If you experienced a vehicle accident, you might be wondering what the best procedure is to settle any injury or car damage claim. Many people want to put the case behind them so are looking for speediest procedure possible. This article will discuss some of the top tips for the best strategy when settling a car accident claim.
First Things First
While the other driver may have caused the car accident, you will often not be dealing with them when attempting to settle a claim for any vehicle damages or injuries. When dealing with these claims, you will often be working directly with the driver’s car insurance company. Based on this, it is essential that you gather information while you are at the scene of the car accident, such as the contact information and names of the people. If you are unsure about what to do next visit this website for more information:
- the other driver
- the insurance company for the other driver
- witnesses to the car accident, and
- any law enforcement officers that arrived at the scene of the accident
It may also be beneficial to take photographs while at the scene of the car accident. The majority of people carry cell phones with camera capabilities, so it is advised that you use these camera features to take pictures of the following items:
- the location of the different vehicles
- the area of any physical damage on the vehicles, and
- the license plates for the different vehicles
The most effective method of pursuing and settling a claim with the other driver and their insurance company is by understanding what information the insurance company requires from you.
Another factor to take into consideration is that the insurance company will not be on your side! Insurance companies aim to make money on policies, and it will receive less money if it is required to pay out a claim to you as compensation. The insurance company will attempt to reduce any settlement by either:
- arguing that the accident was entirely or partially your fault, meaning you will only receive a reduced amount on the settlement claim, or
- arguing that you have not provided the company with sufficient documentation to support your car accident claim.
In some cases, the insurance company may use both of these arguments to refuse payment of a settlement.
The majority of people find this procedure highly frustrating and stressful; however, if you give the insurance company more information, the greater the chance of you receiving a fair compensation as settlement for all of your damages. Always remember that the insurance company is not obliged to reach a settlement agreement. At some point, they may argue that the offer being made is the best offer they will make, and if you want more money, then you should file a lawsuit.
What Are the Types of Damages I Can Claim?
If you intend on claiming for property damage exclusively, it is important to know what damage you are entitled to collect. Below are some of the damages you can claim:
- personal property damage – compensation for certain items, such as a computer, that may have been placed in the vehicle can be claimed if they were damaged in the car accident
- car rental – the majority of insurance companies will offer reimbursement for rental cars that you require when your vehicle is being repaired
- out-of-pocket expenses – out-of-pocket expenses can also be claimed. For instance, if you need to use a taxi to travel from the scene of the accident or police station to your home
Insurance companies tend to extend settlement offers based purely on the information and documentation provided. For example, if you have not provided evidence of the out-of-pocket expense, then the insurance company can’t provide you with compensation. They will argue that you are not entitled to the compensation as part of the settlement because there is no proof of the financial loss.
Insurance companies often enter a settlement agreement only if it is in the company’s best interests. On the whole, however, insurance companies understand that settling a claim is in their best interests from a long-term perspective. Litigation is a costly affair, and the company knows it is far less expensive and efficient to pay compensation for the claimant’s loss than pay attorney fees to fight in court, particularly if the outcome of the case is unpredictable.
What If I Am Injured During the Accident?
In some cases, the vehicle accident may be more serious than a simple “fender bender”. If you happen to experience injuries in the accident, the legal issues involved in settlement become far more complex. In addition to the list of damages mentioned above, you can be entitled to reimbursement of lost wages or medical expenses. It is also possible to claim compensation for physical and mental pain or suffering caused by the car accident.
Even if you feel confident with negotiating a settlement for property damage to the vehicle, it is advised that you consult a licensed attorney in your state if you are injured in the car accident. This is recommended because of the unique circumstances presented by medical expenses and physical injuries.
For instance, you may have been treated and released from the hospital’s emergency room. The other driver’s insurance company might want you to agree to a speedy settlement of those medical expenses; however, you may not be fully aware of the extent of injuries from a medical perspective. In some cases, the injuries symptoms do not appear for several weeks or months following a car accident. If you do enter a quick settlement, then discover you need additional treatment, you can’t return to the insurance company and ask for more compensation.