So, what should you do after you’ve been in an auto accident and believe you are entitled to damages? Here are five things you should know about filing claims and how to go about this often-complex process.
Auto Insurance Claims Raise Premiums
Auto insurance claims raise insurance premiums by about 12-45% on average. How much yours goes up will depend on the circumstances of the accident as well as on your insurance company. Fault impacts insurance claims since the at-fault driver’s insurer has to pay out. Fault can be shared between drivers, and when this happens, damages are based on state negligence laws.
You Need to File a Police Report
Before a claims adjuster contacts you, make sure that you have filed a police report. If you did not get any information about the report while on the scene, you can go into your local police department and file a report or, if one was filed, ask for the report number. You will need to give that report number to your insurance company.
When You Should File
Was your car damaged by an at-fault driver and now in need of repairs? Were you injured and are now seeing medical bills pile up as you struggle to get back to work? Were you permanently disabled? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you should file a claim. However, if no one else was involved and the damage to your vehicle is less than your deductible, there’s no need to file, as your insurer won’t pay out.
If you have comprehensive insurance, file if something other than a collision caused the vehicular damage. If there’s an at-fault driver, file a claim with their liability policy. If you’re at fault, file a claim with your collision policy. If the at-fault driver is uninsured/underinsured, file a claim with your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Get Medical Treatment for Bodily Injury Claims
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. The severity and extent of your injuries needs to be documented for you to be able to successfully claim the damages owed to you.
You will want to ensure that you get documentation for every treatment you receive, as your personal injury lawyer will need that information to help advocate for you. A lot of medical professionals will be fine with directly billing insurance companies, but some will require you to submit the bills yourself to the company for reimbursement.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you win your case. They can best explain to you how the claims process works and what kind of timeframe you can expect for payout since that can vary by state and claim circumstances.
Even if you are able to return to work, you could be facing a loss of income from medical bills. And, if you cannot return to work, you could be losing a tremendous amount of income. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover those losses.
While you might not be required to file an auto insurance claim after an accident, you should still give it some consideration, especially if you’ve been injured. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you understand and speed up the claims process.