If you have been in a car accident recently, you have probably already been contacted by several representatives from insurance companies. First, you may have called your vehicle insurer to let them know that you were in an accident. Second, you may have also heard from someone calling on behalf of the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. It can be confusing and you may not be sure who, if anyone, is looking out for your interests. Especially if you believe that another driver was at fault in the accident, you may be concerned about accepting any “settlement” payment from an insurance company, signing documentation, or giving statements about the accident. Here are some tips for navigating this difficult time:
1.Get a Copy of Your Insurance Policy. The first and best place to start is by getting a copy of your vehicle insurance policy. Read the section about accident coverage. Note if there is a limit on your coverage, how you must submit a claim for coverage, and what kind of proof you must provide to support your claim. Determine your deductible and consider whether you have to pay it if the accident was not your fault. Make sure to consult this policy information before having any repairs done to your vehicle, to ensure that any expenses that you incur will be properly reimbursed. Never delay necessary medical care, but make sure that if you receive medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car crash, that you keep copies of the medical records and bills, including pharmacy records and bills.
2.Ask for Copies of All Documentation Regarding the Accident. Ask your insurance company for a copy of your file. This should include a report of the accident and any other research they may have done to determine the amount of coverage you need, including statements from you and other drivers, repair estimates for other vehicles involved in the crash, police reports, and other documentation. Remember that any statement you give to an insurance company will become part of the file and will be used to determine who is at fault in the accident and to what kind of payment you are entitled under your policy.
3.Carefully Review All Paperwork. Before signing any documentation from either your insurance company or from the insurance company for another driver, read it carefully and make sure you understand what happens if you sign. Ask for more time to review if you need it. Ask a family member or trusted friend to look at it, too. If you believe you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver, it is important that you do not release your ability to sue in exchange for settlement prematurely.
4.Consider Hiring an Attorney. Insurance companies are not in your corner. At best, they are providing you a service for which you have been paying monthly for years. At worst, they are trying to improve their bottom line by paying you the bare minimum to which you are entitled under your policy. An attorney, however, can serve as your advocate. A qualified and experienced auto accident attorney Washington D.C. respects will be able to analyze your claim and help you negotiate with insurance companies about the amount you need to get back on your feet. Additionally, if you believe another driver was at fault, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit if necessary to recover money damages.
Dealing with insurance companies can be time-consuming and frustrating. Be wary and prepared, and consider talking to an attorney who can guide you through the process to make sure you get a fair result.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into car accident law.
Posted on Fri, June 29, 2018
by Michal Lusk filed under