The way a motorist or victim manages their affairs immediately after a car accident goes a long way towards determining the results of their insurance claims. Although different accident circumstances demand unique action, a few common steps should always be considered.
Insurers generally want claimants to prove the validity of their claims, so even if the accident seems like a cut-and-dry affair, it is important to gather evidence regarding the details of the incident and its effects. For instance, police reports and medical bills can serve as documentation that supports claims so survivors should generally report their accidents to local law enforcement officials and be assessed by their healthcare providers after the incident. Failure to take such steps promptly may increase the difficulty of dealing with insurance firms should medical issues or property damage become apparent later.
The first step in actually dealing with the insurance firm is contacting them to make a claim. This should typically be done before a motorist takes their vehicle to a body shop because insurers may deny liability, and assessors might want to check out the damage before any modifications or repairs occur. Prior to making any actual repairs to a damaged vehicle, it is usually wise to obtain a copy of an insurance company’s authorization in writing.
After a claim is filed, the insurer will investigate its validity. Even if they determine that they are liable, they may not offer a settlement amount that covers the claimant’s medical, property or lost wage expenses.
It is important to remember that claimants have the right to make counter offers and contest the value of the awards they are offered, although this may increase the length of time it takes to obtain a final settlement. When negotiating, be certain to keep detailed records of all communications with the insurance firm for subsequent reference. In addition, bear in mind that some states have laws mandating that claims must be concluded within a preset period following initial accident. To learn more about dealing with insurance firms after an accident, contact a lawyer.