The last thing anyone expects to happen is to be injured in a car accident. Aside from thoughts about how you will get your car fixed or who will pay for your medical bills, it is likely that you will be wondering about how you should best proceed to settle your insurance claim against the other driver and move forward with your life. Where do you even begin? To help you make sense of your situation, our firm has put together a handy guide that can help you smoothly settle your car accident claim.
At the Scene of the Accident
Your car accident claim will begin while you are still at the scene. While you may be shaken up, once you have checked everyone involved for injuries and called for help, it is important you stay focused and gather as much information as you can. If you have a camera available, it is important you take detailed photographs of the accident scene and all damage, including:
- The locations of all vehicles
- Physical damage to all vehicles
- Tire tracks and skid marks
- The license plates of each vehicle
- Nearby traffic signs and signals
In addition, be sure to gather the other driver’s contact and insurance information, including their names, phone numbers, insurance providers, and policy numbers. It is also recommended you record the names of any police officers who assist you and witnesses to your collision. Whatever you do, however, it is vital you do not discuss the collision with the other driver or make any apologies. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, there are likely several factors that have contributed to your collision that must be investigated.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
After your crash, you will likely be dealing with the other driver’s insurance company (or your own insurance company if the other driver did not have insurance) during your pursuit of compensation. Though insurance adjusters may be friendly and make you believe that they are on your side, it is important to remember that their first and foremost priority is to save their employer money – not pay your claim. As such, it will require an extensive amount of paperwork and evidence to prove the extent of your damages and that you were not liable for the crash.
Be sure to collect and provide the following evidence:
- Medical bills and hospital invoices
- Prescription drug receipts
- Pay stubs proving lost wages
- Vehicle repair estimates
- Copies of police reports
Generally speaking, the more evidence you have to back up your claim, the more money you will be able to recover. With that being said, the first offer you receive will likely be low. You do not have to accept this offer. If negotiations between you and the involved insurance company should fail, you may need to file a lawsuit with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.
Injured? Contact Tedford & Associates
If you should be injured in a car accident you believe was not your fault, our team of skilled Pasadena car accident attorneys at Tedford & Associates can help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties in pursuit of maximum compensation for your losses. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to collect compensation for the following damages:
- Vehicle damage
- Personal property damage
- Car rental costs
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering