In order to be as prepared as possible in the unfortunate instance that you are in an auto accident, don’t stress yourself out even more than you will be. Print this guide out and keep it in a small bag in your glove box with a pen, paper, and a camera.
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What are the steps of the claims process?
An Overview of the Insurance Claim ProcessWhen 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.
In our second part of the informative series “My Neck, My Back”, we explore the condition of Radiculopathy, a common condition caused by traumatic neck and back injuries during motor vehicle collisions.
Determining the actual value of your car accident claim, and therefore how much you should ask for in return from the liable party’s insurance company, is a straightforward and simultaneously complicated process. It can be simple in terms of vehicular damage. If you have been physically injured as a result of the car accident, you will need to know the cost of your own recovery, which is far easier said than done. Read more here about how professionals determine your claim value.
The fact is that you may need a personal injury lawyer to properly protect your rights and interests, and that attorney will need certain information to properly assess your case.
How would you respond if an accident happened and you knew that you were not at fault? That response could make all the difference in the world when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and possible legal consequences, so you need to be aware of the right steps to take to ensure that your rights are protected.
If you've been injured and it was not your fault, you most likely have a personal injury case. What do you do this situation? Here are twelve tips and considerations in beginning a personal injury claim.
A recent catastrophic accident involving two semi tractor trailers and six cars or pickup trucks showed how clearly large trucks have the advantage in an accident. However, does this mean cars are always going to lose in accidents with bigger vehicles? Increasingly, materials and engineering have leveled the field. Read more from Bill Coats Law in Bellingham, WA about top safety ratings for cars.
Pets - 84% of pet owners travel with their pets in automobiles, which can lead to dangerous distractions. For more statistics on distracted driving, and ways to keep pets safe in cars, click here.
Bill Coats Law specializes in wrongful death cases in devastating car accidents. With empathy and grit, our lawyers walk survivors through the complicated process of financial recovery. Click here for this guide to basic questions answered about damages recoverable in wrongful death cases.
It may feel overwhelming to dig through all the complexities and bills at such a difficult time, but this short article by Bill Coats Law, a personal injury firm in Bellingham, WA, guides survivors through the morass. Click here to learn what survivors need to know about recoverable damages in wrongful death cases.
Bill Coats Law, a personal injury firm in Bellingham, WA, specializes in wrongful death lawsuits and the complexities of car accident cases. A common question when family members come out of the fog and trauma of losing a loved one in a car accident is what kinds of damages are available to help them dig out of the financial tragedy. Click to read about your rights in wrongful death lawsuits.
Negotiation, strategy, experience and skill - all of these qualities make a personal injury claim reach a successful verdict or settlement. But here is one key aspect that can easily be overlooked by personal injury attorneys working with injured people. Bill Coats Law, of Bellingham, Washington, is the top car accident law firm in the fourth corner and writes on this basic human quality that wins cases.
Empathy. Bellingham, WA car accident attorney Bill Coats writes about how even the toughest lawyers win cases using emotion and empathy.
Insurance claims adjusters are notoriously adept at negotiating a smaller claim than their insured would like. If you've got a financed or leased vehicle, you may be in for a bigger shock than even the claims adjuster can give you if you lack gap insurance. Here's what you need to know about this coverage.
It's a step not everyone will have to take, but using your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection means some fairly complicated fine print can affect your claim. Insurers are skilled at looking for ways to reduce your compensation, as it saves their bottom line. Click here for a video series from Bill Coats Law on what you need to know about using your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection.
It can be yet another devastating blow to learn that the person who killed someone you love in a car accident doesn't have a high enough policy to cover the wages your family will lose. But don't despair. There is a way to seek these damages. Click to learn more about uninsured motorist coverage in wrongful death claims.
A little-know rule called the Hamilton Rule factors into uninsured/underinsured motorist policies. Though very seldom used, it gives insurance companies the right to sue an at-fault driver before the victim would file a claim to recoup their losses. If you don't take this step in the right order, your insurance company deny your claim and pay you nothing. Click to watch this video by Bill Coats Law on taking this necessary step in the claims process.
One of the most important aspects of figuring out a fair settlement is including money for lost wages. Lost wages don't just mean the time off of work someone had to take while recovering from injuries. What if you can't go back to the same job you had before and must take a lower paying job instead? Check out this video on wage loss to determine if you might be due more money for your claim than the insurance company is trying to offer.
One last step of the claims process may mean a big fat check to your health insurance company - signed by you
It's a shocking title for my video about a fairly common policy that takes many accident victims by surprise. For more information on reimbursement, or subrogation, after an auto accident, click here.
Accident victims have a wide range of reactions after a crash, and as a personal injury lawyer here in Bellingham, WA, I have seen them all. While one might expect that someone would seek medical attention soon after a collision, that's not always the case. I created this video linked through this article on what all accident victims should do after an auto accident.
Don suffered disc injuries to his low back in an accident where the at-fault driver pulled into traffic and struck the side of Don’s classic 1955 Ford T-Bird. Don’s injuries were severe enough that he could not return to his physically demanding work as a paramedic. Although Don was close to retirement, he was counting on a few more good work years. Here is one accident victim's story of how a good personal injury attorney helped him find money for lost wages, despite the fact that the at-fault driver did not have car insurance.
A hit and run accident that happens to a bicycle rider is unconscionable. In most accidents between a car and a bike, the bicyclist is the one with the far greater injuries. On a bicycle, you are much more vulnerable to impact than in a car, even at relatively low speeds. If the driver takes off, added to the pain of the injuries is the frustration and anger at that terrible response. Even if the driver who hit you while you were on bicycle is never found, you have options for recovery. Click to learn what they are.