If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by another motorist, it is very important that you understand your rights and responsibilities when filing a claim for damages. Doing it right can improve your chances for receiving the maximum possible value for your personal injury claim. Doing it wrong can result in your claim being denied outright or only partially approved.
Below are some tips and strategies to employ when filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider.
It’s important to call your own car insurance agent after an accident with injury occurs. You may have additional rights to compensation under your own insurance policy, e.g., uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, that can kick in and pay or supplement your claim.
Delaying too long to inform your insurance company of the accident could compromise the coverage in effect to protect you from your losses and damages.
While you need to make that call, before picking up the phone, take a few minutes to review and comprehend the limits and exclusions of your own auto insurance policy. The most germane information will be included in the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” pages of your insurance policy.
Under most circumstances, it’s possible to refuse to consent to a recorded call. Regardless, have a pad and pen handy to note the names of all the insurance company personnel with whom you speak. Ask them to also provide their job titles, contact number or email and their supervisor’s name.
Jot down the date and time of each call and what was stated or promised by each representative. This can come in handy when it’s time to write your demand letter later.
Dependent upon the circumstances of your accident, you might have additional coverage under other polices. Additional funds can often be recovered through claims filed under small policies offered free by certain credit card companies or under umbrella or homeowner insurance policies.
Don’t apologize and never admit fault to the other driver or passengers. This applies even if you believe that you were in the wrong. There could be extenuating circumstance of which you’re unaware that could mitigate any liability that you might have.
For instance, the other driver might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and this might have contributed to your accident.
Take photos of he accident scene and damage to both vehicles. Later, you will need photos of your injuries.
When it comes to filing a successful claim, if you didn’t keep or can’t retrieve a receipt, it’s like it didn’t happen. Make sure that you save all receipts for over-the-counter and prescription medications, co-pays, medical equipment and supplies related to your injuries from the accident.
Ancillary expenses like any tolls or parking expenses for your doctors’ appointments or therapy sessions are also reimbursable in your claim for damages, as are wages lost from work.
If you’re settling your own claim, you need to become a top-notch negotiator. Understand that your insurance company’s first offer will be low-ball. Don’t be in a hurry to snap it up.
Unless and until you fully understand what you’re being asked to sign, don’t. This is especially true of any checks marked or stamped “final payment.” It’s common for the auto damage portion of your claim to be settled prior to the injury portion, so make sure you carefully read any fine print on waivers or forms that you sign when you accept a check for repairs.
If you are seeking compensation for your injuries, speak with a Lexington car accident lawyer for legal help.