Accidents lead to millions of injuries every year, and that’s usually when people look to insurance companies for help. But even though you need assistance, the interests they’re looking out for may be their own.

Unintentional injuries sent nearly 30 million people to the emergency room in 2016, the most recently reported year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Car accidents, slip and falls and animal attacks can all leave you with enormous medical bills, which is typically why insurance is around. But the payout isn’t guaranteed, so you’ll want to tread carefully when pursuing a claim.

As the process begins, the insurance company representative will likely be personable and understanding. While they may very well be, that doesn’t mean the company isn’t going to use the information they gather against you. Remember that they a bottom line to look after and that you probably don’t share similar interests.

Friends to an end

Even though they’re not your friend, you will need to cooperate with the insurance company to some extent. If you don’t give them anything, then it’s difficult for the process to move forward. You can usually expect to offer up your account of the incident, but make sure you’re only giving facts, not assumptions. The insurer may also request medical records, but you don’t have to provide your life’s story. Keep it to the window around your accident.

One and done

Once you’ve handed over pertinent information, you don’t need to keep doing so. Agreeing to additional interviews, answering questions multiple times and giving extra details may only hurt you in the long run. If your answers differ the second or third time around, they may try to say you must not be telling the truth.

Info adds up

The insurance company will then run their calculations to determine an offer. This first offer might be an attempt to get things moving along without having to cover all the costs your claim warrants. Make sure you know how much you should get for damages, and you’ll be able to identify when an amount is unreasonable.

Calling backup

The final thing to consider when dealing with the insurance company is that there are people out there who have experience working with insurance companies. You can hire a lawyer to operate on your behalf when you are going through the claims process.

Getting the most out of your claim may not always be easy or intuitive, but acting accordingly could set you up for the help you deserve.