How To Handle Car Accident Claims Effectively

You were in a car accident and now what?  It's time for car accident claims.  If this is your first accident, or if it wasn't your fault, or you're injured and you're seeking compensation you may be a little lost as to the process.  It's easy to think about the things that you should have done at the accident scene, and maybe you wish you could take back the angry things you said after the incident, but unfortunately you can't.  It's time to work with the insurance companies file your car accident insurance claim.

When injury is involved, there are many abstract things to deal with such as placing a dollar value on your injuries beyond medical expenses.  It can be a very stressful ordeal.  Filing a car accident claim and getting the most from it is pretty easy if you are prepared for what is to come in the next few weeks.  So for now stay calm, do your homework, and get some rest because you'll need to be sharp to make sure that everything goes down the way that you want it.

Read on to learn how car accident claims work, and how you can make it more favorable for yourself.

Image courtesy of Daveynin via Flickr.
Image courtesy of Daveynin via Flickr.

What To Do?

The first thing you have to do is contact your insurance company immediately after the accident (you've probably already done this, but it should be stated anyway).  A delay in reporting can affect how much your settlement will be.  Also, be sure to document any conversations with the other insurance company and the other parties involved in the accident.  When in contact with the other insurance company, be sure to be honest but do not admit to any sort of liability.  Dishonesty can lead to your claim being dismissed due to fraudulence.  

When filing a car accident claim there are factors to consider before submitting a dollar amount to the other insurance company.  The four basics are lost wages, medical bills, auto repair, and rental car.  These things are pretty easy to add up and get a total, but be sure to save any and all receipts that you have from these things.  The proof is in the pudding!

As for determining a price of the non-tangible things like suffering and humiliation, my experience has led me to bid much higher than I expect to receive.  Insurance companies are always going to lowball you, so bid high so they start with a higher ceiling.

Attorneys Involved With Car Accident Claims?

Do You Need A Lawyer?

Depending on the complexity and severity of your car accident claim you may need legal representation.  If you are too injured to deal with the insurance companies, it may be a good idea to hire a lawyer so that they can take care of all of that stuff for you.  Good legal representation can also dramatically improve the dollar amount of your settlement, but you'll pay for it.  Lawyer fees usually range from 30-40% in the U.S.  If your claim is very complex, or if there is the possibility of a very large settlement, having a lawyer will help you out a great deal.

If you can't afford a lawyer, or choose not to have one you can do everything yourself but it's extremely important to do tons of research ahead of time.  Knowing your own insurance policy and the details of your accident will prevent the other insurance company from taking advantage of you (it's their job to do that).

Getting The Most From Your Car Accident Claim

If you are to be compensated for your damages, you probably want to get the most you can right?  Here are a few tips.  For auto repairs and damage appraisals be sure to get two or three estimations and present the highest in your accident claim.  The other insurance company will have their own adjuster make an estimation, but you'll be negotiating from a higher amount.  Also don't forget about storage costs of totaled vehicles and towing fees.

Don't lie, but be creative when it comes to your "non-economic" damages that are from the suffering and humiliation that have come from the accident.  These are the damages that are intended to help you get back to being the same as you were before the accident.

Most importantly, don't be scared to ask for a little more than you think is necessary.  That's why the other motorist has insurance in the first place to take care of things like this.

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4 comments

topwords profile image

topwords 7 years ago

Thank for the article.


Rachel 5 years ago

I think these are all great tips. I would point business-types to check out this article about how to handle accidents that happen on business. Many of them are the same, but there are a couple different things that readers should note: http://insurance.equifax.com/2010/11/road-warrior-...


AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

Great article! These are all great tips. I would also refer to this article for some other information also.

http://www.caraccidentattorneys.com/resources/auto...


Accident Claim 4 years ago

Nice article and very informative. For more information on personal injury try taking a look at http://www.accidentclaimguide.org

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