If you were injured in an auto accident, you can make a claim against the other driver’s or even your own insurance company to receive compensation for your damages. This will usually lead to discussions and negotiations with the insurance company’s adjuster about how much money you are owed. Before making a claim, there are a few things you’ll want to prepare.
1. Gather Documentation
This is perhaps the biggest step of them all, but one that will pay off in the end. To successfully settle a car accident claim and ensure you are fully compensated for your property damage and personal injury, you will want to gather as much documentation about the accident and resulting damages as possible. Such documentation may include:
- Photos: Capture your car, the other driver’s car, the street, and even the weather conditions.
- Witnesses: If any bystanders witnessed the accident, take down their contact information and ask if they’d be willing to provide a statement.
- Accident Report: even if it’s a small fender bender, call the police. They will send an officer who will make an official report on the accident.
- Medical Records & Bills: Seek immediate medical attention after the accident. Even if you don’t initially feel hurt, let a medical professional examine. Then be sure to keep a record of all medical visits, bills, and even photos of injuries.
- Keep a Journal: Document on the accident may affect your daily routine and lifestyle. It might sound silly, but sometimes claims don’t settle until months or even years later. A journal is a good way to jog your memory about the events surrounding the accident.
2. Hire an Attorney
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you should always look for an experienced personal injury attorney to help you file your claim. Insurance companies have teams of experienced adjusters, investigators, and lawyers trying to settle your case for as little money as possible. Even if you make your claim your full-time job, your knowledge and expertise will not match theirs.
Personal injury attorneys, however, dedicate their practice to helping clients like you. Experienced attorneys are well versed in the law, they know the rules, procedures, and weird kinks about the legal system. If you hire legal representation, you are more likely to receive a higher settlement than if you attempt to handle the case on your own.
3. Give it Time
Injuries sustained in a car accident can often take a while to fully manifest. Settling your case too soon may prevent you from receiving compensation for injuries that later complicate. Don’t let the insurance company and their flashing dollar signs distract you from what is most important- your health and recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall and are not sure about your options, contact an experienced lawyer, like a car accident lawyer Central Phoenix, AZ relies on today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into car accident claims.