Getting in a car accident and then having to deal with the hassle of lawyers and insurances companies afterwards is a hugely stressful time for anyone to have to endure. It’s often completely new terrain for the victim, who won’t have knowledge of the legalities surrounding accidents and their rights.
That’s why it’s so important for accident victims to find a lawyer who not only represents them well but explains the process to them. A bonus will be if he offers the cheapest car insurance online.
Knowing how to handle a claim in order to receive the most coverage leaves you in the best position, especially when it comes to your time, wellbeing and finances.
The Scene of the Crime
First, it’s imperative to know what to do when an accident occurs. Here is where you become the detective. If you are able to immediately following the accident, safely document license plate numbers, and the insurance information of the involved parties along with their names and addresses.
After this, take as many photographs as you can. With digital devices these days, photos are extremely useful documentation devices because of their ability to record the exact time, location, and extent of damage. Being able to show the scene is much more valuable that the words of witnesses who perhaps didn’t see or experience the full incident.
As you document the damage, make sure to get close-ups as well as distance shots. Make sure to show the full scene, every car involved, and any specific details that you know were an effect of the accident.
Their Insurance Company is Not on Your Side
When you file a claim through the other person’s insurance company it is important to keep in mind that they are looking to minimize their payout. You have to fight for your desired settlement. This is where making sure you have as much back up as possible will get you every penny you deserve. Because they are a company, the insurance adjuster will look for every way to make sure they give you as little monetary payment as possible, or at least the bare minimum.
Collecting Damage Payments and What You Can Receive Payment For
From here, what you actually receive is all up to negotiation. There is a short list of things you can file a claim for from your car accident.
1. Vehicle damage
For your vehicle, the photos you took should cover everything that was affected during the accident.
Afterwards, you should also consider taking your car to a professional who knows how to check for special internal damages that most wouldn’t know how to spot. One important thing they will look for is your car’s alignment. This means that while it seems perfectly fine from the outside, it may actually suffer from very expensive internal damage.
2. Rental damage
Their company will also provide damage costs to a rental if you were driving one.
3. Out of pocket costs
If you needed to pay for an Uber, taxi or rental car after the accident, make sure you have documentation of these payments because they too can get covered.
4. Personal injury
When it comes to injury, things become a lot more complicated because injuries from accidents are not always upfront. Sometimes they are delayed, and weeks can go by before you realize your pain is derived from that specific event. The advice here is to visit a physician immediately and have them document anything and everything so that you can file your claim with legal proof. If the opposite party has a lawyer, they too may contact this physician to make sure that what you are saying to them is honest and actually caused by the accident, and not, say, your football practice from the day before.
And most importantly, make sure to discuss an open negotiation with the car insurance company. Do not settle for an immediate hospital payment only immediately following the accident but for an extended amount of time after. This is because of the adverse side effects that you and your physician may not be aware of yet.