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Understanding the Insurance Claim Process in a Car Accident Case

A hand holding an small image of a carUnder Georgia law, you are required to carry car insurance. Unfortunately, the insurance claim process is complicated. If you aren’t careful, you could wind up receiving far less than what your claim is worth. 

The car accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd know how to get you the compensation you deserve. We work with accident victims across the state of Georgia and have helped them recover millions of dollars in compensation. If you’ve been injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, call us at 888-474-9616 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. 

The Investigation

When you notify your insurance company of your accident, you should be aware that they won’t simply accept your version of events. Once they have been notified of the claim, your case will be assigned to an insurance adjuster who will investigate your claim. The investigation process will entail several steps. 

  • The adjuster will want to interview you and get a detailed account of the accident. They may ask you for a recorded statement – do not give them one. 
  • The adjuster will obtain copies of the police report (if there is one) and any other documentation (including traffic camera footage) that describes or depicts what happened. 
  • They will want to review any pertinent documents such as medical bills and other invoices. They may ask you to sign a medical authorization that allows them to obtain your medical records without your involvement. You should only sign a medical authorization after consulting with a lawyer. 
  • The adjuster will interview any witnesses to the accident. 
  • They will interview the other driver to get their version of events. They will also interview anyone else who was injured, such as passengers in either vehicle. 
  • The adjuster will investigate your driving record and your injury history. Insurance companies have proprietary software that allows them to see whether you have filed any previous injury claims. 
  • The adjuster will evaluate the damage to your vehicle. While this may not seem relevant to your injuries, they may later use the extent of the damage to your vehicle to assess the severity of your injuries. 

Depending on the complexity of the accident, the investigation process could take several weeks to conclude. The process can be frustrating and overwhelming for accident victims, as your claim is subjected to considerable scrutiny. 

Determining the Value of Your Claim

Once the investigation is complete, the insurance adjuster will then determine what your claim is worth. Ideally, they will incorporate the following elements into the value of your claim: 

  • Your medical expenses
  • Any income you lost as a result of the accident
  • The damage to your vehicle
  • Any other economic losses
  • Your pain and suffering

In our experience, the last element – pain and suffering – is often the most undervalued portion of the claim. 

Offering a Settlement

Once the insurance company has assigned a value to your claim, they will then offer you a settlement. From the insurance company’s perspective, this is not a negotiation process – their “offer” is what they have decided your claim is worth. However, the value of their claim may be founded upon several unjustified assumptions or even miscalculations. It’s also important to note that if you accept their offer, you cannot seek any additional compensation later. 

Perhaps even more importantly, the insurance company will not offer to pay any amount in excess of the policy limit. This means that if there is a $50,000 policy limit and your claim is worth $75,000, the insurance company will offer to pay only $50,000. 

Contact a Georgia Car Accident Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

The insurance claim process is difficult to navigate and fraught with pitfalls designed to keep you from getting the compensation you deserve. The good news is that an experienced personal injury attorney can fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you need. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and want someone on your side, contact the Atlanta car accident attorneys at Slappey & Sadd to schedule a free consultation – call us today at 888-474-9616.