We get many phone calls from potential clients who either have cases that are too small for us to handle or are looking for advice on how to negotiate with the insurance companies on their own. One of the first things they ask is what documents the insurance company needs in order to evaluate their claim.

First, you’ve got to realize that there is a large difference between what the insurance company needs in order to evaluate your claim and what they want to evaluate it. Remember that insurance companies are in the business of making money by paying out as little as possible in order to settle a claim. As nice as the representative might be, she is not your friend. Many times, the only reason that they are requesting a document is because they think it will have some piece of information that will allow them to tell you why your claim is worth less than you thought it was.

In the vast majority of cases, the insurance company needs just three things to evaluate your claim:

  1. A police report describing the accident;
  2. All of your medical bills and records from the accident;
  3. Any paystubs that you have reflecting your lost wages.

If you have a prior injury to the same part of your body, the insurance company will want to see your medical records for that injury as well.

That’s it. That’s all they really need.

On the other hand, here are some things that they might ask for that go well beyond what they truly need:

  1. Broad medical authorizations that let them see a lifetime of your records;
  2. Explanation of benefit documentation from your health insurance company (used to argue that they only owe you what the health insurance company paid);
  3. Recorded statements;
  4. Written statements;
  5. Transcripts of court hearings.

In most cases, there is no reason that the claim cannot be evaluated without those things. If the adjuster simply refuses to offer you a settlement figure without those things, you may want to speak with a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney.

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