The aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful and confusing time. Car insurance companies play a huge role in the claims process and can add even more stress to your already overwhelming experience. However, if you understand how insurance companies investigate accidents and what questions they’ll ask during their investigation, you’ll have an easier time navigating the claims process. Need help? A Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can guide you through it step by step. Contact our office today for a free, confidential case evaluation.
How Are Car Accidents Investigated?
Once you’ve filed a claim, your insurance company will investigate. They’ll interview the driver and passengers, as well as any witnesses. They’ll inspect both vehicles to assess the damage and determine who was at fault. And if you’re claiming an injury, they may ask for medical records regarding its severity and duration.
In addition to these interviews and inspections, insurers also review road conditions at the time of the accident: Was it raining? Was it dark? Were there any red lights or stop signs that weren’t obeyed? This information can help determine responsibility for who caused an accident based on their driving skills (or lack thereof).
Why Do Car Insurance Companies Need to Investigate Accidents?
Car insurance companies need to investigate accidents so they can determine fault and liability, insurance coverage, and whether the claim is valid.
- Fault: The car insurance company will try to determine who was at fault in an accident. If you were at fault, this can affect your premium rates going forward. It can also affect your car insurance in other ways, like whether or not it is canceled or not renewed by your insurer.
- Insurance Coverage: To determine what types of damages were caused during an accident, insurers need access to all pertinent information about each vehicle involved as well as any other factors related to the incident itself (such as weather conditions).
Preparing For A Car Accident Investigation
Before you call your insurance company to report an accident, it’s important to be prepared. Many people assume that their insurer will accept whatever they say at face value and get to move on with their lives. However, this is far from true. Car insurance companies are in the business of investigating accidents and paying claims, so they will always want more information about what happened when someone files a claim.
As such, if you’re involved in a car accident and decide to file a claim with your insurer for injuries or vehicle damage, several steps may be required of you before any funds can be released.
Even minor fender-benders require some preparation on the part of claimants (and occasionally also from their insurers). Most insurance companies expect claimants who have been in minor collisions to provide proof of expenses incurred due to injuries sustained during the accident and proof regarding income lost due to those injuries (if applicable). Keep copies of all medical bills, receipts, and pay stubs.
If you’ve had your car repaired by a mechanic or body shop following the accident but haven’t paid them yet or if you’ve only given them an estimate based on those provided by other shops, bring along all relevant paperwork when filing your claim. Your claim might not be accepted by your insurer until these details have been resolved.
What Questions Will the Adjuster Ask Me?
In addition to the financial aspects of the accident, an adjuster will also want to know about your injuries. If you have been hurt, they will ask what type of pain you feel and how bad it is. It’s important that you answer honestly and fully so that your adjuster can help you get a fair settlement.
After getting a sense of how bad the crash was, an adjuster will likely ask about other drivers involved in the accident and what their role was in causing it. You’ll need to describe how each driver behaved before and after impact (e.g., were they speeding?) so there’s no ambiguity about who was at fault when it comes time for settlement negotiations or court proceedings later on down the road.
Witnesses are another important part of an auto insurance claim investigation. They can provide critical information because they saw everything first-hand without bias toward either party involved.
How Long Does A Car Accident Investigation Take?
Legally, the insurance company has 20 working days to begin investigating your claim. Once the investigation has begun, they have an additional 30 days to decide on your claim. If the claim is approved, the insurer then has another 30 days to make payment. In total, the process should take no more than 80 days.
A lot goes into an investigation. It’s important that you know what information car insurance companies need from you before getting started.
What Happens After A Car Accident Investigation?
The investigation helps the insurance company to decide whether or not you were at fault. If they determine that you are responsible for the accident, they will send you a letter informing you of their decision and explaining how much your premium will increase.
If the insurance company determines that you weren’t at fault in an accident, they’ll send a letter stating this fact. You may also be able to get reimbursement for any medical costs associated with the car accident by filing a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance policy.
However, if their liability isn’t clear (for example, if both people were speeding or drunk), then both parties may have to pay for their own medical bills out-of-pocket until further investigation takes place by law enforcement officials.
The Insurance Company Says I’m Not At Fault. Now What?
The insurance company may offer you a settlement.
If the insurance company accepts responsibility for your accident, they may want to settle the claim right away. In this case, it’s important to remember that the amount of money they give you is not the same as how much they’ll pay out in total.
A Las Vegas personal injury attorney can give sound counsel before you accept any settlement. There are many things involved in determining what should be paid and you may not know whether or not the offer you’ve received is fair.
Why Hire A Nevada Personal Injury Lawyer?
A Nevada personal injury lawyer can help negotiate a reasonable settlement amount based on all relevant factors (the extent of your injuries, who was at fault, etc.) and make sure that payment is based on actual damages sustained rather than what could have happened in theory.
If necessary, your lawyer can also represent you during mediation sessions or court hearings where each side presents their case before deciding on a final settlement amount.
Reach Out to a Nevada Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in an accident, Contact De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers today. Our team has helped hundreds of clients across Nevada who have been injured on the job or in an accident get the compensation they deserve. In addition to free legal consultations, our team also offers risk-free representation in personal injury cases such as car accidents and medical malpractice. Call today to schedule your free legal consultation.