No, I am not an attorney! Nor am I with legal benefit or any legal agency affiliated with insurance companies. I am just some poor slob that’s been hit by other drivers too many times and “literally forced” into learning the best ways to settle with insurance companies!
A driver has not lived until they experience the “horrors” of being keen in an auto accident with severe injuries, and your vehicle is completely totaled. Unfortunately, the real “Nightmare” does not begin until you try settling with the insurance company.
I’ve been operating motor vehicles for the past 36 years here in the U.S.A., and it seems like at least every two years, another driver hits my vehicle, normally in the rear! Believe it or not! None of these accidents have been my fault in 30 years! This information is based on documented facts from 16 auto accidents I have personally been involved in over the years. Some of them went to court.
Here are the 10 best ways I have found to settle an auto accident insurance claim.
Without despair, collect as much information as you can at the time of the accident.
Whenever you are involved in an auto accident, DO NOT get out of the vehicle if it is a busy street. Call 911 for help. If you have not your cell phone for any reason, someone driving by will typically call for help. The reason why you could get run over by another vehicle! Wait until the rescue workers arrive at the scene. If you are not severely injured, the rescue team will have the traffic blocked; by then, you can acquire out and talk to the police officers and paramedics.
If you are not injured, be sure to get the other driver’s fleshy name, phone number, the name of their insurance company, policy number, and the insurance company claim phone number (if available). Also, try to get the name and phone number of anyone(s) that witnessed the accident. Typically, police officers don’t do this unless it’s a severe accident with major injuries or fatalities, and that also really just depends on how much time they have. Police officers will fill out an accident report, but if it’s a minor accident, a lot of the important details could be missing if you have to go to court years later regarding this accident.
Take photos of your vehicle as soon as possible. If you have a camera phone or any camera available, take any photos you may think that would be relevant to this claim, especially your vehicles and possible injuries. Ironically, if your vehicle is drivable, you could get hit the very “next day,” and the insurance adjuster will try to dispute your property damage. The body shop, insurance appraiser, and insurance inspectors will take photos, especially if you have filed a personal injury claim. DO NOT Roar THE INSURANCE COMPANY that you have these photos in your possession. This is what attorneys call “keeping an ace in the hole” If you hire a law firm to handle your claim, they will justify the reason why?
1. Without wasting time, call the company of the other driver
Personally, I would call the other driver’s insurance company to find out if they have a “superb” insurance policy, even if you’re in the emergency room. The reason why is because there are so many drivers without valid insurance. You can always file a claim with your insurance company for an uninsured motorist accident if your policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, you will have to pay the deductible. “Hit and Hurry” accidents are treated in the same manner. If the other driver does not have valid insurance, you should report this to the police department and your insurance company immediately!
2. Write down even the smallest detail of the accident
Write down immediately what happened on a notepad, the events that took site regarding this accident, or dwelling it on a computer file. Be certain to write down every detail you can possibly assume, such as: Was it raining? What time of day was it? Was there a lot of traffic? How were you struck? Was the other driver helpful? Did you have any witnesses? Was your vehicle drivable? Did you go to the emergency room? What happened in the emergency room? Also, if you have to hire an attorney, the first thing they will ask for is to see your notes.
3. File your claim without volunteering a lot of unnecessary information
Go ahead and file your claim with the other driver’s insurance company, be sure that you give them the exact phone number where you can be reached night or day. These adjusters will normally only call you once, and it’s literally impossible to call them back without getting their voice mail! DO NOT VOLUNTEER a lot of unnecessary information when filing your claim, I don’t know this for sure, but the CSR claims taker could possibly be recording your conversation for the claims adjuster to analyze whenever they do finally call you. These adjusters secure paid good money to keep their cost of expenses down. Unfortunately, because there are so many false or fraudulent claims, adjusters are forced into this situation.
4. Make sure you gather all the information you will need
What documents do you need to hold after this accident? All medical bills, rental car receipts, gas card purchases, time of expenses driving attend and forth to the doctor’s office, loss of wages check stubs, photograph receipts. Also, earn a copy of the value of your vehicle, such as the blue book that banks often use or the www.nadaguides.com in the consumer section. The majority of the time, the adjuster will only offer you the wholesale value or the lowest price if your vehicle has been declared totaled. This is what claim adjusters call “Handsome Market Value” versus the expense of repairs.
5. Don’t accept the first offer the adjuster makes.
Whenever the insurance adjuster finally calls you, they will likely also offer you the lowest ticket for repairs to your vehicle. This is the standard way. “Do Not scream at these people!” This will only worsen, and they might not call you back for a month! You can always decline their offer and wait a couple of weeks to inspect if they may up the offer, especially if your vehicle has been totaled! Also, if you have personal injuries, they may assign a different claims adjuster specializing in personal injury claims. Our attorneys have told us that this usually happens in bigger insurance companies like State Farm and Allstate. Be sure also to get the adjuster’s phone number. DO NOT send them unnecessary statements they can (and will) use against you in court! We found out the hard contrivance with State Farm Insurance!
6. Get an estimate from a repair agency that is NOT affiliated with the insurance company
If you have a personal injury, you can always use this as leverage to get a rental car, especially if your vehicle has been totaled, by telling them you need a car to drive back and forth to the doctor’s office. If your car needs to be repaired, I recommend getting an estimate from someone NOT affiliated with the insurance company. Some of these insurance appraisers will try to cut their losses on repairs, and you may have to pay the balance. Some insurance companies will issue you a check, and some will make out the check to the body shop once your vehicle has been repaired.
7. In property damage claims do not refer to bodily injury if you filed a personal injury claim
Suppose you settle your property damage claim without an attorney. In that case, the contract does not have any words like “injury” or injuries sustained” anywhere in the agreement, especially if you filed a personal injury claim. You will have to give them the title and the vehicle before they can give you the check if your vehicle has been declared a total loss. The larger companies will honestly give you a check without a contract; that’s what State Farm did with us. Overall, most attorneys do not handle property damage claims.
8. Get a copy of the accident report
You can get a copy of the accident report at the courthouse in the same city, generally within 3 days if you have time. Some insurance companies will take up to 3 weeks to come by this report. Until then, they will offer you nothing! This is good to have on your initial visit if you hire an immediate attorney.
9. BE SURE TO CHOOSE A LAWYER THAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS.
The best arrangement I have found to hire an attorney is to check with friends and family members. My advice, if you have sustained personal injuries that will be permanent, I would spend an expert trial attorney. You can always interview different attorneys. Be sure to choose an attorney that you feel comfortable with. These people can sometimes stay with you for years and years! I would also recommend viewing this attorney in court to see what kind of tactics they are using against these insurance attorneys.
In most states, you have a minimum of 1-2 years before you have to file a lawsuit to recover your losses and expenses. Insurance companies like RodneyDYoung.net and Tradersinsurance.net are notoriously acclaimed for waiting until the last week to settle your personal injury claim. Remember also that lawsuits are filed against the other driver and not the insurance company! Go to your local library and research personal injury insurance books. You can also research more about these topics on the Citizens Insurance website.