God, I love this time of year, don’t you? Look, we’re going to talk about how to deal with insurance adjusters after a crash in a second but let’s just take a moment to appreaciate how great it is to ride in Minnesota and Iowa in the fall.
Seriously, there’s nothing quite like the freedom of the open road, the wind in your face, the roar of your bike beneath you. The beauty of the changing colors of the trees as autumn sets in… there really isn’t anything like it.
Unfortunately, not all roads are smooth.
When the unexpected happens, and you find yourself picking up the pieces after a motorcycle crash, all that freedom can feel like it’s been replaced with a mountain of stress and uncertainty. Suddenly, you’re thrust into a world of insurance claims, repair costs, and medical bills.
And as if that’s not enough, you’re now faced with the daunting task of dealing with an insurance adjuster. Sure, they might seem friendly, but remember, their job is to save their company money, not to make your life easier.
It’s a tough situation, especially here in the Midwest where most of us were raised being “Iowa (or Minnesota) Nice.” It can feel like it goes against our nature to not be as helpful as possible, especially in stressful situations.
Yeah, it’s a tricky road, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can navigate this challenging time and get back on the road where you belong (without accidentally screwing yourself over in the process).
So you’ve been in a crash?
It’s time for some straight-talking advice on how to handle insurance adjusters after a motorcycle accident.
Remember, no matter how friendly they may be, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. Their job is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
6 Essential Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters After a Motorcycle Accident
1. Don’t Feel Pressured to Give a Statement
After an accident, you might get a call from the other party’s insurance adjuster. Remember, you’re not obliged to give a statement right away. You might still be rattled by the accident, and that’s not the best time to be giving details that could be used against you later. It’s okay to wait until you have a lawyer by your side.
2. Keep It Basic
If you do decide to talk to the insurance adjuster, stick to the basics. Be very accurate and “to the point” in answering questions. Answer their questions, but don’t offer any details beyond what they specifically ask you. Do not tell the adjuster the crash was your fault, even a percentage. Those details could be twisted and used against you when it comes to settling your claim.
3. Stick to the Facts
When you describe the accident, keep it factual. Don’t make assumptions or guesses. Do not make guesses about speed, distance, or time. Guesses of this nature are usually wrong, and can only hurt you. The more detail you give, the more chance there is for the adjuster to twist your words. Answer their questions truthfully, but don’t embellish or go into more detail than necessary.
4. Don’t Admit Fault
After a crash, it’s easy to say things that might imply you were at fault, especially if you’re confused or finding it hard to express yourself. If that’s the case, it’s best to wait until you’re feeling better before talking to an insurance adjuster. And of course, don’t admit fault for an accident you didn’t cause.
5. Track Your Expenses
Keep a record of all your expenses related to the accident, like medical bills, bike repairs, and lost wages. Provide copies of these documents to the insurance adjuster when they ask for them. These bills will need to be paid, either by you or the person who caused the accident, so make sure they’re part of any settlement.
6. Don’t Sign Anything Without Legal Advice
Do not agree to any settlement or sign any documents or agreements without talking to a lawyer first. Insurance adjusters might try to get you to sign away your right to sue or accept a settlement offer that’s less than you deserve.
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the things you need to know.
Understanding Insurance Policies: Terms to Know
Navigating the world of insurance policies can be tricky, especially when you’re dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies use lingo every day that the average driver may not fully understand. They can (and often do) use this to their advantage, so let’s level the playing field.
Here’s a quick rundown of some key terms you’re sure to hear and what they really mean:
- Actual Cash Value (ACV): This is the value of your property, based on the current cost to replace it minus depreciation. In the case of a total loss, the insurance company might pay out the ACV of your motorcycle.
- Adjuster: An insurance adjuster is a representative of the insurance company who investigates and evaluates insurance claims to determine the extent of the insurance company’s liability.
- Claim: A request made by the insured to the insurance company to cover an incurred loss. In the context of a motorcycle accident, this could be for damages to the motorcycle, medical expenses, or other costs related to the accident.
- Coverage: The extent of protection provided by an insurance policy. Coverage can vary greatly from one policy to another, and it’s important to understand exactly what your policy covers.
- Coverage Limits: This is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for a covered loss.
- Deductible: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.
- Exclusion: Certain conditions or circumstances for which the insurance company will not provide coverage. Exclusions are detailed in the insurance policy, and it’s important to be aware of them.
- Liability: This refers to the legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions. In an insurance context, liability insurance covers the policyholder’s legal liability in the event of damage or injury to another party.
- Policyholder: The individual or entity who owns the insurance policy. This is the person who holds the contract with the insurance company and pays the premiums.
- Premium: The amount of money that an individual or business pays for an insurance policy.
- Replacement Cost: Unlike ACV, replacement cost coverage will pay the cost to repair or replace the damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation.
- Subrogation: This is a term often used in the insurance industry to refer to the right of the insurance company to recover the amount it has paid for a loss from the party that caused the loss.
- Umbrella Coverage: This is a type of insurance coverage that goes beyond the limits of regular insurance policies, such as homeowners or auto insurance. It provides an additional layer of security to those who are at risk for being sued for damages to other people’s property or injuries caused to others in an accident. It also protects against libel, vandalism, slander, and invasion of privacy.
- Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This type of insurance coverage protects you if you’re involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have sufficient insurance coverage or no insurance at all.
Understanding these terms can help you know what to expect when dealing with insurance companies after an accident.
Documenting the Accident: A Step-by-Step Guide
Proper documentation can make a world of difference when it comes to filing an insurance claim. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Call the Police
The police are a vital part of the process as they gather information and help generate a timeline of events. Also, as soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the accident. This can be crucial evidence if there’s a dispute about what happened.
Step 2: Take Photos
Capture images (or video) of the accident scene, your motorcycle, and any injuries you sustained.
Step 3: Gather Information and Medical Records
Collect the other party’s contact and insurance information, and note down the details of the accident while they’re still fresh in your mind. Then in the following days, weeks, and months, keep track of (document) every doctor’s visit, physical therapy appointment, testing, or other medically related activity.
The Importance of Immediate Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine after an accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Not only is this important for your health, but it also establishes a record of your injuries, which can be vital when you’re filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Why You Should Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be daunting, especially when you’re recovering from an accident. A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, ensuring that you’re treated fairly and that you get the compensation you deserve. They can handle the paperwork, deal with the insurance companies, and let you focus on your recovery.
If you’re unsure about how to handle the insurance adjuster or feel you’re not being treated fairly, consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Don’t navigate this process alone. If you’re dealing with an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident, contact The Biker Lawyers for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We’re here to help you ride through this tough time. Call today or click here to get started.
Ride safe, and remember, we’re here for you.