Filing an accident claim with your insurance company is rarely easy. You want to make sure you do everything properly so you get what you deserve and need to pay for damages and injuries. If you are in an accident, the following tips will help you avoid some common pitfalls.
Make the Right Calls
Your first phone call after an accident should be to your insurance agent. You want to notify the agent of the accident so they can get the ball rolling on the claim, but this isn't the time to make a written statement or admit fault in the accident. Just simply report that it occurred and give only the bare facts of when and where. You can give a full statement when you have had time to recover and after the initial shock of the event wears off.
Although it's true that your insurance company will be documenting things, you need to document everything, too. This way you have the evidence necessary if you have to take the insurance company to court for a fair payment. Take photographs of your car's damage, along with the accident scene, if possible. Also take photographs of any injuries you or your passengers sustained.
Keep copies of all written documents, including police reports and anything received from hospitals or doctor's visits. If the insurance requests these documents, send them copies and keep the originals.
Review Your Policy
Review your entire policy as soon as you are able. You need to specifically check what is covered, the amount of the deductible, and any time limitations on claims. The sections that outline the exclusions and coverage are the most important ones to understand. You may also need to review other policies that may provide coverage. Most notably, your home insurance policy may cover a portion of your injury claims.
Understanding your policy is key to making sure the insurance company makes a fair offer.
Get a Second Pair of Eyes
A second pair of eyes is indispensable during a car accident claim. Retain the services of an attorney that specializes in car accident claims. Hiring a lawyer doesn't automatically mean you are going to sue or that you will end up in court. They can help you understand your insurance policy and work with the insurance company to get you a fair pay out. They can also advise you and help you draft the written statement to the company on what happened.
Don't hide anything from your attorney, and consult with them before making final decisions. You don't want to sign any releases, wavers, or final payment checks from the insurance company unless your lawyer advises you to do so. For more information, contact Gibbs and Parnell or a similar firm.