Dealing with Insurance After a Car Accident in Nebraska
If you were in a car accident recently, you know the problems that follow. Your car is damaged (or completely wrecked). You were hurt and now you have doctor bills, time lost at work and the money spent is starting to add up. Then the insurance adjusters start to call. So how do you deal with insurance adjusters after an accident in Nebraska?
In one word, cautiously. While you may need the money and would like to get things over with, the first offer from an insurance adjuster may not be in your best interests. In fact, it almost always isn’t their best offer.
Want some tips on how to handle the adjuster? Read on and we’ll give you 10 secrets to dealing with an insurance adjuster after a car accident.
Lets get started.
1. The Insurance Company Adjuster is Not on Your Side
Insurance company adjusters are called that because they work for insurance companies. While they may be great people and easy to talk to on the phone, the fact is they work for the insurance company.
As employees, their job is to save their employer’s money and get the best possible deal. . . for the insurance company. That means they are definitely not working in your best interest.
Insurance adjusters are people just trying to do their job. It isn’t their fault that this is the nature of the business but they do have to reduce payouts on accidents to make the bosses happy. So they will always come across as friendly people that are on your side. Don’t fall for it. They are not on your side.
2. Time is of The Essence
You do not have unlimited time to file a claim. If you wait too long then you could lose your right to file suit. In Nebraska, the statute of limitations is four years. That means you need to file a lawsuit withing four years of your injury or your claim is forever barred.
Even though you have four years, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will know what is important to do in the early stages after the accident to protect your claim down the road.
Also, taking a long time to file a claim will give them the ability to say that the problem isn’t really a problem or was caused by something else. Don’t give them this advantage.
Even if you aren’t sure you need a claim it is better to file and cancel the claim later than to wait to file. For example, if you have a car accident and it is in the shop all weekend and you don’t know how much it is going to cost go ahead and file a claim. If the cost of the repair is less than your deductible then cancel the claim and pay out of pocket.
No harm is done. But if the cost is high and you haven’t filed a claim they may question why you didn’t and it could damage your case.
3. You Need Proof of Liability and Damages
In a car accident claim, there are two important issues: liability and damages. Liability is the question of “who’s fault is it?” If it is someone’s fault, they are considered liable.
The second issue is damages. In other words, how much damage was done to your vehicle? How badly were you hurt or what medical bills did you incur as a result of the accident?
Either way, you will want proof of both liability and damages. Proof of liability can be the police report, eyewitnesses, photos, video, etc. Proof of damages can be medical bills, damage estimates, paystubs, etc. The proof is essential when you are filing a claim.
The earlier you start thinking about proof, the better because some evidence may be gone by the time you think of it.
If you don’t have the proof then you will have an uphill battle when filing a claim and it is likely that you will lose. The insurance doesn’t want to give you any money so if they can avoid it they will. Don’t forget that.
4. Be Careful With Your Words
Remember when we said that the insurance adjuster is not for you? This secret to dealing with insurance adjusters relates to that. Because they seem so friendly it is easy to let your guard down. Many times statements can be taken out of context or twisted to use against you.
If you say something that can hurt your case without thinking about it then you can be sure that the adjuster will use it against you. Be very cautious about how much you say. It is better to just answer the questions they have honestly without adding unneeded elaboration.
In fact, if you are not comfortable speaking to the adjuster after the accident, it might be time to consult an attorney. One of the advantages of hiring a lawyer is that they can handle the insurance adjuster for you.
5. Fast Settlements Aren’t Always Better
We as humans tend to be very impatient especially when it comes to money issues. If we know there is money coming our way from an insurance settlement then we want it now. But a fast settlement isn’t always in your best interest.
If the insurance company is willing to pay you any amount of money quickly then you can bet that it is a lower amount than you deserve. That doesn’t mean that every settlement requires a lawsuit but just be cautious. If you think that you should have been paid more then go ahead and consult an attorney just to make sure everything is on the up and up.
6. Don’t Sign a Medical Release
The insurance company will try to make you sign a medical release to gain access to your medical records. This is a tactic to try to blame your current issues on a past injury or illness. They do not need to have access to these records. They only need to have the medical records directly related to the accident.
If the adjusters keep pushing for a medical release and threaten to not pay anything then you need to talk to an attorney.
7. Adjusters Are Trained to Negotiate
Insurance adjusters are trained to negotiate. They will talk you down or negotiate with the other insurance agency if there is one involved. This is a tactic to not pay out more than they want to payout.
The average person is not trained to negotiate and may not know what to do or even how to recognize the negotiation tactics. Accident attorneys are very good at it and would be helpful if you are dealing with a company that doesn’t want to pay.
8. Filing a Claim Will Not Affect Your Friend or Family Member
Sometimes the passenger in the car is injured and is worried about filing a claim against the driver’s insurance because they are a friend or family member. They don’t want them to have to pay any of the claims out of pocket so they just don’t file a claim.
This just isn’t true. The insurance company will have to pay, not the policyholder.
9. Adjusters Do Not Want You to Hire an Attorney
This isn’t really a secret to dealing with an insurance adjuster because it is pretty much common knowledge. They don’t want you to hire an attorney because that almost promises that the insurance company will be required to pay more to the client or victim.
It isn’t your job to worry about the insurance company so do what is best for you and your family.