According to some estimates, people will file a claim for an auto accident about once every 17.9 years. In 2015, more than 6 million police-reported crashes occurred in the United States alone. Another 32,166 crashes resulted in death. Considering the number of people driving on the road at any time, and the fact that driver distraction is the leading cause of crashes, it’s unsurprising that you may be involved in at least one collision during the course of your life. If you’ve never experienced a crash before, you may not know how to file a claim with the insurance company. Here are a few helpful steps to get a claim going.
Step 1: Consider Who Was At-Fault
At times, it’s hard to tell which driver is at fault for a car collision. People rarely see them coming, which is why they are so unprepared and shocked by the impact. The trauma from the hit may even disorient you enough to forget where you were looking when the accident occurred. Other times, it’s absolutely clear who was at fault. Perhaps you were struck from behind by a texting person, or maybe your car was damaged when a drunk driver ran a red light straight into your vehicle. While you’ll have to tell your insurance company about the collision whether or not the accident was your fault, you will be able to make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company if you were injured or your car was damaged during the incident (if you live in an at-fault state).
Step 2: Contact Both Insurance Companies, Yours and the Other Driver’s
We’re living in an age of smartphones and relatively easy Internet access. Most legitimate insurance companies will have websites listing contact information; some may even let you make the claim online. These companies may even have apps you can use to take pictures of the accident while filing. After the collision occurs, make sure you take multiple pictures of both cars. Insurance companies will want to collect evidence, so they will likely ask for photos of the damage. They might also ask for verbal statements and releases on your medical records.
Step 3: Contact a Lawyer
Make sure you have an excellent car accident attorney to help you during this process. Insurance companies will try and give you as little compensation as possible unless you have a good advocate and substantial evidence that you’ve suffered harm. An attorney will tell you how to make the verbal statement to your car insurance company and will provide a written statement to the insurance company of the other driver. Your insurance company should get as much information from you as possible, but make sure you grant it responsibly. These companies don’t need your entire medical history, for example, but they will try and access it in order to prove that an injury you sustained during the collision was really the result of an earlier accident. Lawyers will know how to best interact with insurance companies to get you a better settlement.
If you’re ready to file a claim, contact one of our car accident attorneys. We have many years of experience getting people the compensation they deserve. Contact us at (702) 996-6066 or fill out our online form for a free case consultation.