Dealing with an insurance company after a car accident can be a time-consuming hassle. While you are worried about mounting medical debt and getting back to work, insurance adjusters are difficult to get on the phone, and when you do talk to them, they make time-sensitive, burdensome demands. We understand the difficulties and confusion in the insurance claims process. These are answers to frequently asked questions to help:
What should I do first?
Your first concern is your health. Seek the advice of a medical professional who can help you heal and record your injuries.
Should I take photographs?
Yes, it is important to document injuries and property damage. You will need photos to prove your claims. Take pictures even though your insurance adjuster has probably done the same.
The insurance company wants me to provide medical records, a recorded statement, or a release? What should I do?
Do not sign any papers until you consult an attorney – attorney consultations are usually free. Once you sign a release of claims, your case is over. Be wary of an insurance company that wants to settle before you have seen a doctor or while you are receiving treatment. Be careful – anything you say to an insurance adjuster can be used against you in valuing a claim.
What is an accident report?
This report is prepared by an officer at the scene of the accident. It is used to officially document the circumstances of the accident and can be used in settling your claim. Be sure to read the accident report, as it can answer many questions.
North Carolina is an at-fault state. What is an “at-fault” driver?
The at-fault driver is the one who caused the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company must pay for the damage to your car and for your personal injuries. If the at-fault driver has no insurance, then you should have coverages on your insurance policy to pay your claim.
What is contributory negligence?
Currently, only three States in the United States follow the doctrine of “Contributory Negligence,” and North Carolina is one of them.
What this doctrine says is that if an injured or wrongfully deceased person is found to be even as little as 1% at fault for his or her injuries or death, then the plaintiff gets nothing from the defendant, despite the fact that the defendant was still 99% at fault for the subject injuries or death.
After a car wreck, an insurance adjuster may ask for a recorded statement or for you otherwise to discuss how the accident occurred. What you say may be used to argue or suggest that you were in some degree at-fault, and the insurance company might use this as a way to try to deny your claim.
How do I pay my medical bills?
Use your health insurance to pay your medical bills. Unpaid bills affect your credit and reduce the amount of money you receive at final settlement. If you do not have health insurance, call us… We can help by reviewing your options for other ways to pay for medical treatment.
How do I pay for vehicle repairs or replacement?
If you were not at-fault in the accident, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for your car repairs and a rental car while your car is in the shop. If your car is totaled (the repair costs are 75% or greater than the car’s value), you will be paid the total current retail value of your car. If you have collision coverage on your auto insurance policy, it may also help cover the costs of auto repairs regardless of which driver was at fault.
How is the value of my case determined?
If you were not at-fault in the accident, then, you are entitled to receive money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your injuries including medical bills, lost wages and expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and resulting disabilities and scars. Compensation will also include costs to repair or replace damaged property.
When will I receive compensation?
You will receive compensation for your claims when your case is resolved either through a settlement or after obtaining a judgment in Court. We can talk to you in helping to determine when the time is right either to settle your case or go to Court, and we can provide our experience to maximize your compensation for your injuries.
How long does the adjuster have to respond to my demand?
After submitting a demand package with all of your medical records and bills, within 30 days, the insurance company must pay the claim as submitted, offer an alternative amount as a settlement, deny the claim, or advise you in writing that your claim is still under investigation. When a claim has been settled, loss and claim payments should be delivered within ten business days. There are very important deadlines what have to be met when making insurance claims and a personal injury lawyer can help you meet the deadlines to receive the protections you deserve.
If my claim is denied, do they have to tell me why?
Insurance companies are required to provide you with written explanation as to why your claim was denied. This explanation should cite any law(s) or policy provisions that may be applicable to the company’s denial of your claim.
What is UM/UIM coverage?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is insurance under your auto policy that provides compensation for injuries inflicted upon your or a family member as a result of an uninsured driver’s negligence. An uninsured driver is someone who did not have insurance, or whose insurance company denied their claim or was not financially able to pay it. A hit and run driver also can count as an uninsured driver as it relates to bodily injury.
Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is insurance under your auto policy that provides compensation for injuries inflicted upon your or a family member where the at-fault driver has insurance limits that are too low to cover your expenses. Underinsured drivers usually purchase only the minimum coverage required by law, which in North Carolina is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per incident of bodily injury liability coverage.
North Carolina does require Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, which is usually bundled with liability coverage, which is also required by law, so you do not usually need to purchase this separately.
North Carolina does not require Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage, but it can be purchased at your election, and is an important source of compensation in serious accidents.
Is my new car covered under my old insurance policy?
No, your new car is not automatically covered under an existing policy. For coverage on your new vehicle, you must provide your insurer with proper notification for coverage to be applied.
What is MedPay coverage?
MedPay coverage is designed to pay the medical bills of all passengers in your vehicle if they are injured as a result a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. MedPay may also provide coverage for blood relatives who reside in the same household and any vehicles driven by them. MedPay coverage is typically sold in amounts ranging between $1,000 and $10,000. There are some MedPay policies for as much as $50,000 to $100,000.