An Overview of the Insurance Claim Process
When you get in an accident, what should you do? The first steps are easy:
- Move your car to the side of the road;
- Make sure no one is injured, and get medical help for those who are;
- Call 911;
- Take pictures of the vehicles;
- Exchange information with the other party;
- Call your insurance company.
Next comes the insurance claim process.
Dealing with your insurance company
Typically you will need to coordinate with your claims adjuster, who will ask you a series of questions, including:
- What were the circumstances of the collision?
- What are your injuries?
- How badly damaged is your vehicle?
- Where is your car located?
Sometimes the insurance adjuster will ask for a recorded statement from you about the accident. Most insurance policies require you to cooperate with the adjuster but do not require you to give a recorded statement.
Getting your vehicle repaired
Your insurance company will want you to use one of their preferred repair shops, but you are not required to do so. When you decide where you want the car fixed, tell the insurance company and the adjuster will reach an agreed price with the shop. This is the price that the insurance company agrees to pay, and the shop agrees to accept. You should not be charged anything other than your deductible.
Filing an injury claim
An injured person is entitled to recover the reasonable value of medical bills, lost wages, damaged vehicles, and a reasonable value for pain and suffering. Determining what a case is worth requires experience, and therefore it is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer. If you do decide to handle it yourself, remember that a statute of limitations limits the time you have to either file a claim or launch a lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations, so ask an injury attorney what the statute is in your area.
Sometimes adjusters will just send a check for the amount they have deemed your case to be worth. Be very, very wary of signing and cashing such a check without first consulting an attorney. Once you cash it, your case is considered settled and cannot be re-opened later if your injuries and medical bills turn out to be more than originally thought.
Get legal help to maintain your rights and options after a serious car accident
When a serious collision happens, the best way to help an injured person is to find the legal help they will need to recover financially from the costs they are dealing with. Medical bills, lost wages from missed work, damaged vehicles, and other financial stresses are often associated with injury car accidents. An experienced injury lawyer will take over the process of financial recovery so that the injured person can concentrate on moving forward.