How to File an Auto Insurance Claim
First Steps After a Car Accident
A car accident is an unexpected event. It is the sort of thing that can cause a huge disruption in your life if you don't take control of the matter straightaway and hold the right people to account. One of the reasons that car accident insurance is mandatory in the state of California is that few people have the means to deal with the financial impact of such a collision.
There will be medical bills, which may need to cover multiple parties injured in the accident and the costs of vehicle repairs. If you are in any way responsible for the accident or it was the kind of collision which no one could have foreseen or prevented, then your insurance company should provide the necessary financial support.
You will need to file an insurance claim after an accident. But before doing so, you will need to take the following preliminary steps:
- Call the police
You should call 911 after the accident. If you have not been too badly injured, you will be able to speak to the police officer who responds to the call. You need only tell the police the details of the accident as you recall them. You need not admit fault, as you do not know the full range of circumstances that led to the crash.
- Contact a lawyer
Accidents are not as straightforward as they used to be. The best way to protect yourself from unfair treatment by any number of parties is to hire a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.
- File an accident report
You must then report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your car crash lawyer in Los Angeles will ensure that you understand your legal responsibilities and that you file the report properly.
- Gather information about the accident
You should write down a detailed statement and description of the accident. Indeed, you should take photographs of the damage while at the scene. Your lawyer can help you gather and write the kind of details that the insurance company will want to see on the claim.
- File a claim with your insurance company
Once you contact your insurance company and file your claim, they should walk you through the next steps. If they need more information, they will tell you. Depending on your policy coverage, the insurer may reserve a rental car for you until yours is repaired. Do not spend any money on anything related to the accident until after you have spoken with your insurance company and filed a claim.
The Claims Adjustment Process
After you have filed an insurance claim, your insurer will assign a claims adjustor. They will investigate the circumstances of the accident, represent you if you must deal with the other driver's insurance company, and work to settle your claim.
You should meet with your claim adjuster in person, and they should keep you current on all developments concerning your claim. It is their job to make all arrangements to repair your vehicle and handle all personal injury claims made by you and others harmed in the crash.
Problems with the Insurance Company
Although insurance companies should work with you to cover the expenses caused by the crash, this does not always happen. Insurance companies will always try to minimize the amount of money they have to pay to settle claims. Even if it may seem as though the claims adjustor is on your side, they are in fact employees of the insurance company and will work in their interests.
You may have to put up with excuses, delays, and other attempts to frustrate payment. This can not only add to the stress and frustration of the situation but could impact your finances as well. If your insurance company refuses to fulfill their obligations, you must again turn to your lawyer.
Working with the best car accident attorney will help you resolve any problems you encounter with your insurance company. In some cases, it may be a technical matter that your lawyer can help you get sorted out. The best car accident attorney will know how to speak the language and lingo of the insurance industry, which is an invaluable asset in such situations.
If the matter is beyond a small technical dispute, you may need to file a car accident lawsuit. This may be necessary if your insurer refuses to pay your medical bills, for example. In this instance, your personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles will file the car accident lawsuit on your behalf and then open a line of communication with the insurance company. The latter will prefer to come to a negotiated settlement rather than be taken to court. This will allow your Los Angeles injury lawyer to pressure them into offering a fair sum of money.