Is it Easier to Get Compensation from Your Own Insurance or the Other Driver’s?
If you’re involved in a car accident in Wisconsin, you have the right to seek compensation from another driver if they caused the collision. However, you may believe that filing a claim with your own insurer for underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage will simplify the process and get you a better settlement.
Auto insurance companies are primarily profit-driven businesses. All insurers, even your own car insurance company, will seek to minimize payouts and reduce their financial liability, regardless of whether you are a third-party claimant or a customer.
Learn how auto insurance companies prioritize their profits over the rights and needs of their policyholders. A Wisconsin car accident lawyer from Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you review your or another driver’s insurance policy to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
Wisconsin is an at-fault state, meaning you can file an insurance claim against a liable driver to pay for damages and injuries caused by an accident. Due to the state’s at-fault policy, drivers must have the following coverages in their auto insurance policies:
- $25,000 for an injury or death of a person
- $50,000 for injuries or deaths of two or more people
- $10,000 for property damage
- Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for a bodily injury and $50,000 for two or more people
The state doesn’t require drivers to buy collision, medical payments, and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, but you can purchase them for extra coverage.
If you’re in an accident, you can file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance company or with your own insurer to pay out based on your elected coverage. Many assume that filing a third-party claim is more difficult and that their own insurance company will pay them higher benefits quicker.
However, filing with your insurance company will not provide a higher settlement or award you full compensation without trying to reduce the payout. All insurers are for-profit companies, and they will take steps not to pay you the full settlement for your injuries and losses.
After a car accident, the insurance adjusters from your insurer or the other driver will investigate your accident to determine fault and liability for your injuries and property damage. They may review your actions for a reason to offer you a lowball settlement.
The Consumer Federation of America reported that insurers collected $42 billion in excess premiums in 2020 while only paying out $13 billion in premium relief. Insurers will try to deny, delay, or refuse to pay fair compensation to you to protect their revenue and minimize their losses.
During the car insurance claim process, several factors can affect the adjuster’s evaluation of fault, including the police report, statements made by the drivers involved, and social media updates.
- Any opinions you made to the other driver: The insurer will evaluate the police report to understand the officer’s view of fault and each driver’s statements about the accident. For instance, if you apologized to the other driver after an accident, the insurer can use that statement to claim the apology is an admission of liability, resulting in a lower payout and protecting their bottom line.
- Initial and follow-up statements to the insurer: When you call the insurer to file your claim, they will ask you for a detailed account of the accident. If the insurer calls for a follow-up statement, they might compare it to your initial statement to look for inconsistencies and contradictory information, allowing them to reduce your compensation.
- Social media updates: Insurers may search your social media accounts online for your posts, status updates, and photos. They may deny your claim based on anything you say or post, such as claiming a picture of you jogging at your local park proves you were not seriously injured.
The adjuster can attempt to settle your claim for a low amount, hoping that your desire for financial compensation overrides your willingness to negotiate a better settlement. They may prey on your economic vulnerability resulting from medical bills, lost income, and other expenses arising from the car accident.
They might also urge you to accept their settlement offer to resolve these issues or intimidate you into believing you won’t receive compensation if you don’t settle quickly.
If you are involved in an accident and need to file a claim, a Wisconsin car accident lawyer from Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help. Our attorneys can take the following actions to help you understand available coverages through your own insurance, the other driver’s policy, and all options for compensation.
Your lawyer can carefully review your insurance policy to determine the extent of your coverage, including uninsured motorists’ coverage, exclusions, or limitations. They can also check for any optional coverage you may have purchased, such as medical payments, underinsured motorists, or collision coverage. Your lawyer will help file a claim with your insurer and negotiate a settlement.
You can have your lawyer obtain a copy of the other party’s insurance policy to determine their coverage limits and any exclusions or limitations. For example, your attorney can explore whether the other driver has minimum liability coverage as required by the state or if they have no insurance or insufficient coverage to pay for your damages.
Your attorney can file a third-party claim with the negligent driver’s insurance up to the maximum amount and negotiate a settlement. If the insurance company refuses to provide fair compensation, your lawyer will help you explore legal options, such as filing a lawsuit in court for damages.
At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we understand how to negotiate with insurance companies and prevent them from taking advantage of you during the claims process. We are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and providing legal support after a collision.
Our team has been dedicated to this goal since 2018. Our founder, Brian Hodgkiss, has been recognized by his peers for his exceptional work and commitment to the legal profession, earning him a spot on the 2020-2021 Super Lawyers list. When an insurance company attempts to underpay or deny your claim, you can trust us to fight for your rights.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.