Our Blogs

Dealing With Car Insurance Companies After An Accident In Connecticut

Written by Daniel B. Brill

Crop businessman giving contract to woman to sign

Being struck by a negligent driver is a stressful and traumatic experience. In addition to dealing with the physical pains, financial stress, and a damaged car, you also have to worry about dealing with insurance companies. This article explains everything you need to know about the insurance claim process in Connecticut.

There are two insurance companies involved in the majority of accidents:

  1. Your insurance company
  2. The other driver’s insurance company

Your Insurance Company

The key difference between your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company is that your insurance company owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing.  The other driver’s insurance company does not.   You have a contract with your insurance company.  You bargained with them over a premium price and amount of coverage.  Once coverage and premiums were agreed upon, you purchased a promise.  As a policyholder, you hold a promise from your insurance company to pay you in the event of a loss, so long as you keep paying your premiums.

In addition to their contractual obligations, your insurance company’s promise to you also includes a duty of good faith and fair dealing.  This means that your insurance company cannot jerk you around, misrepresent things to you, treat you unfairly, or try to avoid paying a claim.  If they do engage in such behavior, your insurance company has committed bad faith and you can sue them.  For this reason, when you deal with your insurance company after an accident, they can’t hide the ball from you or treat you unfairly.

Bad Faith

Here are some specific examples of bad-faith insurance practices:

  • Denying your claim without a valid reason
  • Delaying your claim investigation
  • Offering you a lowball settlement offer
  • Pressuring you to accept a settlement offer
  • Misrepresenting your policy coverage
  • Failing to pay your claim after you have reached a settlement agreement

If you believe that your insurance company is engaging in bad faith practices, you should consult with an attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and they can represent you in any negotiations with your insurance company or in court.

Here are some resources that can help you if you are dealing with a difficult insurance company:

  • Connecticut Insurance Department: 860-297-3800
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC): 816-783-8300
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: 855-411-CFPB (2372)

The Other Driver’s Insurance Company

On the other hand, the other driver’s insurance company has no duty to you.  They can stonewall you, lowball you, and withhold information from you.  They usually will.  This is because the other driver’s insurance company wants to hold onto their money, which means not paying you.

For this reason, you must be extremely careful when talking with the other driver’s insurance company.

Bodily Injury (BI) v. Property Damage (PD)

With every car accident claim, there are two different insurance adjusters assigned to the file: a bodily injury (BI) adjuster, and a property damage (PD) adjuster.  The BI adjuster works on settling your injury claim, and the PD adjuster works on paying for car repairs.

Because you don’t have a contract with them, you have no obligation to speak to the other driver’s insurance company.  However, many BI adjusters will try to get you to talk with them.  Their goals are:

  1. Get you to admit fault
  2. Get you to admit you’re not that hurt
  3. Find holes in your story to use against you
  4. Get you to accept a lowball settlement
  5. Discourage you from seeing a lawyer

Talking to the other driver’s BI adjuster is dangerous.  You should politely tell them not to contact you as you are exploring your legal options.

Getting Your Car Repairs Paid For

For property damage, it is less risky to speak to the other driver’s PD adjuster, so long as you don’t discuss the accident itself or your injuries.  It might be in your interest to get the other driver’s insurance company to pay for your property damage because you won’t have to pay your deductible.  If you have your own insurance company pay for the property damage, you typically must pay a deductible (usually around $500).  Talk to both your adjuster and the other driver’s adjuster and see who is more responsive before deciding which to use to pay for your car repairs.

Gathering Evidence

It is important to immediately start gathering evidence to support your claim. This may include things like:

  • The police report from the accident
  • Medical records
  • Repair estimates or receipts for your car
  • Witness statements
  • Any other documentation that shows the extent of your losses

Hiring a Lawyer

In cases where you are not injured or have minor injuries, you may be able to settle your case yourself.  However, if you have any significant injuries, you should consider hiring a lawyer to understand your legal options.  Trying to settle a major injury case can result in leaving lots of money on the table.  For this reason, it’s always a good idea to pick up the phone and call a qualified personal injury lawyer after an accident.

Bonus Tips

Here are some additional tips for dealing with a difficult insurance company:

  • Be polite but firm.
  • Keep a record of all your communications with the insurance company.
  • Don’t sign anything without first reading it carefully.
  • Don’t accept a settlement offer without first consulting with an attorney.

If you are dealing with a difficult insurance company, it is important to remember that you have rights. You should not be afraid to stand up for yourself if an insurance adjuster is out of line.

If you have questions about handling difficult insurance companies, or you are not sure if you have a personal injury claim, please contact one of our highly qualified personal injury attorneys today.