After you get into a car accident in San Antonio and file an insurance claim, you will need to go through the insurance company’s investigation process before you can obtain a financial settlement. Certain things about how insurance companies investigate car accidents are important to know as a claimant, as they can prevent the insurance carrier from taking advantage of you.
The Company Assigns an Insurance Claims Adjuster to Your Case
First, the insurance company will assign a professional known as an insurance claims adjuster to your case. Most insurance companies also hire insurance investigators to evaluate a claim for signs of fraud. The insurance claims adjuster is the person in charge of reviewing your claim, investigating the car accident and making a recommendation to the insurance company.
The Adjuster Calls You for Details
An insurance adjuster will investigate a car accident case in many different ways. First, he or she will obtain a brief summary of the accident from those involved. Expect a phone call from an insurance adjuster as soon as the day of the accident, or in the days following. The insurance adjuster will ask you questions about your accident, such as:
- Your police report number
- The time and date of the crash
- The exact location of the collision
- How many other vehicles and drivers were involved
- The other driver’s contact and insurance information
- A description of your property damage
- A description of your injuries
- Why you believe the accident occurred
You do not have to have answers to all of these questions. Remain honest and do not speculate about anything. If you don’t have an answer or don’t understand a question, say so. Be aware that the claims adjuster does not want what is best for you; his or her main goal is to save the insurance company money. Do not admit fault to a claims adjuster and do not agree to provide a recorded statement. This is a tactic often used to twist your own words against you.
The Adjuster Investigates the Car Accident
After calling you and others involved in the auto accident, the insurance adjuster will conduct a full investigation of the crash. The insurance adjuster, along with the investigator, will look for evidence or information to piece together how the car accident occurred. Evidence may include:
- Information from those involved
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Images or photographs of the damaged vehicles and accident scene
- Information from a police report
- Medical bills
- Physical evidence, such as damaged property
- Cell phone records
Preparing all of the information and evidence you have about your car accident ahead of time can help an insurance company investigate your case in a timely manner. Insurance companies in Texas have no more than 15 days to investigate a claim, although this can extend to 45 days with a valid reason.
The Insurance Company Looks for Ways to Save Money
Throughout your car accident claim, an insurance company may try several tactics to save money by reducing or denying a payout. The insurer may deny its policyholder’s fault for your car accident, for example, or try to blame your medical bills on a pre-existing condition.
Be careful during conversations with a claims adjuster or insurance investigator. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to an adjuster yourself, you have the right to hire an attorney to negotiate for you. An attorney can help you detect insurance bad-faith and protect your claim.
A Car Accident Lawyer in San Antonio Can Help With the Next Steps
Upon concluding the investigation of your San Antonio car accident, an insurance claims adjuster will make a recommendation to the insurance carrier to either accept or reject benefits. At this stage, if a car accident attorney is representing you, your attorney can negotiate the settlement offered for an amount that is adequate for your injuries and losses. If a settlement is not possible, your attorney can help you go to trial instead.
Learn more about the insurance investigation process, and protect your rights as a claimant, by hiring a car accident lawyer in San Antonio from the beginning of your case.