Car accident claims almost always start with an insurance company. Unless you were involved in a hit-and-run accident or an accident with an uninsured driver, you will file your claim with the insurer for the at-fault driver.
Here are some of the factors that will influence the insurer while deciding your insurance settlement.
An insurer will only settle a claim if you can establish legal liability of the insured. This means that you need to prove the insured caused the accident through negligence.
Any facts that muddy the issue of negligence might result in a claim denial or a reduction in your claim.
For example, suppose that you hit a car that ran a red light. The other driver’s liability arises from negligently entering an intersection while the light was red. But an insurer might assert that you also contributed to the accident if you were speeding or distracted by your phone when the collision happened.
Both Oregon and Washington reduce damages when the injured person contributed to the injuries. A claims adjuster might reduce the amount offered for an insurance settlement if you bear some responsibility for the accident.
On the other hand, if the at-fault driver was the sole cause of the accident, you will have a much better chance of securing a fair insurance settlement. You might need evidence establishing fault, including:
- An accident report
- Witness statements
- Physical evidence like skid marks or traffic camera video
Armed with this evidence, you can overcome the arguments of a claims adjuster who tries to reduce or deny your claim.
The value of your damages will affect your insurance settlement. The greater your damages are, the greater your settlement should be.
In addition to the size of your damages, you also need good documentation of your damages. Clear medical records that establish the nature, extent, and cause of your injuries will help you secure a fair insurance settlement.
Records that confuse the issue by referring to past injuries or alternate causes might cause a claim adjuster to deny or reduce your claim.
Although it might seem unfair, most claims adjusters will only authorize a fair settlement if you have experience, legal knowledge, and negotiating skill on your side. Without these, you will face an uphill battle against claim denials and reductions.
Claims adjusters protect the insurance company’s financial interests rather than your legal right to fair compensation. To get a fair settlement, you may need someone who can advocate for your rights against the insurer.
To discuss the factors that might influence the likelihood or value of your insurance settlement, contact Harlan Law Firm for a free phone consultation.