Unfortunately, car accidents are a part of the driving experience. They usually are over in a matter of seconds, but those seconds after the impact sometimes seem to move in slow motion. Immediately after an accident, even a low speed fender bender, most people are in a little bit of a daze. They are in shock and don’t really know how to handle the car accident.
Handling a car accident often starts the moment you get out of your car after an accident. It is important that you keep you emotions in check and you handle your business as well as you can. The witnesses and the other driver will be watching you to see how you react.
How the Claims Process Works
At the car accident scene you will most likely get the insurance information for the other driver. After you have dealt with any emergency medical needs and you and your car are cleared from the scene you need to start the claims process.
You don’t start with contacting the other driver’s insurance. Instead you start by informing your insurance company of the accident. They will want the information you have about the other driver and their insurance. You should not give a recorded statement to anyone, not even your own insurance company. Your insurance company may reach out to the other company to make some early decisions about who is at fault for the accident.
In most states your car insurance will come with a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provision. This means that no matter who was at fault for the accident, your insurance company will pay for your immediate medical needs up to a certain amount for a defined period of time. Often PIP policies also cover lost wages.
The PIP policy may also cover anyone in the car with you. If the other driver is at fault for the accident your insurance company will seek to be reimbursed from the other company.
In cases where the injuries are severe and the treatment extends over several months, your own insurance company may start to push back on paying for your medical bills under PIP.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate all the technical issues of dealing with a PIP claim.
Depending on your policy provisions, your insurance company may pay out money to you to cover your property damage. This will mean getting your car repaired or money to replace the car if it was totaled. This can happen before the entire claim is completed. If the other driver was at fault for the accident your insurance company will try and get reimbursed from the other driver’s insurance company or it may ask you to get the payment fro them as part of your claim against them.
Every case is different, but it is your responsibility to make sure that you are getting a fair deal on the property damage claim. You are entitled to the fair market value of the car. You do not have to accept the insurance company’s assessment if you have proof that your car was worth more.
In most car accident cases the bulk of the damages will be for the medical bills and the pain and suffering the car accident put you through. You will not be able to finalize a claim until you are medically stable. This means your injuries are as healed as they are going to get.
Depending on the circumstances, it can take a lot of effort to get an insurance company to pay out the correct amount of compensation. The way an insurance company typically works is that they take all the data from a crash and come up with a range of money that the case is worth. Then they offer you the lowest amount in that range.
Personal injury attorneys understand how the insurance companies work and know how to show the insurance companies they need to pay out more money.
What the Role of an Insurance Adjustor is in Car Accidents
Adjustors have certain ethical responsibilities under state insurance laws. But, it is important to remember that the interests of the adjustor are directly opposite of yours.
Adjustors do not get bonuses or promotions because they pay out the policy limits on every case. They have a responsibility to be reasonable, but they also have a lot of work pressure to pay out as little as they can get away with.
Adjustors handle thousands of cases in their careers. This is why going up against them on your own is a sucker’s bet. No matter how good a negotiator you are, they have all the data from other car accidents, understanding of the way personal injury law works, and the facts of your specific case. You cannot compete with them. This is why a good personal injury lawyer is invaluable in resolving car accident claims.
Don’t face the insurance companies alone. Let us help you find a tough personal injury lawyer near you.