Insurance is a source of comfort and hope for those who suffer severe injuries in a car crash. You expect that your injuries and financial losses will be offset by the compensation you receive from an insurance claim.
All too often, insurance carriers are eager to pay less than a qualified claim deserves for their own financial benefit. Understanding that the insurance company has a profit motive to deny your claim or offer you a low settlement can help you watch out for some of the dangers that can limit your right to recovery after you get severely hurt.
The insurance policy might not be enough to protect you
Ohio has standard liability insurance requirements for drivers. The driver who is at fault for the crash will be the one whose policy pays costs in most cases.
If the driver only has the lowest amount of insurance to legally drive, that could mean only $25,000 worth of medical coverage if you were the one who got hurt. If you and someone else or multiple other people suffered injuries, they will only be $50,000 worth of coverage to split among everyone impacted by the crash.
Obviously, that amount of coverage could fall woefully short if you have a severe injury, such as one to your brain or your spinal cord. You need to be ready to negotiate, counter a low offer and even ask your insurance company to cover the difference if you have the right coverage.
The insurance company may try to trick you into implicating yourself
After a crash, the insurance company responsible for covering your losses may request that you perform a recorded interview. Partially, this process serves to create an official record of events that led to a major claim.
However, it is common practice for insurance adjusters to ask leading questions and try to manipulate a claimant into making statements that imply they have some degree of liability for the crash. In most cases, you have the right to request that you bring your attorney with you for your own protection.
The insurance company may offer you a settlement that isn’t enough
Even if the other driver has coverage or you have underinsured driver protection to cover your additional costs, you could still face an unreasonably low settlement offer. Low offers are one form of bad faith insurance that can be particularly hard to identify and fight against.
Having an attorney help you with all insurance communications after a crash will limit your risk of making a mistake and ensure that you have someone pushing for the best outcome possible. In some cases, you may have to take legal action against the insurance company for bad faith insurance practices, like denying valid claims.