If another driver caused an accident – such as merging into your lane during the morning rush on the I-25 in Denver – you will need to file an insurance claim. As Colorado follows an at-fault auto insurance system, you’d file with the at-fault driver’s insurer (as well as your own if you have the appropriate coverage, like medpay that covers your medical bills).
This will require speaking with an insurance adjuster from that company. The communications that take place will be very important in the claims process. Accident victims should know what to say and do to ensure that everything is handled properly.
Initial Conversations with the Insurance Adjuster
When first talking to the insurance company, it’s important to keep emotions in check. The accident could have resulted in serious injuries and the other driver’s actions might have been careless or reckless. Yet maintaining composure and treating the insurance adjuster with respect will go farther than expressing anger or frustration.
Begin to assemble a file that will hold all accident-related information:
- name of the insurance company;
- phone number;
- name of the person with whom you are speaking; and
- take notes of the nature of your conversation(s) and what you discussed.
The insurance adjuster may ask a lot of questions during your initial conversation. Try to avoid giving too many details about the accident during your initial call, as it is still being investigated. Giving too much information now – which may not be correct or may be premature – could allow the insurer to misconstrue your statements.
Don’t provide too many details about yourself or the accident; share only the basics at this point:
- your name and contact information;
- the location;
- date; and
- type of accident.
Also, don’t get into specifics about your injuries. Only share general information, such as a fractured leg or neck pain. Explain that you are still under medical care, so the extent and severity of the injuries is not yet clear.
Follow-Up Conversations with the Insurance Adjuster
There may be follow-up discussions with the claims adjuster as well. At some point the insurance adjuster may press you to sign a written statement or a form releasing your medical records. Never agree to or sign anything without speaking first to an attorney.
It’s also likely the insurance adjuster will try to get the claim settled quickly. The sooner he can get you to agree, the better chance of having you accept less than what you are entitled. Until it’s clear how much can be expected in missed time from work, medical bills and other damages, wait.
If you agree to a settlement too early, expenses may ultimately be higher than anticipated. For instance, there may be additional medical treatment that is necessary or healing may take much longer than expected. There could be other forms of compensation available that aren’t realized until later on, such as pain and suffering or disability.
How an Attorney Can Help Deal with the Insurance Company
Of course, an attorney can step in and do the talking. Secure legal representation when the injuries in the accident are severe or if there is a dispute concerning fault. Before you file, make sure you check out our eBook, 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Colorado Injury Case, a useful resource for Denver accident victims.