How Insurance Companies Investigate Car Accidents
October 13, 2020
When you look at the commercials for car accident insurance companies on TV, you may be left with the impression that these companies are going to look out for your best interest. While insurance carriers do provide a valuable service for consumers, the reality is that most of these companies are “for-profit” entities that do not want to pay out large settlements. Anytime an insurance carrier has to pay money for a claim, this takes away from their bottom line. We want you to keep this information in mind as we discuss how insurance carriers investigate car accident claims.
Insurance Carriers are Going to Investigate the Incident
Insurance carriers have a financial incentive for pushing back on claims made against their policyholders. For example, if you are injured in an accident caused by another driver, their insurance carrier is likely on the line for your injury expenses, property damage losses, and other costs. They are going to investigate the claim to ensure that it is valid and that they do not pay any more than they absolutely have to.
Most insurance carriers employ insurance investigators whose job it is to detect and deter various types of insurance fraud, as well as the validity of the claim. Insurance investigators and adjusters will start by getting a short description of the incident, including the date, time, location, and brief description of the events.
As part of their investigation, the insurance carrier will likely ask for all of the following information:
- Contact information of any drivers or witnesses involved in the accident
- Any images or video taken from the scene of the crash
- All medical bills as a result of the injuries
- Copies of any police report
Additionally, it is not uncommon for an insurance claims adjuster to physically inspect the car for damages or even to visit the accident scene to determine all possible contributing factors and circumstances of the incident.
Generally, the higher the amount of money the insurance company is on the line for, the more extensive their investigation will be. For example, an investigation into a crash involving a few hundred dollars of property damage will likely not be very extensive. However, incidents involving totaled vehicles and serious injuries like spinal cord trauma will likely be heavily scrutinized because these claims may involve hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation.
Be Careful When Speaking to Insurance Investigators and Adjusters
Insurance claims adjusters are trained to get you to let your guard down, so you need to be careful when talking to them. In fact, you can and should refer the insurance claims adjusters to your car accident attorney to give a statement. Under no circumstances should you agree to give a recorded statement to an insurance claims adjuster. They can use anything you say against you in an effort to delay or deny your claim altogether. An insurance claims adjuster may get you to talk about activities you are involved in on a daily basis or even your past medical history, information that they can use to show that you are not as injured as you claim you are.
Work with a Auto Accident Attorney
The best way for any vehicle accident victim to ensure that they handle the case appropriately is to work with a skilled attorney as soon as possible after the incident occurs. An attorney can use their legal expertise and resources to handle every aspect of your claim for you. They will handle all communications with other parties involved, including insurance adjusters and investigators.