Hartford Auto Insurance Claims Lawyer

A selective focus shot of a lawyer hovering a gavel over a soundblock.An interesting thing about the East Coast is its love for cars; Connecticut is no exception. With a car enthusiast score of 96.0 (according to Chrysler), the state is the second-best state for car enthusiasts in the country, second only to Delaware.

Hartford, smack-dab in the middle of it all, sees nearly a third of households owning a car. Unfortunately, car culture means more people in cars, which in turn means a greater risk of accidents and a greater dependency on cars, making it hard to recover when accidents happen.

When tragedy strikes, and you suffer injury or property damage (or both) from a car accident, you’ll need a quick path to compensation if you want to get your life back on the road. Maybe it’s time to get a Hartford auto insurance claims lawyer.

What Does a Hartford Auto Insurance Claims Attorney Do?

As a personal injury lawyer, a Hartford auto insurance claims attorney helps you attain fair compensation when you’ve been hurt or lost property in a car accident or other unfortunate event involving your car.

Insurance claims attorneys serve as advocates for your rights against other parties or their respective representatives who would diminish your claim in order to protect their own interests. They help you understand your policy, investigate the accident to build a case, negotiate for a fair settlement, and, if necessary, take your case to court.

How Do You Make an Auto Insurance Claim?

The process of making an auto insurance claim typically starts in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Once you are sure you are safe, you will have the opportunity to start documenting your damages and compiling evidence to support your claim.

Eventually, you and your attorney will have a strong enough case to call your insurance company. The process itself, at this point, is fairly straightforward, though the complexity associated with it arises in the actual interaction with the insurance company.

Let’s walk through the steps of an auto insurance claim.

  • Initial Report and Filing: Once you’ve made the call to your insurance provider, you will be asked to provide the details regarding the accident, including the date and time, location, and identities of any other parties involved. The insurance representative will ask you questions to gain insight into the accident.
  • Claims Assignment and Investigation: The insurance company will assign your claim to a private adjuster – an agent representing the company who also serves as your main contact. This agent will undertake an investigation of their own in order to estimate the worth of your claim from the company’s perspective, and you will just have to wait for them to contact you.
  • Damage Assessment and Initial Offers: Your insurance adjuster will either make you an offer to cover your damages or will work with a preferred health service provider and/or repair shop on your behalf. Keep in mind you do not have to accept this offer right off the bat, and, in fact, your lawyer will probably advise that you do not, as first offers are rarely the maximum amount your claim might be worth.
      • An important part of this step is the assignment of fault to relevant parties. If the other driver is at least 51% at fault, as per Connecticut’s modified comparative negligence rule, their insurance company will handle the claim; otherwise, if you are primarily at fault, you cannot get compensation from the other party.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: This is the stage in the claims process where your attorney gets to flex their skills; your lawyer will argue for a higher amount than the initial offer presents, accounting for damage that the adjuster failed to include in their investigation. Exchanges at this point can get somewhat heated, but in the best-case scenario, your attorney will secure you an amount up to three or four times what you were offered.
  • Payment and Claim Closure: Once you and the insurer have agreed on an amount, the insurance company will either issue a payment to you or to the medical facilities and repair shops that will take care of your injuries and/or property damage.

The issue isn’t that the process itself is complex; rather, the insurance company is a business first and will try to take measures to avoid losses on their end, even if that means a lower payout for you. Your lawyer will be by your side throughout the process, ensuring your needs are placed first, and you get the fair amount you are owed.

What Is Included in an Auto Insurance Claim?

Damages that can be included in an insurance claim depend on the specifics of the insurance policy. Insurance providers offer varying coverage options catering to people of different risk profiles and needs.

Generally, however, you can expect an insurance claim to have some form of coverage for both your car and the injuries of the people involved. Connecticut law, in particular, has a minimum requirement of $20,000 in bodily injury per person per accident, $40,000 in bodily injury for all persons per accident, and $10,000 in property damage per accident (including the car).

These amounts cover injured parties if the policyholder is liable for an accident; they do not cover the policyholder’s own losses. In the event that a liable driver does not have insurance, accident victims may also pursue compensation through their state-required uninsured and/or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policies.

UM/UIM policies will, in most cases, cover both medical expenses and damage to your vehicle, but only in the event that the at-fault driver is uninsured. UIM also covers your damages in the event that the other driver is insured, but their policy is insufficient to pay for all the losses you are owed.

In addition to these, claimants also have several options that specifically compensate for either the automobile, injury, or miscellaneous expenses incurred during an accident.

Car-Specific Coverage

Accident victims have several routes to get compensation for damage to their vehicles. For the most part, this comes in the form of property damage coverage from at-fault parties’ policies, but there are other avenues to draw from.

  • Collision Coverage: This type of coverage pays for damage to your car regardless of fault. Including this in your policy allows you to make a claim for your vehicle even in single-vehicle accidents or if you damaged your car even when you are primarily at fault.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: This comes into play if your vehicle is damaged from events other than accidents, such as theft, vandalism, or environmental damage. Depending on the wording of your policy, this may cover damage to your windshield caused by falling objects while driving, even if these are commonly thought of as accidents.

Injury-Specific Coverage

Options to cover injuries specifically are arguably less common than other types of coverage because liability coverage limits for bodily harm are higher than those for property damage, combined with the fact that UIM policies offer extra compensation in case bodily injury liability coverage is insufficient. However, several choices exist in case these are still not enough.

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs that another party would usually be expected to pay, up to a limit, if they were found at fault for an accident. PIP applies regardless of who is at fault, and if you have it, it applies before liability insurance.
  • Medical Payments Coverage: Much like PIP, Medpay applies regardless of who is at fault, with the exception of only covering medical expenses, either for you or any passengers you have. Unlike PIP, however, Medpay is considered secondary coverage, which means that it only kicks in after your deductible has been met.

Miscellaneous Expenses

There are also other types of coverage that compensate for associated expenses.

  • Rental Car Reimbursement: While Hartford doesn’t suffer from poor walkability the way other major cities do (it has an average walk score of 67), the suburban sprawl surrounding Hartford does contribute to some tasks having to be accomplished with an automobile. When you get in an accident, rental car reimbursement can cover the cost of cars you rent while your own vehicle is rendered unavailable while it undergoes repairs.
  • Towing Reimbursement: Most auto insurance policies include reimbursements for towing your car to a repair shop. This might not seem like a huge deal for local tows, which usually cost $30-$35, but it can make a difference for longer-distance tows for larger vehicles, costing up to $500 or more.
  • Gap Insurance: An acronym for “guaranteed asset protection,” gap insurance is an optional policy that, as the name suggests, pays for the gap between the value of your car and the amount you owe on your loan. Gap insurance usually only comes into play in the event of a total loss, such as a theft where the vehicle is unrecoverable or an accident where irreparable damage renders it unusable.

When You Need a Hartford Auto Insurance Claims Law Firm, Choose Bert McDowell Injury Law!

When you need swift justice for your losses after a car accident, call Bert McDowell Injury Law. Our legal experts have a proven track history of success and, since our founding, have recovered tens of millions of dollars in damages for our clients in Hartford and across the Constitution State.

Working with Bert McDowell Injury Law gives you all the advantages of legal representation with no risk. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid when we win your case.

Contact us today at (203) 590-9169 to get started. It’s time to Bring On Bert!