This post is featured on behalf of Jenna Brown.
After being involved in a car accident where there was excessive damage or injuries, knowing what to do next can be daunting. You’re stressed about the damage to your car, your physical well-being, and you’re likely dealing with issues on an emotional level from the impact. Be that as it may, if the accident was caused by no doing of your own, it will be necessary for you to take immediate steps towards getting compensated.
After tending to your medical needs and talking with the authorities, the very first thing you’re advised to do is contact your insurance company to make a claim. If you’ve never filed a claim before, these steps will give you a general idea of what to do next.
Know Where to Go for Help
Before filing your claim you should know there are certain rights you have as a policyholder. Though most insurance companies try to do right by their customers, there are some who simply want to pay as little as possible and get it over with. If you need further help, contact someone like an Austin car accident attorney to assist you through the process — it’s not something you’ll want to go through alone. If you were ride sharing at the time of the accident, there are specialized Uber accident attorneys available.
If at any point that you’re going through the process and you believe that your insurance adjuster is not properly communicating with you or you don’t agree with their decision, you don’t have to accept their payout just yet. You can hire your own claims adjuster. There are no upfront fees to hire a public insurance adjuster and they have no ties to the insurance company itself. Their obligation is to an accurate assessment of the truth rather than making conclusions which favor the insurer.
Gather All Pertinent Information
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork to file an insurance claim. This will include things like the contact information for the other driver, their insurance information, names and contact information for any witnesses, photos of damage to your car and your injuries, a copy of the police report, along with any medical records and bills you’ve accumulated thus far.
If you don’t have this information, it can make the process take longer and/or ruin your chances of being compensated, so make sure you have all of this information on hand prior to making the call.
Contact the Insurance Company
Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary information, you need to contact your insurance company. You will likely be assigned to an insurance adjuster who will walk you through the rest of the claims process. Depending on which insurance provider you have, you may be required to fill out forms such as a proof of loss document. Be sure to find out everything you’ll need to ensure the claims process can move forward smoothly.
At this time they will likely want your take on the accident. They’ll want to know, in your opinion what happened, and what could have caused it. Be sure that you do not admit even the slightest amount of guilt or else you could end up on the hook for the entire bill. If you were not at fault, simply stick to the facts as you know them. You will then be told to go and get estimates of the damage to your vehicle for consideration in the claim payout.
Get an Estimate
Next, you will need to take your vehicle to get estimates on the repairs. If you’re not sure of where to send your car, be sure to ask your insurance claims adjuster as they have a list of reputable shops in your area that they can recommend. You’ll likely need to get a few estimates so that they can choose which is best for them. Once you’ve got an estimate on the repairs, this information needs to be submitted to the adjuster right away.
The Insurance Adjuster Investigates
Once all information has been received, including the estimate of damages and any personal injury claims, your insurance adjuster will review the information and then collaborate with third parties to come to a settlement. Reviewing information provided by the other involved parties, they will work closely with the other driver’s insurance company and attorneys to find a resolution. Once all negotiations are complete, they will let you know what their decision is and how much you’ll be paid, if anything, for the damages and your injuries.
What If You Don’t Agree?
If you don’t agree with the decision made by your insurance adjuster, this would be the time to hire a public insurance adjuster to re-review the information. You might also consider filing a complaint with the State Commissioner’s Office. They too can be very instrumental in ensuring that you’re fully compensated.
Filing an insurance claim after a car accident and getting compensated for damages, injuries, and other related costs can be confusing and time-consuming. However, it is the quickest way to ensure you don’t incur any unnecessary financial burdens. While the hope is that everything goes smoothly remember to keep resources like a public insurance adjuster, personal injury lawyer, and State Commissioner’s Office for help in finding some resolve.