after a car accident can be the difference between the insurer compensating you fairly for the damages incurred or not compensating you at all.
If an insurer is given a reason to doubt the validity of your claim and pay you less than what you deserve, that is exactly what they will do.
Remember that an auto insurer will almost always prioritize their bottom line over your best interests. They may act like they’re on your side, but they’re not. That’s why it’s crucial you take time to educate yourself about how to deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
To help you navigate the car accident settlement process, Hensley Legal has compiled a list of five useful tips for how to get money from a car accident when you are not at fault. But first, let’s touch on some car accident basics.
What Is a Car Insurance Claim?
A car insurance claim is a request for financial compensation to cover the cost of damages to both your property and person.
As a personal injury firm, we deal only with car accident injury claims. If your car accident insurance claim solely involves property damage, it’s likely the settlement process will be straightforward and easy for you to handle on your own.
Who Covers My Injuries in a Car Accident?
If you were injured in a car accident, you may be wondering how to submit medical bills to auto insurance and be compensated for your pain and suffering.
In Indiana, any injuries incurred as a result of a car accident are generally covered by the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company.
How fault is determined in an Indiana car accident can be complicated, since a fault percentage is assigned to each party involved based on their level of responsibility for the car accident. In other words, unlike in other states, it’s possible to be partly at fault for a car accident in Indiana.
That said, a party will only be eligible for a personal injury settlement from the other party’s insurer if they are less than 51% at fault for a car accident.
If you’re more than 51% at fault for a car accident, you won’t be eligible for a settlement, but it’s possible your auto or health insurer will reimburse you for the medical costs you incurred. The best way to find out if you’ll be reimbursed is to speak with the insurer directly.
Do I Call My Insurer or Theirs?
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. Perhaps you lost your only form of transportation or have injuries that are preventing you from working. You want to get the car accident settlement process started. The question on your mind is: Do I call the other person’s insurance or mine?
After a car accident, you should always notify your own auto insurer about the incident within a reasonable amount of time, since your policy may require it. As far as calling the other party’s insurer goes, it would be advisable to not rush into it, as what you say could be used against you — particularly if fault has not yet been determined.
Furthermore, you should only be reaching out to the other party’s insurer if you are certain you’re less than 51% at fault for the accident and are seeking a car accident settlement (known as compensatory damages) for your injuries.
5 Tips for Navigating the Car Accident Settlement Process
Since you’re reading this article for tips on how to file an insurance claim against the other driver, we’re going to assume you were deemed as not being at fault for your car accident.
While this is a good thing, you can’t declare yourself victorious just yet. The battle with the insurer is just beginning.
The auto insurer will be keeping a close eye on you after your accident. One wrong move, and you could end up with an unreasonably low settlement or denied claim.
With that being said, if you follow our tips for how to file a car insurance claim, you will be setting yourself up for success during the car accident settlement process.
Find our five most useful tips for how to file a claim with someone else’s insurance below.
1. File Your Car Accident Injury Claim Early
How long do you have to file a personal injury claim in Indiana? The deadline is two years from the date of your accident (or the date you discovered your injuries or reasonably should have discovered them).
In spite of this generous deadline, the car accident settlement process is somewhere procrastination will not pay off. In fact, procrastination could cause you to not be paid anything at all.
The insurer is generally only going to compensate you for your verifiable injuries. The longer you wait to file your car accident injury claim, the more ammunition the insurer will have to argue your injuries were caused by another incident.
Suppose you were injured in a car accident a couple months ago, but you have put off filing your auto claim. You then proceed to throw your back out while weightlifting. Now, when you go to file your auto claim, your insurer could deny it on account of not being able to prove your injury was caused by the accident. If you’d filed within a few weeks of your accident, the insurer probably would’ve had no grounds for suggesting your injuries were caused by something else.
2. Be Proactive About Your Medical Care
If it doesn’t appear like you’ve suffered serious injuries, you may be wondering: Should I go to a doctor after a car accident?
The answer is almost always yes. While you don’t need to be seen by a doctor right away unless you have crippling injuries, we’d advise against waiting longer than a couple weeks to get evaluated.
Diagnostic tests could reveal injuries that could intensify over time if not promptly treated. Additionally, if you wish to be fairly compensated for your injuries, the insurer will need to see documentation from your medical providers. If you don’t see any providers, not only won’t this evidence exist, but it may cause the insurer to believe your injuries were not that serious, which could result in a reduced settlement.
Lastly, if you see a doctor and are provided with a treatment plan, you will want to follow that plan to a T. In short, if you don’t take your injuries seriously, the insurer won’t either.
3. Avoid Discussing the Car Accident With the Insurer
It’s natural to wonder what to say to insurance after an accident. This is somewhere a less-is-more approach will serve you well.
While you can provide the other party’s insurer with basic information about yourself (such as your name, address, phone number), avoid revealing any details about the car accident until you’ve had the opportunity to consult with a personal injury attorney.
Auto insurers usually have a few tricks up their sleeve to get you to make a mistake during the car accident settlement process. For example, they may ask you about your emotional state on the day of the accident. If you reveal you were upset, it could be used to absolve the other party of some blame.
Another favorite method of insurers is casually asking your permission to record the call. If you’re asked this, do not provide your consent. Steer clear of providing any written statements to the insurer as well.
4. Do Not Accept a Quick Settlement From the Insurer
Car accidents generally aren’t just minor inconveniences; they can cause major financial hardships.
Because of these hardships, you may be tempted to accept a lump-sum settlement if the insurer offers you one at the start of the car accident settlement process, but this is just another tactic the insurer is using to lowball you.
If you have the resources to hold out a little while for a settlement, it would be in your best interest to do so. Remember that insurers offering you a quick settlement means they likely will want you to sign a waiver releasing them of any liability. This serves their best interests, not yours.
For example, what if your injuries worsen over time? If you were to accept a quick settlement from the insurer early in the car accident personal injury claim process, you generally would not be able to pursue additional compensatory damages from the insurer.
Note that there are options that could help you make ends meet if you need money while waiting for a car accident settlement, so before accepting a lowball settlement offer from the insurer, speak with a personal injury attorney.
5. Work With a Personal Injury Law Firm — It Costs Nothing Upfront!
The one factor that can exponentially increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome during the car accident settlement process is working with a personal injury law firm.
At every step of the auto insurance claims process, your attorney will be at your side guiding you. In addition, your attorney can arrange and manage your medical care, as well as negotiate with the insurer on your behalf.
Are you wondering how to claim lost wages from a car accident or compensation for the PTSD you now have to live with? By having an attorney representing you, you will be more likely to be compensated for these types of losses.
The best part is: Hensley Legal will charge you nothing upfront! Only if we win you a settlement will we take attorney fees.
FAQs: Car Accident Personal Injury Claim Process
If you didn’t find the answers you were seeking above, perhaps you’ll find them in our FAQs. Check them out below.
Can you claim a car accident without a police report?
If you were involved in a minor auto collision, you may be wondering: Is it necessary to call the police after a car accident?
In Indiana, a police report is mandatory when a car accident results in death, injuries or in property damage that exceeds $1,000.
If you had a minor car accident, it may not be necessary to report the incident to police, although doing so could help expedite your property damage claim.
If you are unsure about whether to call the police, erring on the side of caution is always recommended.
How do I get insurance to pay for car damage?
If you only incurred property damage after a car accident, you’re likely wondering: how do insurance companies pay out claims on a car?
If you are only seeking compensation for property damage, you likely will be able to handle the auto claim process on your own. Your car is worth a certain amount, so if you’re eligible for a property damage settlement, you generally won’t need to negotiate for it.
Review Hensley’s free property damage guide for more information.
What happens after a hit-and-run accident?
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident, we feel for you. Fleeing the scene of an accident is irresponsible and should never be done.
That said, you should get in touch with the police as soon as possible to report any information you can remember about the other driver and their vehicle. As the police do their best to track down the responsible party, you may be able to seek reimbursement for your medical costs and property damage from your own insurer.
What happens if you get insurance after an accident?
If you get insurance after an accident, you will not be reimbursed for any costs incurred as a result of the accident unless the other driver was at fault and had auto insurance coverage.
Insurance policies have a start date and end date. Any incidents that occur outside of this window will not be covered.
Can you get pain and suffering from your own insurance?
In Indiana, you generally will not be able to get pain and suffering from your own insurance unless you are deemed as being less than 51% at fault for a car accident.
That said, if you are deemed as being less than 51% at fault, you usually will not be seeking damages for pain and suffering from your own insurer, but from the at-fault party’s insurer.
How do I settle a car accident privately?
It’s not a good idea to settle a car accident privately. In fact, we strongly advise against it.
Suppose someone rear ends you and accepts blame, but there are no witnesses or written statements to confirm that they did. That same person could turn around and say you’re fabricating the whole incident, and you would have no evidence to prove otherwise.
Consult with an attorney before going the route of settling a car accident privately.
Sail Through the Car Accident Settlement Process With Our Help
The car accident personal injury claim process can be tedious. Fortunately, we’re here to help you through it. Our attorneys will handle all the heavy lifting so you can focus on your recovery. Call our personal injury firm today for a free consultation. We’re eager to try to help you get the car accident settlement you deserve.