Any car accident that causes significant property damage or an injury or fatality will lead to an insurance investigation. The exact process of the investigation varies depending on the circumstances of the accident and the policies of the insurance companies involved, but any insurer will take certain steps.
Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money, and that means they're always looking for ways to reduce or deny claims. Even your own insurer is not necessarily on your side. Knowing how insurance companies find the information they need to build their case will help you with a potential personal injury claim.
Investigating the Accident Scene
It's typical for insurance companies to send someone to physically investigate the accident scene or the vehicles involved. They will inspect your vehicle and, if applicable, the other vehicle for damages. They will take photos and talk to the other driver as well as any witnesses. If the police investigated the accident scene, they will also ask for a copy of the police report to review.
Any information the insurance company collects during this investigation can be used against you. That's why it's important to take your own pictures and review the accident report to make sure it's accurate. The sooner you correct any errors, the easier it will be to get the compensation you need.
If you were injured in the accident, your insurance company will likely want to review your medical records and speak with your care providers regarding your treatment for those injuries. Be very, very cautious when it comes to signing a release to give them that information. A blanket release will give the insurance company the right to look at all of your medical information and potentially use that information against you. The best policy is to check with an attorney prior to signing a release and make sure it is limited to the information the insurance company absolutely needs.
In an age when many people put seemingly their entire lives on social media, it's not surprising that insurance adjusters are there as well. They'll review official documents such as your claims history, evidence of property damage and proof of wage loss, but just as important is the information they'll find on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks. For instance, if they see a picture of you swimming, biking or playing sports at a time you claimed to be recovering from a serious injury, they can use that information to deny your claim.
The best policy, besides making sure you share truthful information with the insurance company, is to be very cautious about what you post on social media. Avoid putting photos or talking about the accident online, and make sure your friends aren't posting pictures of you that could affect your claim. Once something is on the Internet, it can't ever be truly removed.
Above all, remember that insurance companies will do everything they can to collect information that reduces their own costs - and thus your compensation. That's why it's so critical to retain an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. We will conduct our own investigation on your behalf and build you a case to get the compensation you need.