Insurance Claims Faqs
Don’t Deal With the Insurance Company Alone
When it comes to insurance claims, insurance adjusters are told to give you as little money as possible while making you feel that you are justly compensated for the injury. It is best not to discuss your injuries with the insurance company without legal representation to protect yourself and your case. If you’ve hired a personal injury attorney to handle your case, you can direct the insurance company to speak with your personal injury attorney.
The Cueria Law Firm team will not only handle the insurance claim, but will also obtain your medical records, evidence to support your case, and negotiate your compensation.
Don’t speak to ANY insurance company about your injuries without an attorney looking out for your rights!
Is an Attorney Needed for Insurance Claims?
A personal injury attorney works to help individuals file a lawsuit when they have sustained an injury. At Cueria Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys work hard to ensure every client has a strong case. We work on negotiations, in mediation, and with insurance companies to help every client we serve. When you file a claim with your insurance company, our attorneys will use their knowledge and experience to help the claim move along at an efficient pace.
Is an attorney needed to file an insurance claim? The answer is technically no. Realistically, you could go about filing an insurance claim without the assistance of an attorney. But in doing so, you forfeit the experience and knowledge that an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney has, including dealing with insurance companies. Our personal injury attorneys have the know-how and expertise to understand the terms of your claim as well as help you to receive the best recovery outcome based on your case.
Insurance Companies Try To Give You As Little As Possible
When it comes to insurance claims, insurance adjusters are told to give you as little money as possible while making you feel that you are fully compensated for the injury. Unless you have dealt with insurance companies in the past on several occasions, you will not have the experience to determine that the offer is low and unfair. With the help of a skilled injury attorney, you have better clarity on the matter.
With our experience as Louisiana personal injury attorneys, we can gauge the extent of your injuries and ensure you receive just compensation. If you were injured on the job, you might not understand the full extent of your situation when it comes to cost. By not fully understanding the coverage needed for your situation, you may accept an insurance settlement you feel is generous but may not cover the cost of wages lost, earnings potentially lost, treatment from medical facilities, plus any long-term care needed.
By having an attorney working on your case, you are on even ground with the insurance company involved in your incident. Insurance companies will use various tactics to provide you with a lower payout as they are used to dealing with individuals who are not experienced in such cases. With our help, we negotiate on your behalf, and the insurance company is not in a position of power. You are.
What Could a Denied Claim Mean?
If you’ve been in an accident in the New Orleans area and are getting the run-around by insurance companies, possibly even denying your claim, here are some reasons why.
When it comes to an insurance claim, an insurance company is looking to make money, not pay out continually. Like any business, an insurance company depends on obtaining more money than they give out. Because of this, an insurance adjuster will be instructed to be particular about which claims are honored when filed by customers. An insurance company is legally obligated to act in good faith towards its customers. This means that any claim has to be acknowledged, and an investigation started within 15 days of the claim being made. On the 15th day, you must be given a notification of acceptance or rejection. At Cueria Law Firm, we are prepared to help you fight unjustly rejected claims. A rejected claim must come with an explanation by the insurance company. You may have the right to an appeal, and we can help if you feel that you were denied for invalid reasons!
There are many reasons that can be used by an insurance company to deny a claim in a legal fashion. If your claim was rejected based on particular reasoning, then you may be able to file an appeal. If you feel the insurance company was unjust in their decision making, then you can contact our attorneys for assistance. We will take a look at your injuries and review the situation to determine the next course of action.
A Late Filed Claim
If you did not file your claim on time, then you may see your claim rejected. It is best to file your insurance claim as quickly as possible after an accident or incident occurs. There are time limits based on the type of claim you are filing. A worker’s compensation claim time frame would be different than an auto insurance claim time frame. You can always contact your insurance company to find out how long you have to file your claim.
Your Insurance Claim is Not Valid
Perhaps your insurance adjuster thought that the claim was not valid, and they are not going to fulfill your policy. Let’s say you are trying to file a worker’s compensation claim due to an accident at work. Your claim may be denied by the adjuster if the injuries sustained did not take place based on the duties you are supposed to fulfill in your position of employment. People have been denied support in the past due to an insurance company believing the injuries were caused due to an incident that occurred earlier and is not due to the accident being claimed.
Monthly Premiums are Not Paid
Whenever you are covered by insurance, the premiums must be paid. Adjusters will quickly deny your claim if they do not have a payment on file for your insurance plan. Receipts and transactions of your payments should be kept on record by the client so that you can easily prove that you did make payment for your policy.
What Are Bad Faith Insurance Practices?
If you believe that the insurance company you work with is on your side, you are going to be sadly disappointed. While all insurers are not malicious, all are profit-driven and are not solely focused on customer satisfaction. One serious issue that individuals should be aware of is bad faith insurance. So, what is considered a bad faith insurance practice? Any time a policyholder experiences a refusal, underpayment, denial, or delay of a legitimate claim, this classifies as a bad faith insurance practice. If the insurance company acts without a valid reason to do so, the action can be ruled as bad faith.
Examples of Bad Faith Acts by an Insurance Company Can Include:
- Violating contract language to avoid paying a policy holder’s claim
- Misrepresenting contract language to avoid paying a claim
- Failing to fully disclose the limitations and exclusions of a policy before purchase
- Making unreasonable demands or extreme demands to prove a loss is covered by a policy
- Only searching for evidence to deny a claim and not acknowledging evidence that would support the claim.
- Citing laws improperly to deny a claim.
- Refusing to negotiate a settlement that would be fair to the client despite their liability
- Failure to perform a proper investigation of the claim in a reasonable amount of time
At the Cueria Law Firm, we have unfortunately found that such bad faith practices are common. Many insurance companies will take advantage of policyholders as they do not understand their rights or legal options. our New Orleans attorneys are ready to provide you with insight into your claim, helping you to seek just compensation.
Bad Faith Insurance Laws
Thankfully, there are laws in place that will help to prevent bad faith practices from taking place. When an insurer does take part in bad faith against a policyholder, the laws provide a basis for legal action. The laws protect the policyholder from unethical practices. You have the right to file a complaint with the insurance board of your state if your insurer does not provide a fair settlement for your case.
Once you have filed a complaint, an investigation will start to determine if the insurer did act in bad faith. It may be necessary for you to take further legal action to ensure you are provided a claim amount that is fair based on your situation. The board does not have the ability to see the claim paid in full but can hit the company with fines. So, you essentially may need to take legal action on top of filing a complaint.
If you or someone you love has been treated unfairly by an insurance company due to a valid claim, give our New Orleans Law Office a call. Our Louisiana attorneys are ready to review your case and provide you with insight as to what steps you should take next.
Should I take the Settlement Offer From The Insurance Company?
After an automobile accident occurs in New Orleans, it is not uncommon for the victim to receive a low ball offer for compensation from the insurance company. Insurance companies know that most people want to forget about the accident and move on, so they are more than likely going to take whatever is offered without a fight. This is particularly the case due to victims being disoriented and uncertain as to what they need to do, as well as not fully understanding their legal rights. Automobile insurance companies are well aware of this and will do whatever they can to make you take the lower offer in order for a settlement to take place.
If you are offered money from an auto insurance adjuster, especially during the early days after the accident, consider consulting a Louisiana personal injury attorney. In many car accident cases, the victim does not know their full injuries until days later or the full value of their claim. Insurance companies know the full value and will come in under that amount, hoping you will accept.
There is an exception when the claim does not include any bodily injury and only concerns property damage. In this case, you should be able to accept an early offer as it should cover the extent of the damage that occurred to your property. You should be able to view the value of your vehicle or the cost of repair by talking to car dealerships or repair shops. This way, you can know if your damage deal is one that should be accepted. However, it will not hurt to consult with an attorney to be sure you are getting the best settlement for your claim needs
Bodily Injury vs. Property Damage- What Does it Mean?
When it comes to automobile insurance policies, there are many terms used that can be hard to understand. In regards to a car accident, the terms of bodily injury and property damage are often used. If you have never been in a car wreck before, you may have no idea what these terms mean. It is essential to understand both so that you know when to file a claim and speak to a personal injury attorney.
Bodily Injury Auto Accident Claims New Orleans
The term bodily injury means that you have sustained some physical injury to the body due to the car wreck. This term will cover all areas of personal injury such as bruises, pain, cuts, abrasions, broken bones, etc.
Louisiana Property Damage Claims
The term “property damage” is referring to damage to your vehicle. It applies to any damage to the car, regardless if it can be repaired or not. When a vehicle involved in a car wreck cannot be repaired, then the term ‘totaled,’ or ‘total loss’ is used.
How Insurance Companies Handle Bodily Injury and Property Damage Claims
In general, an automobile insurance company of New Orleans will want to settle the claims of property damage quickly. However, when it comes to bodily injury claims, the companies are not so quick to offer compensation. A Louisiana personal injury attorney will tell you that when it comes to bodily injury, insurance companies do not want to pay up. They know that the cost of compensation will be much higher when compared to property damage.
The insurance company may offer you a low amount of compensation, even before you know if you have injuries from the crash. Do not speak to the insurance company and avoid taking any settlement until you speak with an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney. You may be able to settle a property damage claim on your own, but a bodily injury issue can take time if you want to receive fair compensation.
How do I prove the other driver was at fault?
Knowing the other driver was at fault is one thing, but you must be able to prove it to win your case. Be aware that the other driver/insurance company might try to pin all, or some, of the blame on you. This is especially true when your damages are substantial. Insurers tend to try to dispute high-value claims and reduce payouts to victims as much as possible.
So how do you prove the other driver was behaving negligently at the time of the accident? The more evidence you can collect, the better.
The police report will be helpful, as will photos of the crash scene and damage to the cars. If any witnesses saw your accident, their statements can also support your case. In complicated cases with disputed fault, your Lafayette, LA attorney can enlist the help of an accident expert to reconstruct the moment of impact and determine which party was responsible.
Other pieces of evidence that might be helpful, depending on the situation, include cell phone records, breathalyzer/blood test results, and traffic cam footage.
Try not to get overwhelmed figuring out which evidence you need or how to collect it. We have excellent researchers and investigators at Cueria Law Firm. We are quick, thorough in our investigation and use of subpoenas. We can collect the evidence you need during the discovery process and work to construct a solid claim that clearly proves liability.
Should I Sign a Medical Release for the Insurance Company?
Be Wary of Signing Medical Release Forms without an Attorney
You may hear the term medical release form and think it is just a simple form to fill out about the accident and your injuries. While that is the basic gist of the form, there is more to it than that. The insurer is trying to find out the injuries you suffered and how they were treated to see what compensation is needed. However, if you give the wrong information or too much information, it can affect your Louisiana car accident case.
By consulting with an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney, you can determine if the form needs to be filled out, what you should say, and how much information you should present. A blanket release form would give the company access to your full medical history if signed. This access is not something you want to do, and your attorney will confer with you which types of release forms to complete and what to say to be able to file a claim.
Do Not Sign a Blanket Release Form
If the insurance company is asking you to sign a blanket release form, then they want access to your full medical history to be able to find out if you have a pre-existing condition. Pre-existing conditions could be a way that the insurance firm can deny your personal injury claim. Such a condition would be something you dealt with before the crash. If you have complained of back or neck pain before the crash and are filing personal injury due to those same injuries, the company would argue that your issue is a pre-existing one, even if this is not the truth.
This situation is where your New Orleans car accident attorney comes in. There is no need for you to provide your entire medical history as it has no impact on your current injuries sustained during the car wreck. The best way to protect personal information such as your medical history is to first consult with a personal injury attorney before you sign any papers that will give medical history clearance to an insurance company. You want to receive the best advice as to what you need to do regarding medical release forms before moving forward.
What does the car accident claims process entail?
Below is a brief overview of what you can expect when filling a claim after a car accident. Note, these are just general steps; there are many details outside the scope of this article. For specific questions about the steps you need to take, make sure to ask an attorney at Cueria Law Firm.
- Identify fault. Who primarily caused the accident: you or the other party?
- File a claim with the appropriate insurance company. If you were at fault, you will need to file a claim with your own insurer. If the other party was at fault, you can file with that insurer. Note, if you are partly at fault, you can likely still recover, but you will need to speak to a lawyer about how to best move forward.
- Gather evidence to support your case. (More on this later.)
- Submit the evidence a demand letter to the insurer. The demand letter lists your damages and requests payment for them.
- Negotiate with the insurer. If the insurer accepts your claim, the insurer will provide you with a settlement offer. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance adjuster to try to recover a fuller amount.
- Accept the offer. If the offer is fair, you can accept it and will receive payment from the insurer.
- File a lawsuit. If the offer is insufficient, or if the insurer denies your claim altogether, your attorney can help you file a civil lawsuit.