Car accidents are an unfortunate reality. They occur every day in Hawaii. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 161 fatal crashes on Hawaii roads in 2006. If you’ve been involved in a car accident and are searching for information regarding how to assess your rights and responsibilities and where to turn for help, you’ve come to the right place. Our car accident attorneys address relevant issues such as fault, insurance, claims, property damage, personal injury, government liability, and structured settlements.
Procedure for Car Accident Insurance Claims
An auto accident insurance claim begins, of course, with an accident. If you find yourself involved in a car accident, there are several important things you need to do as soon as possible and to the best of your ability. You must report the accident right away to your insurance carrier and start the process of filing a claim. After submitting your claim, a claims adjuster will contact youwith regard to your claim. He or she will then determine, based upon your existing policy,the extent to which you may be eligible to receive damages in terms of limits that may affect your claim.
If you have a simple claim that does not include fault or medical injuries, it may be as simple as the adjuster getting an estimate for repairs and sending a check to you. You will have to complete paperwork, but may never even have to have a face-to-face meeting with the adjuster. If your claim happens to be more complicated and involves variables such as unclear liability or lack of coverage, then the process of negotiation may take longer.
Investigation of your Claim
In more complex injury accident claims, adjusters require some investigation to be done in order to assess the liability of the insurance company. The adjuster will contact potential witnesses to the accident, other parties involved in the accident, look at the police report, take pictures of the scene, seek information from your medical provider about your treatment in order to investigate your medical bills. In the event that you seek damages for medical expenses, the adjuster will require you to sign a special authorization form pertaining to medical privacy that will allow the release of your medical records.
After investigating your claim, the adjuster will send you a settlement offer based on your insurance policy. The offer will state how much the insurance company is willing to pay on your claim. It may be all, part, or none of the damages you deserve. The opening offer tends to be on the low side, considering the adjuster’s primary intent is to save his or her company money. Still, the adjuster will often consider a settlement range with significant room for negotiation, considering they have every incentive to see that the case gets closed.
From here on out, the process involves negotiating with the claims adjuster. Our Hawaii car accident attorneys can assist you with all stages of the process. Call one of our experienced attorneys today.