On Your OwnIn some situations claims can be handled without the assistance of an attorney, such as a car accident in which no one was injured. If your case is more complicated you may be tempted to handle the insurance claim process on your own, but keep in mind that should you later decide to seek legal counsel, actions you took earlier in the process may act detrimentally to your claim. Insurance attorneys have experience in navigating the claims process and can help if you begin to feel overwhelmed. You have the option to contact an attorney at any point in the claims process for legal assistance and advice.
Filing a claimThe first thing you want to do in the event of any accident or injury is report the information to your insurance company. It is highly important that you review your insurance policy so you are prepared and knowledgeable about the particulars of your insurance coverage. Remember that when speaking with the insurance companythat you are being recorded on every call and the way you speak or words you say could come back against you later.
DocumentationMake sure that you keep records of dates and times you spoke with insurance claims adjusters and copies of all documents they send you. In a situation where there may be several options for repairing damages or obtaining treatment, such as in an auto accident or after a personal injury, it can often be worthwhile to obtain multiple estimates for repair or recovery. In the process of attempting to handle the insurance claim on your own, or in case of a dispute, this can be invaluable.
Know Your NumbersYou should have in mind an amount that your claim is worth. For more information on determining this, you might have a look at this article. Document and keep your sources of research and how you came to this value. The amount needs to be both reasonable to the insurance company and sufficient to cover the expenses you are facing due to the accident, injury, or loss. The most difficult cases for calculating a reasonable amount are typically those involving personal injury and can often overlap with claims to health or auto insurance. If you need further assistance, or are dealing with processing multiple overlapping insurance claims, be sure to contact an attorney with the Coye Law Firm.
Attempt NegotiationInsurance companies will often offer a settlement amount much lower than the amount you feel your claim is worth. This offer may be subject to negotiation and is usually not a firm number, so don’t feel that you must accept the first amount proposed. It may take several phone calls, or several pieces of mail, but you can attempt to negotiate an amount you feel is reasonable.
Report to AuthoritiesIf the insurance company is still responding with a settlement offer which is a great deal less than the amount you research, or if the company denies your claim outright and you have reviewed your policy information and feel your claim is in good faith, gather your documentation and send copies of it with a letter to the Director of Claims of your insurance company by certified mail. At the same time, you can consider sending copies of this information to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR). The FOIR is the office which monitors and ensures insurance companies comply with Florida law.
If you have attempted these steps, and the insurance company is still not willing to negotiate a settlement amount you consider reasonable, or if they are continuing to deny your claim, it is time to contact an experienced Insurance attorney .
Dispute Resolution with RepresentationOnce you have decided to contact an attorney the resolution process will be taken over by them. for an example of this process in regards to a personal injury. Provide your attorney will all copies of documentation and information regarding your claim. Your lawyer will find need full disclosure of all information, including steps you have already taken and statements of verbal conversations with the insurance company, in order to efficiently process your dispute. There will be a few things to consider and expect once working with your attorney in order to expedite the process.
Continued NegotiationIf you are contacted by someone from the insurance company once you are under representation from an attorney, do not continue speaking with insurance adjusters. Politely refer them to our office and provide your attorney with any documentation you receive from them by mail. Your lawyer will continue the negotiation process on your behalf.
Prepare for SettlementYour research may have provided you with a settlement amount which is your ideal, however you should discuss a reasonable minimum amount with your attorney. In the event that your attorney is successful in negotiating this amount for you, you should discuss with your attorney the particulars of settling the claim rather than pursuing further action.
Prepare for Lawsuit
Lawsuits involve several steps you should discuss with your attorney. Filing suit is a serious decision and should not be taken lightly.
The experienced insurance attorneys at the Coye Law Firm are dedicated to providing aggressive representation to clients going through the process of insurance disputes. Contact us today for an evaluation of our ability to assist.