After a car accident, the first thought that must have crossed your mind is how to settle a claim for the damage so you can move past the incident and resume your life. What you need to know right away is this:
- To maximize your chances of success with your vehicle accident claim, it’s critical to compile the appropriate documents and evidence.
- Be ready to battle for the best outcome because the insurance adjuster’s initial settlement offer is merely the beginning of a (often challenging) bargaining process.
- It may be necessary to see an attorney to determine the best course of action, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit if settlement negotiations stop or you feel that your claim isn’t being treated seriously.
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The process of a car accident claim
Even if the other motorist may have been at fault for your vehicle accident, you won’t often be settling your claim for damages with them directly. A “third-party” claim against the at-fault driver’s liability auto insurance coverage is often made by working directly with that company. (Note: If you reside in a no-fault auto insurance state, the other motorist is uninsured, or you are using your collision coverage, you may end up making a claim with your own insurance carrier.)
Keep these two things in mind while filing an auto insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance provider:
- The insurance company of the other driver is not going to support YOU
- The insurance company will need a lot of information from you
The insurance company is in the business of making money, and it does so by paying out less money to you in response to a claim than it would otherwise have to. The insurance company tries to achieve this by claiming that either (1) the accident was entirely or partially your responsibility, in which case you should only be compensated for a portion of your claim, or (2) you haven’t supplied enough evidence to support your claim.
How to discuss things with your claim adjuster?
Recall that filing a claim is just the beginning. As the claim develops, you’ll need to be accommodating to the insurance provider’s requests for details and supporting paperwork that will enable them to further examine the event and evaluate the losses you’re claiming. For instance, you’ll need to give permission for the release of your accident-related medical documents if you want to include compensation for injuries in your claim.
While communicating with the insurance provider for the other motorist, it’s crucial to use caution. They’ll be more than willing to exploit any details or statements you supply, even if their insured (the other motorist) was plainly at fault for the collision.
It might be okay to try to handle your automobile accident claim on your own if you feel comfortable persevering through the settlement procedure until you obtain the proper outcome. However, it could be prudent to at least speak with an experienced legal practitioner about your position (and your alternatives), particularly if your injuries are severe.