Getting into a vehicle crash is something many people would rather avoid. You should call your insurance provider as soon as possible after a car accident, after ensuring your own safety, of course. Sometimes, the legalities around auto insurance claims may get complicated.
However, Agents working for insurance companies have a vested interest in keeping costs down for their organization. As a result, you can’t trust them to give you honest answers. You may safeguard your ability to get full and fair compensation for the losses you experienced in a car accident by paying close attention to the following dos and don’ts of auto insurance claims.
What to Do When Filing Your Auto Accident Claims
Here are some of the things you should do when filing a car accident claim:
Report of the Incident
Any traffic collision resulting in death, serious injury, or property damage over $1,500 (if all vehicles involved are insured) or $500 (if at least one vehicle is uninsured) must be reported. When law enforcement arrives, be as factual as possible about what happened before the crash.
Receive Medical Care
There are too many people to list who believe they are alright right after an accident but who have severe agony the next day. This not only hurts your chances of winning in court, but it also hinders your physical health. After an accident, seeing a doctor quickly is crucial for setting any broken bones and diagnosing any additional injuries. They’ll be recorded for your insurance provider, too, so that claim processing goes more smoothly.
Reach Out To Your Insurance Provider
After receiving medical attention, you should get in touch with a representative from your insurance company to file a claim. Your agent will have you fill out forms and ask you a series of questions. You will provide the representative with the relevant details for them to process your claim. Check your policy’s coverage and exclusions to be sure no nasty surprises are waiting for you. Keep careful records of all of your telephone interactions, noting the times, dates, names, and positions of everyone you talk with.
Take Notes/Photographs of Everything
Take notes or photographs of the accident site and the vehicles involved if at all possible; if you can’t, ask a friend or family member to do so on your behalf. Document the injuries you sustained and the damage to your cars using photographs or video.
If you’re having difficulties getting a fair settlement from the insurance company or think you might need a car accident attorney, having evidence like this will help. Having images of the injury is a good idea because cuts, scratches, and bruising tend to heal rapidly. Use your mobile device’s camera in the absence of a dedicated digital camera.
Do Keep Your Receipts
The cost of dealing with an auto accident’s aftermath can quickly add up. Medical expenses, vehicle repair or replacement costs, future medical care, lost income, lost earning potential, pain, and suffering, and emotional anguish are only some of the damages that may be compensable in an accident case. Keep track of every receipt you get for the money you have to pay out of pocket.
Consult a Lawyer
Avoid signing anything that you don’t fully comprehend. If you want to be sure your rights are safeguarded, you should hire an attorney. You can never tell how bad an accident is, so it’s important to have legal representation on hand just in case. You have no idea of your responsibility. An experienced car accident lawyer will advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair payout from your insurance company.
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Don’ts of Filing a Car Accident Claim
Here are some of the things you should avoid when filing a car accident claim:
Avoid Making Assumptions and Providing Unnecessary Details
You may have been in an accident, but you may not fully understand what led to the specific outcomes. Avoid making assumptions. Respond truthfully but solely with facts when asked questions by law enforcement or insurance representatives.
Don’t Accept Liability
It’s possible to be mistaken about who caused an accident, even if you’re sure it was you. It’s difficult to pin down who’s at fault. It requires thinking about a wide range of things. Let the authorities do their own investigation and come to their own judgments on who is at fault. Even though you did not cause the accident, if you admit responsibility, the insurance company may not compensate you fairly for your damages.
Avoid Negotiating with the Other Driver
The other driver has no authority to decide how much your claim is worth. You run the risk of not getting properly reimbursed for your injuries and losses if you try to bargain outside of the insurance procedure. If the other motorist has insurance, you can handle any communications with the insurance company through your lawyer. If the other motorist doesn’t have insurance, you can inquire about your own policy’s coverage by calling your insurance provider.
Avoid Taking an Insurance Agent’s Assessment without Questioning
Do not automatically accept the insurance adjuster’s assessment of your claim’s worth. The insurance firm’s bottom line is directly tied to how little it pays out in claims. You can either try to obtain damage estimates on your own or consult a lawyer for assistance.
Don’t Agree to Anything without Talking to an Attorney First
If you cash a check labeled “full and final payment,” you are waiving your right to any further financial recompense and giving up any further legal recourse. The company’s offer of compensation might not be sufficient to pay all of the costs associated with your injury. An attorney can advise you on how much you should ask from the insurance company and help you negotiate the greatest potential settlement on your behalf.
Be Wary About Signing Any Medical Permissions
Your medical records may be requested by an insurance company representative. However, the insurer has no right to see any documents other than those directly relevant to your accident treatment. Beyond that, any further inquiry into your medical history by the insurance company would be an invasion of your privacy. Consult an attorney if you have any concerns regarding the authorization.
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