So you’ve got a claim and you need to get paid. Well, I am going to tell you how to persuade adjusters to pay your claim!
While in this article I am primarily referring to a scenario after a car accident, with or without a personal injury, these tips will also help you out in any other type of insurance claim, such as from a hail storm or other damage to your house or car.
How to Open an Insurance Claim in Oklahoma
In the context of a motor-vehicle accident, you will need the insurance information for the other vehicle. Once you have that, you simply call the insurance company, explain you were in an accident with their driver, and voila, you have now opened a claim. In the context of filing a claim with your own insurance carrier, such as your homeowners insurance policy in the event of a hail storm, you simply call the company, and inform them of the storm, the damage caused, and that you need to file a claim and get paid.
How to Settle Your Insurance Claim in Oklahoma
Now that you’ve opened the claim, you need to get paid. Follow these proven tips for quickly settling your claim.
Tip #1. Gather all of the evidence that supports your claim and be prepared to share it all with the insurance company.
This entire article could be summarized in this one tip. Proving anything under the law requires evidence. If you are wanting compensation for property damage, have documentation ready that clearly explains the value of the property and the costs of repairing the damage or replacing the lost item. In a car accident case, this could be a repair estimate from an auto body shop, or the actual repair bill if you already paid and had the repairs done. If your car is totaled (total loss, meaning cost of repair exceeds cost of replacement), have documentation that will confirm the value of the loss, such NADA estimates. If you have medical bills you want paid, you will need documentation linking the medical treatment to the damage caused by the insured. Lost wages? Need documentation. You will need documentation for everything. Whatever claims you have that are not supported by documentation, you will need witnesses. So start taking names and numbers now, because you will need them.
Tip #2, if you want the insurance company to pay for your medical treatment, then help them verify your injury and treatment by gathering all of the medical documents and sending them to the adjuster.
If you want the insurance company to pay your medical bills, you need to get them copies of the bills. They won’t pay for your medical bills unless they’ve had a chance to review all the medical documents to determine if the injury was caused by the loss (i.e. the car accident, or whatever event giving rise to the claim). Also, be aware that there is a difference between “medical records” and “medical bills.” You need to obtain both from the medical provider and give both to the insurance adjuster. In a lawsuit, this exchange of documents would be required. So if you are trying to resolve this claim outside of court, go ahead and get the medical documents together and exchange them.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to give them every document for every medical procedure you’ve ever had. Beware if the insurance company is claiming that a pre-existing condition or injury is the cause of your present injury. They may ask you fetch every medical document under the sun, which only delays you getting paid for the claim. If you feel like you’re getting pushed around in an paper chase, call Travis Charles Smith, an experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury lawyer.
Tip #3, to recover payment for lost wages, gather documents that support how much money you should have earned but for the loss.
If you are seeking compensation because the accident caused you to miss work (therefore, losing those paychecks), be prepared to demonstrate, through documentation, exactly how much money you should have made. You can use old pay stubs, W-2 forms, or even last year’s tax return. But you will need to have evidence proving your lost wages.
Tip #4, You can recover money for Annoyance, Inconvenience, and/or Pain and Suffering, but you need to be able to break everything down, stick a number next to it, and have documents or testimony supporting each category.
These categories of damages are a little harder to quantify. But try your best. First, make a list of all the things in your life that were affected by this accident. Write them down. Now that you have that list, try to put a dollar figure on some of those items. Did you have tickets to a show that were never used? Put a dollar sign next to it. Use this as a guideline. The key is to have a story behind every claimed category of loss, and evidence supporting that story. As stated in Tip #1, whatever claim can’t be supported with documents, use witness testimony. So be sure to write down all individuals who will provide supporting testimony for each category of loss.
Tip #5, even though you have broken every category down, now combine everything together and make a global demand.
One strategy that we often use is to compile everything and make a global demand. This allows the insurance company to internally put the dollar figures where they want them. To you, it doesn’t matter whether they take away from your personal injury but add to your lost wages, or vice versa, so long as you get the lump sum you desire.
The key to this game is to be prepared to break everything down, explain values for each item, and have documents to back up those numbers. The areas where you lack documentation, you will supplement with testimony. That could be your own testimony, as well as that of neighbors. For instance, you can tell them that you suffered greatly, were unable to make love to your spouse, missed quality time with the kids, and just felt tremendous pain. Inform them that you will testify to that loss, as well as your spouse, and name every other person who will testify as to your inability to spend time with your family, all of which are forms of non-economic loss.
And at the end of the day, if you just don’t have time or the patience to deal with the insurance companies, you can always call us. We handle these matters so you don’t have to. Our contingency fees are reasonable and are structured on a case by case basis, taking into consideration all of the unique facts and circumstances of each case. Whether you were involved in a car accident, or you are making a claim for hail damage with your own home policy, we can help. Our goals are always the same: maximize your recovery and allow you to get on with your life.