You have been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. Both you and your car have suffered substantial damage. So, what should you do now? This is where car accident claims are filed because you have some rights and you need to be compensated for the damage you have suffered in order to put it behind you and move on with your life. What exactly do car accident claims entail? You need to follow the steps outlined below and things will be easier.
Step 1: Gather information
Sure, the other driver is responsible for the accident, but chances are that you will not be dealing with the other driver directly wen filing car accident claims. When you want to settle your claim for damages, you are most likely going to deal with the insurance company of the other driver. Therefore, before you file any car accident claims, you need to gather all possible information from the scene of the accident. Firstly, you need the name and contact number of the other driver, their insurance company, any witnesses who were present at the scene of the accident as well as any law enforcement officials that may have come to the scene.
It is also recommended that you take pictures at the scene of the accident, which can easily be done with your smartphone. It is best to take pictures of the location of both vehicles, the physical damage on both of them and also their license plates. The best way you can pursue and settle car accident claims with the other driver or their insurance company is to know that you will need to have a lot of information to assist you. An important thing to remember when you are filing car accident claims is that the insurance company is not your friend.
The insurance company is like any other business and wants to make money so it will want to pay you as little as possible in car accident claims. They will try to accomplish this by first trying to show that you were also partially responsible for the accident or they will use lack of documentation as a way of getting out of paying for the damages. Thus, car accident claims can be very frustrating and the best way to get fair compensation is to provide as much information and documentation as possible. It is not necessary that the insurance company may reach a settlement agreement. When you opt for car accident claims, they might make their best offer and tell you to file a lawsuit if you want more.
Step 2: Know the damages you can collect
When filing car accident claims, you can ask for compensation for different types of damages. First and foremost, you can obviously collect money for vehicle damage, but that’s not all. Personal property damages can also be claimed for any items that might have been in the car and were damaged such as your laptop or even phone. You can also ask for car rental i.e. insurance companies will have to provide reimbursement for a rental car that you had to get because your vehicle was getting repaired. You can also collect damages like out-of-pocket expenses such as having to hire a taxi for getting home from the scene of the accident.
Based on the information and documentation you submit for car accident claims, a settlement offer will be extended to you by the insurance company. You need to provide proof for everything including out-of-pocket expenses or you will not be compensated for that portion of your loss. They will only make a settlement agreement if it is in their best interests. On a whole, insurance companies prefer to settle car accident claims and others because litigation can be quite costly. They are aware that it is less expensive and more efficient to pay fair compensation to you instead of incurring attorney fees for fighting the car accident claims in court, especially when the outcome is unpredictable.
Step 3: What if you get injured?
Sometimes, car accidents can be a lot more serious that the typical ‘fender benders’. If you have suffered from injuries in a car accident, then the car accident claims will include legal issues that are quite complicated. Apart from the damages mentioned above, you will also be entitled to get reimbursed for any lost wages or medical expenses that you have had to deal with. When filing car accident claims, you also have the option of getting compensation for any physical and mental pain and suffering that you suffered due to the accident.
Even if you feel comfortable in filing car accident claims and negotiating a settlement for damage to your vehicle and yourself, it is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer. This is especially true in the situation where you have also been injured because medical expenses and bodily injuries usually create unique circumstances and need some expertise as opposed to regular car accident claims.
For instance, you may have been treated and then released from the emergency room. The insurance company may try to get you to make a quick settlement for your car accident claims including all medical expenses incurred at that point. However, you might not be fully aware of your injuries at this point as symptoms of injuries or other problems make themselves known after a while as well. If you agree to a quick settlement with the insurance company and later discover that you need additional medical treatment due to injuries, you will not be compensated for them.
Therefore, it is best for you to look for lawyers specializing in car accident claims as they will be familiar with the ins and outs involved when filing such claims. Plus, they know the tactics that insurance companies usually use for getting a quick settlement and will ensure that you are getting the best deal and are not being taken advantage of after the trauma that you have already suffered due to the accident.