Motorcycle Accident Insurance Claims: Working With Insurance Companies
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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Before you file a motorcycle accident insurance claim, it is important to know how to speak with a representative of your insurance company. Talking with your insurance carrier will seem easy as most companies have friendly staff who will work with you, however, you need to be very careful about what you say at all times. Keep in mind that one way for insurance companies to make money is to pay less out for claims, and anything you say, even if it seems innocent, can give your carrier a reason to deny or short pay a claim.
It’s important to avoid volunteering information to an insurance company that suggests you were at fault in the motorcycle accident. If you say anything that can show you contributed to the accident, then your claim can be denied or you can get less money than you hope. You should never lie to an insurance carrier, so be careful about how you describe the accident and make them ask the right questions.
Ultimately, if you caused the accident your insurance carrier will find out and your claim will be paid appropriate to your level of fault. However, if you feel you did not cause the accident then do not give up information that can be misconstrued to place you in a point of blame. Be careful to describe only the facts of the motorcyle accident when discussing your claim, and avoid any additional statements that can suggest you had a larger role in causing the accident.
Discussing Your Injuries
Do not try to diagnose your own injuries at any point, and avoid even simple statements such as "I'm okay." Since you are not a medical expert and may not know the full extent of your injuries and prognosis, leave communicating with the insurance agency up to the the treating doctors or hospitals. You will need to sign a release so the insurance company can legally obtain that information.
This does not mean you should keep yourself out of the loop. Be aware of what any medical release forms say, and know what your doctors are telling the insurance company. Keep track of any documents from the hospital and any bills that accumulate during your treatment, and make sure you are properly compensated by your insurer.
Limit Who You Speak With
Do not try to play the part of investigator or police officer as your insurance company looks into your claim, and limit the people who you speak with. If the other party involved in the accident wants to talk, send them to your insurance company. If there are witnesses to the accident, be sure the police got their information and then pass that on to the insurance company. If you disagree with anything the other driver or the witnesses say, explain your disagreements to the insurance company.
While it is important to produce evidence of your side of the story, stick to the physical evidence such as photos or police reports. Do not try to get statements or try to work out under the table deals after the insurance company has gotten involved. Provide your side of the story and back it up with pictures, and avoid contacting the other parties.
Along those lines, do not put up information about your accident on social media. Social media sites are incredibly popular and easy to access, and insurance companies can easily find information posted on them. A good rule of thumb is to keep quiet about the accident until after the insurance company has conducted its review.
Minor Injury Claims
If your motorcycle accident claim is relatively small, and your injuries minor, you may be able to handle the process without difficulty or the aid of an attorney, however, you still need to use caution when speaking with the insurance company. Before settling a motorcycle accident insurance claim for minor injuries, keep the following in mind:
- Injuries linger: An injury that seems minor may have lingering effects that are more serious than initially diagnosed. Before agreeing to settle, be sure you have received the appropriate medical attention / advice on the full extent of your injuries.
- Include all expenses: Look over your motorcycle accident insurance policy carefully and make sure you have claimed all the expenses that the policy covers. Aside from medical bills and costs of damage repair, you may be able to claim damages for lost wages, travel too and from medical appointments, and other costs you had to pay as a result of the accident.
- Motorcycle accident settlements are final: Once you sign a settlement agreement with your insurance company, the claim is closed. You cannot reopen a motorcycle accident claim or file a new one if new problems emerge. Do not sign an insurance settlement agreement unless you are confident all damages are included.
When you negogiate an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident, you need to know your insurance policy, have a complete understanding of the damages you suffered, and have the confidence to defend your position should the company challenge you. If you find yourself overwhelmed or unsure if you are getting a fair deal from the insurance company, contact an attorney before accepting a settlement.
Speak With an Attorney
A motorcycle accident attorney will know the difference between a serious issue and a minor one and how the types of injuries and treatment impact the value of the case. For example, soft-tissue damage such as a sprained neck, ankle or back, may be looked upon by insurance companies as not being very significant and yet can have a devastating impact on your life by causing ongoing pain and limiting your normal activities.
Working with an experienced attorney will help you understand if your insurance company is getting you the money you deserve, and how to take action if you are not properly compensated. An attorney can also handle all of the conversations with your insurance company and doctors for you, so you can trust the process will go smoothly.
If you have a serious injury, then you need to consult with an attorney for assistance. Most consultations are free, and you are not committed to anything after talking with a lawyer. If you are concerned about losing out on money you deserve, speak with an attorney immediately.