If you are ever involved in a car accident, you should be aware of what steps you can take that will strengthen your claim, and protect your interests.
Keep in mind that while you will deal with the other driver at the accident scene, this is likely your last encounter. You will be dealing with the other driver's insurance company from that point forward.
While this initial encounter is brief, it is essential for gathering critical information and evidence. At the scene of the accident, be sure to collect the following information from the other driver:
- Their name and phone number
- Driver's license number
- Their license plate number
- Insurance name and phone number
Also, get the name and contact number of any witnesses to the accident and any law enforcement officers who respond to the accident.
Since most people carry a cell phone with photo capabilities, it is a good idea to document the accident by taking pictures of:
- Where the vehicles came to rest
- Any skid marks
- Damage to the vehicles
- License plates of both vehicles
- Any conditions that may have contributed to the accident such road construction, road hazards, potholes etc.
Understanding How Insurance Companies Operate
As someone who will be filing a claim, it is important to understand how insurance companies operate; insurance companies do everything possible to reduce or deny claims. With that in mind, it is critical to document everything.
Without proper documentation, you can anticipate that the insurance company will fight the value of the claim– it's just not worth the hassle. The best way to support your claims is to keep records of every expense related to the accident. Remember that the insurance company is NOT on your side.
Insurance companies try to drastically reduce claims by:
- Arguing that you are partially or entirely at fault, and that you should receive a reduced claim, or nothing at all.
- Saying that you do not have enough documentation to support your claims.
Dealing with an insurance company can be very frustrating, but remember that the more documentation you provide to support your losses, the more likely you are to receive the compensation you deserve.
Damages in Car Accident Claims
Depending on the extent of your injuries and property damage, you may collect compensation for:
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Personal property damage (for items damaged in your car at the time of the accident)
- Car rental
- Medical expenses
- Ambulance bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income and loss of future income
You can expect the insurance company to extend an offer based on the documentation you have provided, thus, the more documentation the better.
If you were injured in an accident, be aware: the insurance company may act fast to settle your claim. Insurance companies know that as time goes by, you will become increasingly aware of your injuries and any future medical treatment that may be needed.
In order to mitigate their losses, insurance companies will try to settle before the victim is aware of the full extent of their injuries. Don't let this happen to you.
If you accept a low-ball settlement early on, and realize later that you have additional medical expenses, not to mention more lost income, you have no way of going back and asking the insurance company for more – it will be your loss. This is one reason why it is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you were injured in an auto accident, contact a Scottsdale personal injury lawyer from The Watkin Law Office, PC. Call (480) 347-9804 to get
35 years of legal experience on your side!