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Insurance Claims Dos & Don’ts

Explained by Las Vegas Injury Attorneys – (702) 602-8869

At Bernstein & Poisson, our Las Vegas injury lawyers care about our clients and our communities. If you ever get into a car accident caused by a negligent driver, or otherwise need to file an insurance claim for other damages, we want to make certain you know what to do – and what to not do – in order to keep your own liability at a minimum. If you already have been in an accident or had your property damaged through sources outside your control, please feel free to contact us at any time for a free consultation and we can tell you where to begin your claim.

Insurance Claims – What to Do

  • Review your insurance coverage and full policy to know what is and what is not covered by your insurance. Pay close attention to the portions that discuss Coverage and Exclusion.
  • Talk to your insurance agent or the appropriate insurance company representative as soon as you can after your accident and after you have read your policy again. You need to let them know about the collision sooner than later. Waiting too long can look suspicious or even increase your liability.
  • Be thorough in your notetaking whenever you talk to your insurance company. The closer you can write down your conversations with them verbatim, the better. Be sure to ask for names, occupations, and internal phone numbers of anyone who helps you. If you think there might be an issue with how they handle your claim, ask for a supervisor’s name just in case.
  • Find out if you have any supplemental or secondary insurance coverage that applies for your accident but is purchased through another insurance company. You could very well have an umbrella policy from the company that provides your homeowners’ insurance, for example, that also lends a hand to pay for car accident damages. It would be a real shame to overlook those benefits.
  • Use your smartphone to start taking photographs of your accident. There is no such thing as having too many pictures to catalogue what happened. Consider all angles and factors of your accident as well as the visible damage. The environment is just as important to photograph as the cars involved.
  • Stay honest when you are talking to your insurance company. You should never tell an outright lie to try to cover your tracks or reduce your liability. When the truth comes forward, you could be denied all coverage and have your policy canceled. Talking with a car accident attorney can help you know what to say to avoid accidentally saying the wrong thing but without ever lying.
  • Educate yourself of the differences between replacement coverage and actual cash value in terms of insurance policies. If you have replacement coverage, you may need to decide upon a replacement for your damage property before you can claim the coverage benefits. Depreciated or actual cash value coverage will only give you the cost of the damaged property, as it is estimated at the time of the accident. This is especially important to understand for non-vehicular insurance claims, like homeowners’ insurance coverage after a house fire.
  • Hold onto copies of any receipt or paperwork relevant to your accident and related costs. Important receipts include the cost of lodging, meals, and miscellaneous purchases you had to make due to the accident. Once again, this is mostly pertinent to non-vehicular insurance claims. Imagine if water damage forced you out of your home and ruined all your clothes. Keep all the receipts for buying new clothing and staying in a hotel while repairs are made so you can collect the costs in the final insurance settlement.

Insurance Claims – What Not to Do

  • You do not need to provide your insurance company a recorded telephone conversation if you do not want. While you do need to notify them about your accident, you can tell them you do not want your conversation recorded at that time. You may wish to ask them to not record the conversation if you could not afford the time to review your insurance policy prior to calling them. When you are unsure of what to do or what to say, call a lawyer.
  • You should not accept the first settlement offer or appraisal estimate given to you by any insurance company, either your own or that of the liable party. An insurance company is a business that need to make a profit. In order to save their bottom line, they often lowball initial offers to intentionally try to make the policyholder accept far less than what they really need to fully recover from the accident. Once again, if you have any doubts, talk to your attorney.
  • If an insurer wants to hand you a check with the words “final payment” written anywhere on it, you should be ready to refuse it if you do not think it is the right amount, or if you think you still have damages to calculate.
  • Perhaps the most important rule on this list of insurance claims dos and don’ts is do not sign anything until you retain an attorney to help you with your claim. Statements, releases, waivers, etc. all need to be set aside until you are confident you know what they say and why they need your signature. The fine print on any such document is certainly going to be heavy with legalese, or information only a legal professional can readily understand. Signing something without letting your lawyer review it could be folly, potentially taking away your chances of recovering anything depending on what the document really says in its content.
  • Do not overlook the time limits of your insurance policy, especially the time limit regarding signed proofs of loss. Failing to meet time limits and statutes of limitations can invalidate your claim automatically. If you need more time, you can ask for a written waiver from the insurer. As a general rule, you most likely have only one year to use legal action to contest a claim you think was adjusted incorrectly. Do not assume you have one year, though. Look at your policy and know for certain. Get a lawyer on your side if time is nearly out so the process can be expedited with their knowledge and insight.
  • Do not let your insurance company try to deny coverage entirely without a thorough review of the accident. Your insurer needs to provide coverage however it is described in your insurance policy. Failing to do so is an illegal act and must be met with legal action in response.

Do you have any questions regarding insurance claims? Do you need help filing a car accident claim or similar claim for another type of accident? Call (702) 602-8869 to talk to Bernstein & Poisson and our experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys today.

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