Being involved in an auto accident is one of the most disorienting experiences a driver can go through. If you’ve never actually experienced a traffic collision firsthand, it’s very likely that you won’t know how to react, or what to expect in the aftermath. There’s a lot of bureaucracy involved in filing an insurance claim after an accident. Considering how much red tape there is to process, it’s common for drivers to overlook some important steps or make bad decisions based on misguided expectations.
Here’s a quick guide to help you better understand what to expect from the claims process after an accident:
- You’ll Need to Take Plenty of Notes – Even though it’s jarring to end up in a car accident, as long as there aren’t any serious injuries to focus on at the moment, it’s advisable for you to shake off the shock and immediately document the incident in as much detail as possible. In addition to the police report compiled about the accident, your account of what happened will help determine who is at fault, and therefore who should be compensated. Insurance claims depend heavily on first-person and eye-witness accounts, so the more notes you take, the more you can increase your chances of getting a favorable decision from insurers.
- The Burden of Proof Lies with You – Insurance companies automatically take a defensive posture when dealing with claims. This is because one of their highest priorities is to minimize loss of revenue through claims processes. Because of this incentive, you should bear in mind that there’s a good chance your insurer will be skeptical to accept your requested claim at face value. In fact, your insurer might even take steps to prove that you were at fault or that you haven’t provided sufficient documents to support your claims of loss. This is why you should be extremely meticulous about gathering and filing information about your accident. It’s a good idea to take photographs while you are still at the accident scene and collect contact information about other drivers, witnesses, and law enforcement at the scene.
- You Might Have to Lawyer-Up – Sometimes your car accident may be much more serious than just an ordinary “fender bender.” If you or any of your passengers suffer injuries during a car accident, the legal issues involved become much more complicated. In addition to property damage, you may be entitled to reimbursement of medical expenses or lost wages. You may also claim compensation for your mental and physical pain and suffering stemming from the accident. Even if you feel comfortable negotiating a settlement for property damage to your vehicle, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your state if anyone’s been injured in a car accident you were involved in.
Crossing your ‘T’s’ and dotting your ‘I’s’ makes a tremendous difference when filing insurance claims after an accident. No matter how counterintuitive it might feel, you should take initiative and gather plenty of evidence about what happened and how events unfolded. Make plenty of records about the damage, make a note of time/location, and collect contact information so that stakeholders in the process don’t vanish into thin air. For more information on how Adriana’s Insurance Services can help you stay safe during all your trips, visit any of our offices or give us a call at 1-800-639-7654. We got you covered!