A car is cruising down the highway at top speed and the driver swerves to miss a rubber tire left in the road from a semi; the driver overshoots the swerve, running into a car beside them, causing an accident and a four car pileup. Unfortunately, small conditional changes can sometimes cause big accidents, but what do you do if you’re one of the unlucky cars involved? Even if the accident is not your fault, you’ll need to make a car insurance claim on the at-fault driver’s car insurance, so what do you need to file a car insurance claim?
What Information Will I need?
If you’re making a claim on your own policy or the at-fault party’s policy, you’ll need:
- Your full name
- Your/their policy number
- The start and end date of the policy
- The date and time of the incident
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Driver’s licenses and license plate numbers for all drivers
Does the Type of Accident Matter?
If your car accident was a result of vandalism, fire, theft, or a hit and run, each claim will be different, but the basic procedure is the same. For a collision, there are five basic steps in filing a claim.
The Five Basic Steps of Filing a Car Insurance Claim:
1. Assigning the Case
A professional at your car insurance company (or the other party’s company) will work on your case with you. Keep in mind that these professionals are trained with company profit in mind. Find out here what to say and what not to say to the person assigned to the case. The process can be complicated, so read here to see all of the steps needed to make a case.
2. Meeting with the Claims Adjuster
The claims adjuster will often want to meet with you to discuss the case in person and to assess any damages to your vehicle. Be careful, as these adjusters can show up without prior notice, so be prepared. Make sure everything is properly documented on your end to protect yourself. Take plenty of photographic evidence at the scene of the accident.
3. Evaluating of the Case
Evaluation can lead to a car inspection, examining any evidence for injury claims, and may be where you’d receive an initial settlement payment. Keep in mind that when you make your initial claim, you’ll want to ask for a figure that is 20-30% higher than what you really want because the figure you get in settlement will purposefully be lower than the one you outline. Keep in mind all of the expenses - loss of earnings, emotional damages, physical damages, and repairs - that you’ll need to cover. Make sure that you have everything properly documented so that when the evaluation comes back, you can see where you agree and disagree with the insurance company, which will help when you re-negotiate your settlement.
4. Resolving the Case
The resolution of the case happens when all settlement figures have been made and all sides agree to the terms. The resolution comes when you sign the final settlement agreement and you get a payout for your claim. Keep in mind that most cases take weeks to months (or sometimes years) to resolve. It can be an exhausting process.
5. Closing the Case
Once you’ve accepted the terms of the settlement, the case will be closed, and generally cannot be reopened even if you suffer from, say, residual medical issues down the line.
Hiring an Attorney to Help
If you do not have weeks or months to deal with your claim, or if you’re in any way unsure about how to file a claim, contact a trusted, experienced attorney who knows how to deal with personal injury and auto insurance claims. Attorneys can often expedite the process, getting you a fair settlement in a much faster time frame than you yourself can. Attorneys deal with insurance companies on a daily basis, know exactly how to gather and present the right evidence, and present it to the insurance company in a timely and correct manner the first time. Having an attorney by your side will ensure your claim is not rejected and guarantee the claim is filed properly.
Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, can help you file the claim today
Contact our experienced legal team to help you file your auto insurance claim. We have over 36 years of experience, helping Mississippians get the settlements they deserve. Whether it’s in-court or in-house, we can help alleviate the stress of the process. We evaluate and file cases every day, which means we are experts at paying attention to the details and understanding what to say to get the claim you deserve. Get your FREE case consultation today.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.