Q: I was in a car accident and had to go to the hospital. I’ve been getting bills from the ER. I keep calling the other driver’s insurance adjuster, who is not calling me back. It’s frustrating. I want to make sure that all the medical bills are taken care of and that I’m not out of pocket anything.
A: It’s not unusual for insurance adjusters to be unresponsive. They are overworked and responsible for too many claims. And frankly, they don’t care that you are receiving medical bills.
You should know that auto insurance companies won’t reimburse you for medical bills right away. They will only agree to cut you a check after several steps, which can take months:
- Coverage Determination: They first verify that their insured’s policy was in effect at the time of the accident and that it applies to the person who was driving the car.
- Liability Determination: They take a statement from their driver in order to determine if the insurance company accepts fault for the accident. Their “liability determination” may be delayed if there was a police report that is not ready, or their driver is not returning their calls to give a statement, or a witness is not returning their calls.
- They rule out whether there are other injury claimants in the accident who will be making competing claims on the policy limit. The issue: what if the collective value of all the injury claims exceeds their driver’s policy limit? The more injury claimants there are, the more likely there will be a delay before they make you a settlement offer.
- You must sign a release, giving up all claims against their insured, before they’ll cut you a check. It’s very important that you don’t sign a release if you have not been paid for all of your losses (medical bills, lost wages, tow bill, repair bill, rental car bill, deductible, diminished value of your car, etc.)
Bottom Line: the other driver’s insurance adjuster is in no rush to pay you. They will take their time. Meanwhile, your medical bills are going into collection and you are getting behind in rent. Don’t let the insurance company control the timeline. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your rights and whether you need an attorney.
Contact McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free consultation.