When you have a car accident, and if you are not hurt in any way it is time to prepare for battle. It does not matter if you are responsible for the accident or not, it is your job to document your side of the story as thoroughly as possible. Even if you were not hurt, your car will have to be repaired by someone to its original condition or better. The first thing to do is communicate with your insurance company and let them know what happened, they will send someone to help you immediately to reach a car accident insurance settlement agreement following your collision.
Talking with your insurance agent about your accident
When your insurance agent arrives at the accident, you have to file a car insurance claim and start with the process of determining first who is at fault for the accident. The other party will have their insurance company trying to defend them too. Do your best to avoid them initially after the accident because they may try to get you to confirm inaccurate information. When the police arrive, show them all your documents, driver license, insurance documentation and do everything they request from you, it is possible that they may ask for an alcohol test, if you are clean, get it done.
Even though your insurance agent will take pictures of the damage to your car and the other one too, plus other pictures of the accident itself, use your phone, get your own pictures too, you may need them later. The police will give your insurance people a copy of their report, ask for one for your files too, make sure it is signed and accepted by all those involved, the police, the other driver, and both insurance representatives, ask them all politely to sign it for you.
Get accident witnesses to testify on your behalf
Talk to people who witnessed the accident, get their names and numbers if they are willing to cooperate. Tell them they will not be called to court but that they may be called by a clerk to tell their story or verify someone else’s testimony. All these actions are especially important of the damage to the cars is great and even more if people are seriously injured and hurt. Every shred of physical evidence you have will help you prove your case if you have to sue the other party later on. All witnesses can help set the car accident insurance settlement facts straight with the law.
When all this is done, walk away and go home, you will soon receive a call from an insurance adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to offer you money to fix your car and pay for any injuries you suffered. Before accepting the check the adjuster is offering, you have to seek advice, it can be with a car accident attorney or if the damage is to your car only, get one from your mechanic. Have him give you a quote on paper with the shop’s letterhead; make sure it includes how much time it will take him to fix your car.
Car accident insurance settlement offers
With this in mind look at the settlement offer, if it covers your car’s repair and includes the money you have to pay to rent a car while yours is being fixed and maybe a little something for yourself, take it and forget the claim. If it is below your expectations, send him a counter offer with your terms. It is the adjuster’s job to pay you as little money as possible for your claim. He has a certain margin of money he is authorized to pay you; he cannot go out of it without authorization from his or her superior. The adjuster will send you an offer and you can go on horse trading with him or her until you reach a stand still.
Usually small claims are resolved with a couple of letters going back and forth, do not haggle over a few dollars, it is better to settle fast than to stretch the discussion on and on for a few dollars. If they are offering something with a fifty to one hundred dollar difference than what you want, take it, they have more time to wear you down, when they are set on a number it is hard to move them. If the difference is large and if the damage is large too, it is time to use the big guns and make sure an accurate car accident insurance settlement calculator is utilized or an official appraisal is done.
Finding a car accident injury attorney
Find a car accident attorney who is well known and with whom you feel at ease, talk to him or her and present your case. Show him the documentation you collected at the accident, your mechanic’s quote and he will tell you how much you can sue for. It is time to sue and let a court decide on how much they have to pay you. If you decide not to sue yet and try to reach a point of agreement, try writing a letter to the insurance company, specifically to the adjuster’s boss, he may have the wrong impression of the damage suffered and he may agree to your request. You can also ask for a third party to mediate or arbitrate your claim.
If this does not work ad you find yourself lost, file a complaint with your state’s Board of Insurance. Since you are still working on your own a little more leg work will be necessary. Have one or two more mechanics give you quotes on the car repairs, and if you have: medical bills, car rental bills and any other caused directly or indirectly by the accident, now is the time to collect them and place a copy of them neatly in a file. They should be in chronological order and they should also be described on your letter of complaint. The Board of Insurance will investigate the case and get back to you with a verdict. If you are not satisfied with it you have one last option.
Some people need to hire a lawyer in order to receive proper compensation
Once this phase is over and there is no solution in sight, it will be necessary for you to hire an attorney. The attorney will sue the person who crashed into you and if he or she loses, his insurance company will be forced to pay the amount of damages approved by the court. In order to present his case in court, he will need the pictures you took, the police report and any other information you collected.
The claim amount will change too because he has to get paid out of the proceeds of the claim and you also have to get paid for the time you have wasted collecting information and trying to get your claim paid. You never know how an insurance claim will go, this is why it is important to document it from the very beginning, show the judge documents and proof and he will show you the money. Is a car accident insurance settlement taxable? If it involves property damage or personal injury then no it is not. Hopefully if you get into an accident that you get the compensation that you deserve.