Following a car accident claim, you should take some important administrative steps. First and foremost, you and the other driver must always exchange insurance information. This is especially important if the other driver was at fault and you do not live in one of the few no-fault states. If the other driver was at fault, you file a personal injury and property damage claim with the other driver’s insurance company. You should also notify your insurance agent so that they can assist you from their end. In most cases, they will file the claim on your behalf.
The insurance company of the other driver should contact you to begin the claims process. The insurance company will eventually offer a settlement amount to cover your claim after gathering information about the accident, vehicle damage, and any injuries. You may not know if the amount it offers you is sufficient to cover the damage to your car; in fact, it may be insufficient.
This is a problem that many people are unsure of how to handle. Here’s how it works: You must communicate with and negotiate with the other driver’s insurance claims adjuster. If the amount is still insufficient after negotiating, you may need to seek the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in insurance claims. It’s never fun negotiating with a claims adjuster to get the right amount of money from an insurance company. It is beneficial to understand how the process works so that you can obtain an amount that will cover all of the expenses incurred as a result of an accident.
Every year, car accidents send over 2.5 million Americans to the emergency room. Crash injuries cost an estimated $18 billion in lifetime medical costs.
In the United States, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims. Minor scrapes and bruises can lead to permanent disability and death.
When you are hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
When you file a car accident claim after a car accident, the other driver’s insurance company will most likely offer you less than you believe you are owed.
They may try to convince you that the accident was partially or entirely your fault, or that you haven’t provided enough evidence—but don’t let them.
Filing and settling an auto accident claim is time-consuming. It may take some time to reach a successful settlement, but it will be worth it to get the money you are owed.
Everything should be documented
It is critical to document each step as you begin this process. You must obtain the name, license plate number, insurance information, and phone number of the other driver. You won’t be able to file a claim with their insurance company if you don’t. Make sure to notify your insurance provider as well. They can guide you through the process and may provide some services to help you with your claim.
Make sure you call the police at the scene of the accident and follow up by obtaining a copy of the report once it’s completed. It may take a few days for the report to be completed, so set a reminder to call and visit your local police station to obtain a copy.
Also, see a doctor and have any injuries documented in your medical record. Photograph any damage to your vehicle. Both of these can be used to support your claim that the amount you’re claiming is fair and just.
If there are any witnesses, get their contact information because their statements can help you build a case in your favor.
Report the Settlement Claim and Begin the Settlement Claim
You’ve started the process by filing a claim with your agent and the at-fault driver’s insurance. If the other driver is underinsured or uninsured, you must notify your insurance company.
Check that you have all of the information you’ve gathered for your agent. They can assist you in filling out forms or give you advice on how to get the settlement you require. Also, because state laws differ, make sure you check with your state’s insurance commissioner’s office to see if there are any additional steps you need to take to settle the claim.
Check Your Mail
When you file a claim, the insurance company will send you a letter informing you that it has received your claim and will contact you. This is known as a “reservation of rights” letter. It only serves to notify you that the agency has received the claim, not that it is taking action on the claim itself.
You might want to consult with a lawyer at this point. A lawyer can guide you through any issues that may arise and represent you in court if the claim proceeds that far.
Take a Long, Deep Breath
Regardless of how detailed or fair your claim is, the insurance company may try to avoid paying the amount you believe you are owed. This is because insurance companies want to make money and don’t want to pay more than they believe is necessary.
If you become overwhelmed or the insurance company refuses to budge on the settlement, don’t be afraid to hire a car accident attorney.
If you’re doing everything right, don’t feel like you’re asking for too much. Negotiating a car accident claim can be stressful, but it is the only way to resolve it. Before repairs are made, the insurance agent may request that you settle the claim.
They may try to blame you for the accident, either partially or entirely. They may claim that you have not provided sufficient evidence. Don’t let it bother you; they’re only trying to save money for the company for which they work.
Continue to Negotiate the Settlement Claim
If you are injured or your property is damaged, you should send a letter outlining your medical costs and out-of-pocket expenses. Include any earnings you may have lost as a result of the accident. The claims adjuster should respond to your assessment with their own letter—or they may send one first.
They will frequently offer you less than you believe you are owed. This is a normal part of the procedure, so don’t take it personally. At this point, you have the option of accepting the insurance company’s offer or continuing to bargain. If you are unable to reach an agreement, you may need to file a lawsuit; hopefully, this will not be necessary.
Always keep in mind that you will require patience and self-assurance. Filing and settling an auto accident claim is time-consuming. It can take a long time to reach a successful settlement. But, in the end, it’s worth your time to fight for the money you’re owed.
Equipping yourself with the necessary information and documentation is half the battle. The other half is made up entirely of grit.
Is it worthwhile to file a car insurance claim?
Yes. If there were injuries, vehicle damage or liability was unclear, always file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Make sure to notify your own insurance company as well. Most insurers make notifications simple by providing a website, mobile app, or phone number.
The other driver (or their passengers) may claim to be fine at the scene, only to later claim serious injuries. Your insurance company is obligated to defend you against lawsuits if you notify them of an accident as soon as possible.
How to Calculate Car Accident Damage
You can estimate your settlement amount by adding a multiple of your economic damages (verifiable expenses related to your accident) to the total of your economic damages. The multiple is determined by the severity of your injuries, but it is typically between 1 and 5 times your medical expenses.
How much should I accept as a settlement after a car accident claim?
Ideally, you want to settle your car accident claim for an amount that fully compensates you for all of your losses, including pain and suffering. Because the amount will be reduced through negotiations with the insurance adjuster, your initial settlement demand should be higher than what you expect to receive.
What data is required to calculate compensation?
Your total economic damages include all of your medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages. Even if your health insurance or Medicaid covered the majority of your medical expenses, you will use the entire amount.
Do you get compensated for your pain and suffering as a result of a car accident?
To account for pain and suffering, it’s reasonable to ask for one or two times the amount of your economic losses in most cases. For severe injuries, you may be able to recover four or five times your monetary losses, if not more. To obtain the maximum settlement amount for severe injuries, you will need to hire an attorney.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in no-fault insurance states does not pay for pain and suffering if your injuries are minor. If your injuries are severe enough, you may be able to seek pain and suffering compensation.
It’s reasonable to include an amount for pain and suffering in your demand in states with traditional fault laws.
The following are the five factors that influence car accident compensation:
- Shared fault degree: In most states, your compensation will be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
- State negligence statutes: If you are equally or more at fault than the other driver, depending on the state, you will not be eligible for compensation from the other driver’s insurance.
- The following are the economic damages: The majority of compensation is based on verifiable hard costs, such as medical bills and lost wages.
- Injuries’ severity: Minor injuries have lower payouts, with only a stipend for pain and suffering. Serious, potentially disabling injuries result in high-value injury claims.
- Policy limits for auto insurance: Many drivers only carry the state’s bare minimum of auto insurance limits. If your injuries are severe, your insurance company will not be able to cover your losses. Similarly, if multiple people are injured in a crash, the at-fault driver may not have enough insurance to cover everyone.
Who Is to Blame for Your Car Accident?
Determining another driver’s fault for an accident necessitates evidence that they did something wrong or failed to do what any reasonable driver would do in the same situation.
Traffic citations, witness statements, accident photos, cell phone records, the other driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and other evidence can be used to prove fault. The police report can also help establish the other driver’s fault and demonstrate that you played no role in the collision. This is one of the reasons why it is critical to call 911 immediately following an accident.
Is it necessary to assign blame when seeking compensation for a car accident?
Yes, in car accident claims, fault does matter. In most states, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is liable for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But you won’t get anything unless you can prove their insurance caused the accident.
If you live in a no-fault state, your injuries will be covered by your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, up to the policy limits, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Even if your injuries were minor, the at-fault driver’s insurer should cover your vehicle damage.
The Advantages of Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Hiring a qualified personal injury attorney can help your case in a variety of ways. They have years of experience investigating car accidents and negotiating with insurance companies. An attorney is essential for serious injury claims.
Your personal injury lawyer will do the following:
- Handle correspondence with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
- Obtain evidence that would be difficult to obtain on your own.
- Determine alternative sources of compensation.
- You will almost certainly be able to negotiate a better settlement than you could on your own.
- If the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, file a lawsuit.
- Handle your claim so you can concentrate on healing from your injuries.
What percentage of my accident settlement is paid to my attorney?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t have to pay anything unless your claim settles or wins at trial. Attorney fees are typically 33.3 percent of an out-of-court settlement and 40% if your case goes to trial. Their expenses are deducted from the total settlement amount as well.
Even the most experienced driver can become frazzled after an accident, but following these steps can help protect you from unnecessary worries. That way, you can concentrate on collaborating with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired as quickly and smoothly as possible.