When filing a third-party insurance claim, you deal with the insurance company representing the other party in your case. That insurer is not on your side, and adjusters often look for reasons to lower or reject your claim.
You can help prevent this by avoiding the following mistakes, including failing to document your accident, being rude to adjusters, and accepting low settlement offers. You always have the right to talk to a personal injury attorney, so consider this option, as well.
Failing to Report and Document Your Accident for the Third-Party Claim
One of the main reasons an insurance adjuster can deny or lower your claim is if you don’t have sufficient evidence of your losses or the other party’s negligence. Establishing this evidence starts from the moment the accident happens.
Reporting an accident means more than just notifying an insurer. In some cases, it means contacting the police. This is particularly important if your claim is related to a traffic accident or a crime. Police reports not only prove that an event took place but also provide evidence from an authoritative source.
Seeking medical attention as soon as possible also documents your accident. Personal injury claim adjusters look at medical records to determine if you are as injured as you claim. Delaying care is sometimes seen as proof that you are less injured.
Gather and Keep Evidence
Another way to avoid mistakes with a third-party insurance claim is to collect and keep information about your accident:
- Physical evidence like damaged items or even clothing
- Receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses
- Bills and invoices related to your losses
- Pay stubs and employment records showing lost income
An insurance adjuster might question the amount of compensation you seek if you don’t have evidence to back it up.
Making Mistakes When Providing Info to the Third-Party Insurer
A particularly nerve-wracking part of filing a third-party personal injury claim is talking to insurance company representatives. What you say is on the record and often used against you.
Rather than worrying about what you shouldn’t say, focus on what you can say:
- Your name and contact information
- Time and date of the accident
- Basic information about what happened
- Witness contact information
That’s all they need. Avoiding mistakes in third-party insurance claims can boil down to not saying anything at all. When in doubt, check with an attorney from our team before providing any information.
Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
You are not required to give a full, recorded statement detailing what happened. Many accident victims accept that this is part of the process, but you only need to report the incident. Insurance adjusters then conduct an investigation. If they pressure you to give a recorded statement, refer them to us.
Don’t Let Your Emotions Take Over
Another common mistake in third-party insurance claims is venting your frustration to an adjuster. This is naturally a frustrating situation, especially when you feel your injuries and losses aren’t appropriately recognized. However, you don’t want to give an adjuster any reason to view your claim negatively. Prioritize staying polite.
Not Negotiating for a Settlement for the Third-Party Insurance Claim
If you are offered a settlement not long after you were injured, you may take that as a good sign. After all, the insurance company isn’t delaying the claim or hassling you.
In reality, quick settlement offers are typically less than you deserve. Insurers offer them to try to close a claim without having to pay much. Keep in mind that you could receive compensation for:
- Any medical bills, including past and future medical treatment
- Rehabilitation, mental health, and pain management costs
- Anything you paid out-of-pocket for accident losses
- Lost income, including from side jobs
- Reduced ability to earn an income due to injuries
- Pain and suffering, inconvenience, and changes to your quality of life
How do you know what all these losses add up to? That’s the point—early in a case, you likely don’t know the full extent of your losses. Insurers are counting on it. Recent stats from the Insurance Information Institute (III) found that the average bodily injury liability claim for a car accident was almost $16,000, and that’s just the average. Conditions like traumatic brain injuries can cost more than other injuries.
Our attorneys encourage you to wait until you know more about your situation. Sometimes, this means waiting until you reach your maximum medical improvement. Taking that time allows your legal team to construct a full picture of your losses.
You also have the right to negotiate your settlement terms. Personal injury lawyers from our firm can represent you in negotiations, recognizing and avoiding any additional mistakes in your third-party insurance claim.
Failing to Explore Legal Options When Filing a Third-Party Claim
Filing an insurance claim isn’t always the only step you can take to receive compensation. If you were hurt by someone else’s actions, you could have grounds for a lawsuit.
Don’t hesitate to explore a lawsuit if:
- Settlement negotiations have stalled.
- The parties involved can’t agree on who is at fault.
- The statute of limitations is expiring.
- Another party played a role in the accident.
- The liable party has insufficient insurance coverage.
- The insurance company acted in bad faith.
Filing a lawsuit is sometimes part of the negotiating process, a way of showing the insurance company and the liable party how serious we are about getting fair compensation.
At other times, you can file both a lawsuit and an insurance claim. For instance, if you were hit by a drunk driver in a car accident, you can file a third-party insurance claim with the driver’s insurer. If your airbags were defective and failed, causing you more serious injuries, you can also file a lawsuit against the airbag manufacturer.
In other words, your legal options depend on the specifics of your case. Don’t miss out on maximizing your compensation by failing to explore these other avenues.
We Can Help You Avoid Common Third-Party Insurance Claim Mistakes
You can talk to a lawyer from KJT Law Group at any time about what mistakes to avoid when filing a third-party insurance claim. Some accident victims assume they should only contact an attorney once there is a problem with their claim. Our personal injury lawyers can actually help you file, conduct an independent investigation, negotiate settlement terms, and determine your other legal options. Call today for a free consultation: (818) 507-8525.