How to Navigate Auto Insurance Claims After an Accident

Navigating the claims process after an auto accident can be daunting, but there are some key strategies you should always keep in mind in order to maximize your outcome from your claim.

Prioritize safety first; check for injuries and contact 911 if necessary, before gathering as much information about the incident as possible.

Document the Incident

Documenting after a car accident is of utmost importance in order to establish that your side of the story is accurate and obtain a fair settlement for yourself and any others involved.

Doing this immediately will ensure the details remain clear in your mind and help strengthen the credibility of your claim, since memory can often fail under stress-filled situations.

As per the nature of your claim, you may require various forms of documentation – police reports, eyewitness accounts and photographs are just some examples – before filing with your insurer. Once this paperwork has been collected and sent off to the adjuster for evaluation and settlement offer. If this amount does not satisfy you, filing an appeal could help get what is owed to you.

Exchange Information with the Other Parties

Laws vary between states, but most mandate that drivers involved in an accident exchange information with one another. Exchanging names, insurance information (including policy numbers and carriers) and vehicle registration details enables quick claims filing while also eliminating confusion over who caused the collision.

As soon as possible, try to locate witnesses to your accident and collect their contact details. Their testimony can bolster your claim for compensation for damages sustained in your crash.

Make sure to get the name, address, license plate number and any identifying characteristics about their vehicle like special wheels, rims or tinting from its owner as soon as possible after an accident has taken place. This will help determine whether or not those responsible have car insurance; otherwise legal action might need to be taken; usually small claims court is more cost effective and less stressful.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you notify your insurer, an adjuster will be assigned to handle your claim and assist in all aspects of its processing. Your insurer should also send a copy of the police report. Be sure to inquire about an accident-related deductible; according to the Insurance Information Institute this amount represents what must be paid out-of-pocket before your insurer begins covering damages.

When speaking to your insurer, only state what is known. Do not become too chatty during this process as this could negatively impact the outcome of your case. In many instances, insurance companies contact other drivers or witnesses in order to validate or dispute what you have stated; this may delay payment of claims; your agent can handle this part of the conversation if desired.

Contact an Attorney

Car accident lawyers provide drivers and passengers with fair settlements following a crash. They work with your insurance provider to get you a rental car, manage repairs and medical costs associated with repairs to damaged property, negotiate with other driver’s insurer and protect from unfair insurance tactics like forcing you to admit fault or suggesting injuries aren’t severe enough.

Before hiring an attorney, however, you should carefully review your own policy to understand which coverages and deductibles are available to you. Your coverage levels and deductibles could have an enormous effect on what damages may be available to you and their amount.

IF YOU DISSAGREE WITH THE DECISION of your insurance company, you can file for an appeal by providing additional evidence and supporting documents to back up your claim such as police reports, eyewitness statements or medical documentation. Your attorney can help gather this evidence and compose a letter which clearly explains why they don’t agree with their claims denial decision.

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