Filing A Car Accident Claim: Your Questions Answered
Car accidents can occur at any time and to anyone. Even though you practice safe driving, another vehicle operator may not be doing so. If you’re involved in a crash, you could get injured. If so, you may need money to cater for your doctor appointments, treatments, and medicines. You’ll also require cash if you aren’t able to work again due to the injuries from your accident. A crash could also cause property damage.
If you’re involved in an accident, you can recover losses from the party at fault through their insurer. In some cases, your own insurance company could offer coverage. That said, filing a car accident claim can be complicated, especially if it’s your first time. There are several aspects of the process, laws, and other things you may not be familiar with. For instance, in some states, people can make disability claims for 90 days or longer. This means stepping out of the no-fault system.
If you’re looking to start the process of filing a car accident claim, this article aims to make things easier for you. Below are the answers to some of the questions you may have in mind:
Should You Hire A Lawyer?
You may wonder if having an attorney is necessary when filing a car accident claim. Usually, this isn’t required, but it’s essential. If you need to communicate to the at-fault party’s insurance company, it’s advisable not to do it yourself. Though they’ll seem polite and caring, remember that they intend to minimize your claim’s value.
Therefore, look for a lawyer to handle all communication with the other insurer. To hire a good attorney, don’t pick the first one you find. Ensure you choose a lawyer who’s well experienced in handling cases like yours. Also, they must have a good track record and be easily accessible.
An attorney can be quite helpful in filing a car accident claim. Besides handling communications, they’ll assist in gathering evidence and other necessary data. Also, they’ll do their best to make sure your claim is settled faster. Additionally, they know how to negotiate to get you the best deal.
Moreover, if you decide to sue for damages or injuries, they’ll fight for your rights and collect all essential information for your case. Overall, they’ll ensure you’re fairly compensated.
When Should You File A Claim?
After an accident, there are several deadlines you shouldn’t miss if you’d like to file a claim or lawsuit. For instance, some states require that one should report a crash immediately to the police, while others may give a window of 10 or 30 days. Even so, it’s advisable to have the police at the scene of an accident immediately after it happens. This way, they can collect important evidence.
Also, most states provide a time limit for suing after a crash. This may be 2-3 years. However, few may dictate how long one should take to file a car accident claim. In most cases, insurance company policies provide deadlines for this. Though there isn’t a standard time limit, insurers require a claim to be filed promptly or within a reasonable time after the accident.
An insurance company may deny coverage if you don’t file your claim in a timely manner. They’ll suspect that you delayed because the cause of damage didn’t result from the covered car crash. Besides, they may assume that your vehicle got ruined after the accident. If an insurer can prove any of that, they’ll likely not cover you.
Where Should You File Your Claim?
Usually, this depends on whether you stay in a no-fault or fault state. You and the other driver should contact your insurance companies if it’s the former. However, in some instances, this coverage may only be limited to medical bills and the cost of essential services needed due to limitations by injuries like help with cleaning or driving. Funeral expenses for anyone that died from the accident and lost wages may also be provided. In such cases, you’ll need other types of auto insurance, like collision coverage, to pay for property damage.
On the other hand, if you live in a fault state, the insurer of the person responsible for the accident will pay for any losses and injuries resulting from your accident. Therefore, you should contact them when filing your claim, not your insurance company.
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What Must You Have To Start Filing A Claim?
Insurance firms will need you to provide documents, records, and other things when filing your claim. For instance, they’ll need the following:
- A police report.
- Witness statements and contacts.
- Doctor’s records of the injuries from the accident.
- Medical bills.
- Photos of the accident scene.
- Vehicle details of the other car.
- Personal and insurance information of the other driver.
- Employment records, in case you need compensation for lost wages.
Fortunately, some insurers allow you to make a claim online or through an application. Usually, this is much easier than going to the company’s offices to submit the above requirements.
When Can You Sue The Other Party?
Sometimes, the settlement amount offered by the at-fault party’s insurance company can be inadequate. Also, the firm might only consider paying for property damages, not injuries and other losses from a crash. If any of these issues arise after filing your claim, and the insurer isn’t ready to offer a better deal, you can sue the person responsible for the accident.
As mentioned, most states have deadlines for filing a lawsuit. If you do it late, you may not be able to recover any of your losses. If you need to sue after an accident, it’s best to hire a good personal injury lawyer to help you out.
Car accidents can lead to injuries and property damage. In such cases, you don’t have to cater for medical bills, treatment costs, repairs, or a vehicle replacement. The at-fault party’s insurer or your own could cover these.
That said, filing a car accident claim can be challenging, especially if you’re doing so for the first time. Therefore, this article aims to make things less complicated for you by answering some questions you may have in mind about the process. Consider going through it as many times as you need for further clarification.
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