Every day we face a variety of perils, whether we think about them or not. Getting into the car to drive is one of them. This is because automobile crashes are one of the leading safety risks for all people in the United States. In North Carolina, for example, there are thousands of car accidents that take place every year. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that 247,214 traffic collisions were reported in the state in 2020 alone. Following a serious accident, you will likely need to navigate the insurance claims process to get full financial compensation for your damages.
Unfortunately, car accident victims cannot count on an insurance company—even their own policy provider—to do what is best for them and their families. It is imperative that you know how to get through the claims process. In this article, our car accident attorney provides an actionable guide to dealing with an insurance company after a traffic collision in North Carolina.
Step #1: Know the Role of the Insurance Company in the Claims Process
To start, it is vital to fully understand the insurance company’s role in the car accident injury claims process. You cannot effectively navigate an insurance claim in North Carolina unless you understand precisely how the insurance company is thinking. Ultimately, the insurer is an oppositional party—even your own policy provider. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses whose primary goal is to minimize the amount of money they pay out in claims. In other words, the insurance company is focused on “defending” the claim. They want to resolve a car accident case by paying out the minimum amount of compensation. Perhaps none.
Step #2: Avoid Giving a Record Statement to an Insurance Adjuster
When an insurance adjuster contacts you, they may ask you to give a recorded statement about the accident. In fact, you should probably expect to be contacted by a friendly-sounding insurance adjuster relatively shortly after a car crash in North Carolina. No matter how disarming they may sound on the phone, it is important to remember that the insurance company’s representatives are tasked with the job of finding evidence that the insurer can use against you.
For this reason, they will try to ask you questions or seek a recorded statement. You are under absolutely no obligation to give a recorded statement to any insurance company at this point in the process. Your words can be twisted, taken out of the original context, or otherwise used in an adverse manner in the claims process. Protect yourself. Provide an insurance company with notification that a crash occurred and avoid submitting a recorded statement.
Step #3: Beware of Signing Documents, including a Release for Your Medical Records
The insurance company may also ask you to sign various documents, including a release for your medical records. Before signing any documents, reviewing them carefully and understanding their implications is essential. You should never sign any documents without consulting with a North Carolina car accident attorney. Signing documents is something to be cautious of when dealing with an insurance company because even though documents may seem innocuous, they can have major implications for your case. For example, with your medical records, insurance companies are trying to access as much information as possible to find something—perhaps evidence of a previous injury or pre-existing condition—that can limit your financial compensation.
Step #4: Work With an Insurance Through Your Car Accident Attorney
The last step is the most important. You should always deal with insurance companies through an experienced attorney after a serious car accident. A North Carolina car accident attorney can help you navigate the claims process, negotiate with the insurance company, and ensure that you receive a fair settlement. They can also help you understand the legal implications of any documents you are asked to sign and can represent you in court if necessary. While insurers are not on your side, your lawyer is responsible for protecting your best interests. This means seeking justice, accountability, and a settlement or verdict that provides the maximum financial compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Top North Carolina Auto Accident Injury Lawyer
At Paynter Law, we have helped our clients secure more than $500 million in compensation across our practice areas. If you have any questions about dealing with the insurance company after a motor vehicle collision, our attorneys are here to help.
Contact a North Carolina personal injury attorney at Paynter Law now to set up your no-cost, no-commitment case review.