How do insurance companies investigate car accident claims?

Car Insurance Adjuster Inspecting a Car After a CollisionYou will need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company if you want to receive the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered in an auto collision in New Mexico. Settling a claim with the insurance company may be complicated and frustrating. It can be helpful to know how the insurance company investigates car crash claims in our state, so you know what to expect and can protect your rights.

Why Will the Insurance Company Investigate Your Claim?

There are several reasons why the insurance company would want to investigate your claim before offering you a settlement. First, they need to assess the validity of your claim and how much compensation you should receive. They cannot offer you a settlement until they determine this.

They also want to protect against insurance fraud. Unfortunately, some claims are fraudulent. This can also happen when they are made by a third party claiming they were injured in a collision.

Another major reason insurance adjusters investigate claims is to try to find reasons to deny a claim or pay the victim less damages than they are entitled to under New Mexico law. Why would they do this? Insurance companies are businesses with the goal of making a profit. If the insurance adjuster can deny a claim or pay a lower settlement, they will save their employer money.

How Do Insurance Companies Investigate an Auto Collision Claim?

The insurance company will take several steps to investigate your claim. If you suffered long-term injuries and the value of your claim is higher, the investigation could be more extensive and take more time to complete. Here is what you can inspect to happen.

#1: Assign a Claims Adjuster to Your Case

When you file your claim, a claims adjuster would be assigned to your case. They would investigate how your car accident occurred and your injuries before deciding whether to offer to settle your claim. If the insurance company suspects your claim is fraudulent, they may also assign a special investigator trained to identify fraud and possible criminal activities to examine your claim.

#2: Review the Police Report

The insurance adjuster would review a copy of the police report. It will contain helpful information, such as details of how the collision occurred, the police officer’s conclusions about who was at fault, and whether any traffic citations were issued.

#3: Conduct Interviews

Another important step the insurance adjuster would take is to interview you, other victims, passengers in any of the vehicles, and eyewitnesses. They may ask you to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session that is tape-recorded and transcribed into a written document.

You do not have to give a recorded statement to settle your claim, and agreeing to their request would be a mistake. You could inadvertently say something that hurts your claim and be used against you in settlement negotiations or court.

#4: Review the Crash Scene and Photos

The insurance adjuster would also review any photos taken right after your car accident occurred and may visit the crash scene. This can help them determine the cause of the collision.

#5: Inspect Your Vehicle

The insurance company will most likely want to inspect your car before it is repaired. Looking at the damage to your auto can help them determine how your accident occurred and the value of your property damage claim.

#6: Review Your Medical Records

You should also expect the insurance company to request a copy of your medical records to determine the seriousness of your injuries and the medical treatments you need. The insurance adjuster would also be looking to see if you delayed seeking medical care after the accident, if you have gaps in your treatment, and if you followed your doctor’s advice.

In addition, they would look for preexisting injuries. They would use this information to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim or were caused by another incident.

#7: Search Your Social Media Sites

Another investigative tactic the insurance company would employ is to search your social media sites. They may do this several times while your claim is being resolved. They would try to find statements you made suggesting you caused the accident or that your injuries are not severe. They would look for evidence that you are engaging in activities you should not be able to do given your injuries.

How Can You Protect Your Rights During an Insurance Company Investigation?

The best way to protect yourself while the insurance adjuster is investigating your claim is to hire an experienced car accident lawyer immediately. They will take over communications with the insurance company, help you avoid mistakes that could weaken your claim, and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve in your settlement. To learn about our track record of success in these cases and how we can assist you, call our Roswell office at 575-300-4000 or complete our online form to schedule your free consultation today.