Having a car these days is a necessity. The same goes for driving. People are commuting to work every day and they are spending hours and hours of their life driving. As a matter of fact, research shows that we spend around 10 whole days per year driving or in other words – commuting. Add vacations, random road trips, weekend getaways and other occasions where you need to use your car, to this statistic and you will easily understand how much time you’re likely gonna spend in your vehicle.
Why is this important to mention? The answer is simple. When one is driving for so much time, chances that he will make a mistake are almost inevitable. It’s been proven that every 1 minute, there is a car accident somewhere in the world. This is a very black statistic that shows how many people can potentially get injured in a car accident. However, good news is that in the majority of cases these accidents are not that bad – from the aspect of people’s health. On the other hand, when it comes to property damage, chances that you’ll need professional help with insurance claims and other legal aspects are quite high, since this is one of the first things you’ll need to do if you find yourself in an accident.
That being said, if an accident occurs, you need to know every step of the process, to be able to build and handle your insurance claim . Even then, it’s better to consult a professional lawyer, says John Scura from Scura Law. Still, generally speaking, there are some steps you need to take if you want to file a claim. Let’s dive into it:
First of all, you need to know that in every case, you need to call the police, even if you don’t think it’s necessary. This is an important step since it allows you to get a police report afterwards, which is crucial for filing an insurance claim. This report, when made on time – which is at the very moment when the crash happened, will help determine whose fault was the accident. This is essential if it wasn’t your fault and you need to prove it. As you can see, this might be the most important document you’ll need in the legal procedure, and it can easily help you win the case and get compensated. As this is your goal, you should pay close attention to this step.
Make sure to give all the info to the police officer, both about you and the other party. If there are any people who saw the accident and who could witness, give the police officer their names and general personal info as well. Also, everyone has smartphones today, so don’t wait and make sure to create a lot of photos of the crash, from different angles. Anything that might help you is welcome. More than that, it’s a necessity. If there are any marks or traces on the road, make sure to take a picture of them as well.
You should keep in mind that no matter what happens and how severe the damage is, you need to act fast and you need to collect as much evidence as possible. Although you might be in a state of shock, try not to allow it to block you from quick thinking and noticing details. At the same time, the first two calls you should make are a call to the police and a call to your attorney.
If you’ve experienced any type of injury, then the second step would be to ask for medical help. When you get your medical care, all your injuries will also be documented, which is of extreme importance when you’re filing a claim for monetary damages and compensation. That being said, don’t ignore any symptoms and seek help shortly after the accident, if not immediately. Also, some health problems may appear later, after a few days or even months, so make sure to keep track of everything that happens with your body (and mind).
Finally, you (or your attorney) should call the insurance company to let them know what happened. Most likely, you will get a number that will be yours in the future, until the claim resolves. Once again, the more info you give them, and the more info you have – the better. This means that everything that you’ve collected about the accident is now crucial and you should give the insurance company everything you have, for the best outcome possible. Something you can expect next is someone coming to evaluate the damage that’s been done to your vehicle, and you can also expect to get another vehicle to drive while the claim is in process.
However, this depends on the type of policy you have. But this is not the end, since you need to do the same thing for the other side as well. If you’re not feeling comfortable negotiating with the other side’s insurance company, then send your attorney who will do it for you. Even the slightest detail may change the course of the claim, which is why it’s better to stay silent and not sign anything until you consult with your legal team.
You or your attorney can go for a settlement, if you think that’s going to work for you, but you can also indulge in a trial, if you think that it’s fair to get a higher compensation, or if you simply don’t wanna settle. Still, you need to be aware of the fact that this carries more risks of losing the case eventually, or getting less money. This is why many people opt for settlements. In that case, negotiation is the most important part of it, and once again, you will need someone with a lot of experience in this field, who’s done it before and can fight for your best interests – an attorney.
After you’ve filed a claim, you need to wait for an answer from the insurance agent. The name for this position is usually a claims adjuster. There are three possible outcomes: either your claim will be received, refused or there will be more investigation. After this, you can send a letter with the demands, which is also something you should consult your attorney about. Just like everything so far, the more details, the better. Lastly, you can insist on both economic and other damages (which includes trauma etc). If you’re not satisfied with the first offer, insist on another one, and don’t forget to communicate with your attorney throughout the process. Good luck!