A car accident can change your life in an instant and it can happen without any warning. As if injuries aren’t enough, but you also might need to navigate the complex and lengthy process of an insurance claim. This can be both stressful and confusing, especially if you know nothing about car insurance claims.
But the question still remains. How do car insurance claims exactly work? Here’s what you need to know about car insurance claims, especially if you were injured in a car accident.
After the car accident that you were involved, you should notify the insurance company right away. In some states you can file the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. And in other states, different rules will apply. For example, did you know that Kansas has a no-fault insurance system? This basically means that if you were in a car accident and you’re not the at-fault driver, you have to file the claim with your own insurance company.
After the accident, in most cases the insurance companies will contact you. Sometimes even while you’re recovering. Once the claim gets filed, the insurance company appoints an adjuster who will evaluate your claim and determine its worth.
You might think that the adjuster is here to work in your favor. Well, he/she isn’t. The adjuster appointed by the insurance company works for the insurance company’s interests. The sole goal of the adjuster is to minimize the amount that the insurance company will pay you for your claim.
Working with the adjuster
It’s often the practice that the insurance adjuster will contact you in order to get more information about the accident. The adjuster might even ask you to give a recorded statement. However, if you haven’t yet spoken to a personal injury lawyer, we strongly recommend that you don’t give a recorded statement to the adjuster or any other representative from the insurance company.
The recorded statement and any other evidence is collected for processing your claim. So when the adjuster asks you to give a statement, just politely decline and let him know that you will be willing to give a statement once you consult your personal injury lawyer. In case you’re still under some stress from the accident or you’re experiencing pain and take medication for it, allow yourself some time to pass before giving a statement. Also, you can rely on your personal injury lawyer to negotiate the process with the insurance provider.
Sometimes, the car accident will only cause property damage and no one will be injured. In cases like that, the insurance claim process is pretty simple. The insurance company will ask you to take your car to the mechanic, who will then assess the damage and provide the estimate to the insurance company. Car accidents that only end in property damage is something that you can handle. So you don’t really need a personal injury lawyer.
Determining who’s at fault
It’s the adjuster’s job to determine who caused the accident and who’s at fault. Sometime, even when the police record clearly state that you’re not at fault, the adjuster will try to dispute it.
Another practice is that insurance companies sometimes want to settle a claim rather quickly. If someone from an insurance company approaches you and makes you an offer, don’t accept it. It’s best to first speak to a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your claim. Because when insurance companies make you an offer right away, the offer is usually extremely low compared to the realistic value that you should be compensated for (the insurance company is trying to pay out as little as possible).
Once your personal injury lawyer evaluates your claim, you will realize that the offer from before was really low. The lawyer will provide you a range of values and a fair offer from the insurance company should fall within that range.
When you agreed on how much you would request from the insurance, the lawyer will draft a letter, include additional proof and send the new offer to the insurance company. The insurance company can do three things: accept your offer, offer you a lower amount or just deny it.
As you can see, the insurance claim process is not as simple. The entire process can be a complicated maze you need to navigate and that’s why it’s important that you have a good and experienced personal injury lawyer who will support you.
A complete and thorough investigation should be conducted shortly after an accident to determine the cause of the accident. Negligence or a defective product may have been the proximate cause of the collision. In any event, you are entitled to seek the truth and have your case heard by a jury or judge. In Arizona, the parties can agree to have the matter heard by a judge in a more expeditious and inexpensive manner.
Truck Accident Statistics
In 2005, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) disclosed that there were over 5,000 fatalities involving the use of commercial trucks. You should be ready to file a claim after a trucking accident, given the great number of accidents caused by trucks and the severe injuries that are commonly suffered after one of these accidents.
If you have been injured after one of these victims, you deserve to have your rights protected.
Truck Inspections and Highway Safety
Trucks must be inspected regularly and must adhere to the FMCSA standards. The drivers must also be regularly supervised and certified so that safe road can be assured for the general public.
Unlike passenger vehicles in Arizona, that require minimum insurance coverage of $15,000 to $30,000 for any bodily injury, commercial trucks must carry at least a minimum of $750,000 in insurance for any bodily injury that may occur on the road. It is essential to verify insurance coverage in these trucks after an accident because sometimes the owner may lease the truck, and the lessor may not carry the insurance mandated by the law.
Trucking Company and Truck Driver Regulations
Regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standardize the use and maintenance of commercial trucks. These truck regulations include the use of controls and displays, starter interlocks, windshield defrosting and defogging systems, hydraulic and electric brake systems, and trailer load-carrying capacity.
Further, truck drivers must comply with rules regarding receipts and bills, the transportation of household goods in interstate commerce, controlled substances and alcohol use and testing, commercial driver’s license standards, and other employee safety and health standards.
The regulations are extensive, and the breach of any of these rules may cause an accident and severe injuries or loss of life.
Seriously Injured in a Truck Accident?
You need to pursue legal action within the statute of limitations and gather all the necessary information quickly before you lose valuable evidence in your case. The preservation of evidence is needed so that you are able to present all the correct and relevant information at court. The attorneys at Schenk Podolsky are highly qualified to handle trucking accident claims and lawsuits—contact us today to pursue your legal claim.
If you have suffered a severe injury, or if a loved one has lost his or her life, as a result of a trucking accident, please contact our law firm. We can understand the scale of these cases, and we know how to properly conduct truck accident investigations through experts to prosecute your claim.
We have a commitment to excellent personal service and to helping victims of truck accidents involving serious injury, or wrongful death, and will diligently pursue your claim.
Ease and convenience have been the main factors that propelled ride-sharing applications Uber and Lyft into what they are today: dominators of ride-hailing, not only in the United States but also worldwide.
What kind of insurance do Uber and Lyft drivers have?
Since drivers work for long hours a day, safety and insurance policies had been in talks and have been implemented by the two ride-sharing services. For starters, Uber and Lyft require their drivers to have their own car insurance first, before becoming accredited drivers.
The two ride-sharing companies also provide certificates of insurance to their drivers, providing them with a comprehensive insurance policy that depends on certain circumstances.
This is in addition to the three-part insurance plan that both Uber and Lyft provide their drivers and passengers, which notes that drivers that have their Uber or Lyft app turned off while driving is only covered by their own policies. Moreover, drivers who have their app turned on, or on driver mode, but have no passengers are covered by liability insurance of $100,000. Insurance claims $1,000,000 applies from the moment a driver accepts a passenger ride request until the passenger leaves the vehicle.
Insurance policies vary between these companies as well. Uber has since partnered with Allstate, Farmers Insurance, James River Insurance, and Progressive for their policies. Lyft, on the other hand, has since extended their policy reach to all 50 states, even in Toronto, Canada.
What should a ridesharing driver do after an accident?
Make sure everyone is safe. Once you have checked yourself for any personal injury, check on your passengers. Depending on how fast you are going, you or your passengers may experience whiplash. Take note of all symptoms or health issues that you and your passengers may have.
Call 911. Informing a police officer will be beneficial, as they are trained to collect crucial information.
Collect insurance information. You are required by the ridesharing company to collect insurance information, so make sure to take note or snap a picture of the license plate of the other vehicle, as well as the other driver’s license.
Document your experience. It is important to record your experience as long as you can still remember all the details. It would help to use a camera or an audio recorder to do this.
Report the incident to your ridesharing company. Give them a detailed record of the accident. There is a possibility that your account will be temporarily suspended until they are sure that your car is working and safe to be driven around again.
If involved in an Uber or Lyft accident, you can best protect yourself by calmly documenting what has happened:
- Record your driver’s name, phone numbers, and email, and auto insurance details>This may be done more easily with a smartphone by taking photos of the driver’s license and insurance card, then also noting phone number and email.
- Record the name, phone numbers, and email of the driver(s) of other vehicles involved in the accident, as well as their auto insurance details
- Record names, phone numbers, and email of any eyewitnesses
- Photograph the Uber or Lyft vehicle, and other vehicles involved in the accident, as well as the accident scene
- Save a screenshot of your ride receipt
- Contact the police to file an official report
- Accept and obtain medical assistance for any injuries
- Having this information will prove valuable if you subsequently suffer from medical issues resulting from the accident and need to consult a personal injury attorney.
The state of Arizona requires auto insurance coverage as any other state when you’re directly operating a vehicle within the state. Arizona requires all of its drivers maintain minimum insurance requirements.
If you got your insurance, your company would usually notify the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), but it is still your responsibility to make your insurance valid when you are asked. The state of Arizona is specific. Arizona follows a tort legal system for insurance. In a tort system, someone must always be found at fault after an accident. A person that has insurance is then required to pay for damages incurred by the accident they caused.
All personal vehicles in Arizona require the following liability coverage requirements:
- Bodily Injury
- Property Damage
Minimum Arizona Car Insurance Requirements are per bodily Injury Liability ($15,000 / $30,000 Limit) and Property Damage Liability ($10,000 Limit).
These type of insurances covers the paying expenses resulting from an accident where a person does not have enough coverage to pay for the damages that person caused.
Comprehensive coverage pays for any non-collision related incident (after the deductible). Your car being broken into (or) fire damage collision after you have deductible determined. In an insurance policy, the deductible is the amount paid out of pocket by the policyholder before an insurance provider will pay any expenses (Source Wikipedia). Comprehensive insurance can keep you protected. Following list is based on comparative statistic across the United States in (2013) of most-stolen vehicles
1. 1997 Honda Accord
2. 1997 Honda Civic
3. 2001 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
4. 2004 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
5. 2005 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
6. 1997 Nissan Altima
7. 1994 Nissan Sentra
8. 1991 Toyota Camry
9. 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
10. 1995 Nissan Maxima
Proof on Insurance and Financial Responsibility
There are two types:
- Self Insurance (companies with ten vehicles at least/qualified individuals)
- Liability car insurance policy
De Insurance is possible on an occasion where you temporarily uninsured their vehicle f your vehicle will not be or cannot be driven on public roads. Required Documentation as proof of insurance, you can provide Insurance ID card, Copy of Insurance Policy or Certificate of self-insurance. Also, it’s your responsibility on occasions when your insurance is asked as proof by a police officer or after an accident.
Police officers can ask you for proof any time you are operating a vehicle!
There are restrictions and financial penalties if you are unable to show the proof at the occasion when needed like:
- Fines ranging between a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars plus additional fees if it’s a first offense and increase for 2nd and 3rd offense
- Driver’s license and plate suspension of 3 months (1st offense), six months (2nd offense) and one year (3rd offense)
- The requirement to submit an SR-22 form and pay reinstatement fees for the next three years
Crucial information is also that you don’t speak to Insurance Adjuster until you hire an Arizona Lawyer!
Rating factors are based on your driving record that insurance companies review to decide if they will ensure you and determine your premiums. By reviewing your driving record, a car insurance company can see what type of risk you pose.
If you have a clean record, it is less risky and will likely result in a safe driver discount and lower rates. Having a moving violation or accident (DUI, speeding) makes you at a higher risk and means higher rates if the company decides to continue with your insurance.
Remember that certain companies will take higher risk driver as potentially uninsurable.
How often does Insurance company check my record?
For an Insurance company, standard practice is to review your driving record is when you initially apply for auto insurance and before the renewal period. At renewal time, your driver record is checked to see if you have any violations now listed that would cause your rates to rise or for policy to be non-renewed. If you apply for coverage, your driving record is checked to see the risk rate for the insurer and to help determine your premium coverage. If you have violations on your driving record that have fallen off, your rates should go down when your policy renews. There are checkups of your driving record when you change coverages, add a vehicle, add or remove drivers.
Will an accident or violation on my driving record raise my rates?
For accidents, it depends on the nature of the accident as well as fault. Minor accidents can be forgiven under state law or by an insurance company, primarily if you are not found to be at fault. If you are found to be at fault for a major accident, your car insurance rate can increase, or you could even get a cancellation of coverage subject to state law. Violations affect your rates because they show you are more of a risk. If you got a minor speeding ticket and had your driving record clean till then, your rates may not go up, but your safe driver discount could be taken away. If you get more significant offenses, you pose as a risk so expect your rates to increase drastically. States like Arizona keeps track of your moving violation. If you violate bail conditions while being charged for moving violations, points will be assessed to your driving record.
Points stay on your driving record for 12 months.
If you have 8 or more points on your record tour license will be suspended for 12 months, or you will be required to attend traffic survival school.
|Driving Under the Influence
|Extreme Driving Under the Influence
|Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Hit-and-Run)
|Failure to Stop or Yield, Resulting in a Fatal Crash
|Failure to Stop or Yield, Resulting in a Serious Injury
|Driving or Parking in the Gore Area
|All Other Moving Violations
Liability Car Insurance Arizona
The state of Arizona has a unique condition regarding the legal requirements. The driver must have financial responsibility for damages that may occur during the accident. One of two forms needed is proof of liability insurance or Certificate of deposit of $40,000 assigned to the Office of the Arizona State Treasurer. This proof is required as you became the citizen of Arizona.
Arizona residency is determined by the following:
- Working in the state of Arizona
- Being in Arizona for at least 7 months in one calendar year
- Registering to vote in Arizona
- Owning a business in Arizona with in-state vehicle
- Paying in-state tuition for yourself or your children
Optional types of coverage can save you money, in addition to liability insurance. Arizona car insurance to provide this offer!
Proof of Financial Responsibility
In the state of Arizona, you must prove your financial responsibility, meaning you must have money covering the possibility of an accident. If you are caught driving without proof of car insurance, you can get a minimum $500 fine and license/registration suspension for three months. Subsequent violations may result in I higher penalties.
You must carry liability insurance to prove your financial responsibility through auto insurance.
Liability insurance helps you pay for damage to others (Property and injuries )in an accident for which you are found at fault.
Liability Coverage in Arizona:
o $15,000 per person.
o $30,000 total per accident.
- Property damage coverage:
o $10,000 per accident.
If you determine that you need great auto insurance, you can increase your limits and add optional coverage.
Self-Funded Insurance option
You can assign deposit (CD) account to the Office of the Arizona State Treasurer, opt out your insurance by keeping $40,000 in a certificate of that deposit you can get more information by contacting the Arizona State Treasurer’s office at (602) 542-7800.
Optional Car Insurance in Arizona
Insurance agents can offer you a variety of optional insurance coverage types that provide further protection:
Common types include:
- Fee for Damages to your vehicle that you cause-collision coverage
- Fee for Damages to your car caused by external factors like theft, whether or wildlife- comprehensive coverage
- Fee for Damages or injury caused by drivers without auto insurance, or whose insurance limits do not cover your costs – Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage.
- Additional coverage to pay medical expenses- Medical payments coverage
- Additional fee if you need to rent a car after an accident- Rental reimbursement coverage
- Pays for repairs and replacements to your windshield and other glass- Full glass coverage
- Collision Coverage and comprehensive coverage may be required if you are leasing or financing your car!
Arizona proof of Insurance:
- Your car is registered in Arizona.
- A police officer stops you.
- You are involved in a car accident.
Accepted forms of proof of insurance:
- Auto insurance policy copy
- An image of your insurance card on a mobile device
- An insurance card from your Arizona car insurance company.