After a car accident, you first want to ensure that you and your passengers are okay. Your health and well-being should be your top priority. Once you’re safe and home, you may need help figuring out what the next steps are.
Should you call the insurance company right away? What information should you even provide them? Thankfully, we are here to give tips on what to do after a car accident.
If you recently sustained injuries in an auto accident and want to learn more about the following steps, please continue reading below. We will cover what you need to know about dealing with insurance companies and who you can contact for more help.
1. Gather Evidence After a Car Accident
After a car accident, gathering as much evidence as possible is crucial. This includes taking photos of the vehicle’s damage and taking down the information from the other driver.
Information to gather from the other driver:
- Driver’s license number
- First and last name of the driver
- Year, make, color, and model of the other vehicles involved
- Plate number information
- Auto insurance policy number and contact number
If you cannot gather this information from the other driver because they are upset or don’t want to speak with you, call the police. The police will make a report of the accident, and they will make a note of the information you need to create an auto claim.
2. Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve suffered injuries in an auto accident, you may want to seek treatment as soon as you can. It is important to note that you may not notice if you’re hurt right away as your adrenaline masks the initial pain. Sometimes it takes days for an injury to come to the surface, so if you don’t feel well a few days after the accident, seek treatment.
If you fail to seek treatment after the accident, it can significantly affect your claim. When you go get treatment after the accident, you create a record of your injury, and it can prove how your injury progressed.
Some insurance companies may try to diminish your claim. If you don’t have any medical documents to support your claim, the insurance company may reduce how much they provide in a settlement.
3. Create an Insurance Claim
Before you can even start the settlement process for your injuries and other types of damages, you must create an insurance claim. If you’re considering hiring a lawyer, consult with one before you call the insurance company.
Insurance adjusters are known to take advantage of accident victims if they are unrepresented. They prey on these victims’ vulnerability, especially during the recorded statement phase.
Some adjusters use specific tactics when speaking with car accident victims with the intention of making them say something they don’t mean. If an adjuster can get you to admit liability or say the wrong thing, they can use this against you and place some fault on you.
Facilitates Contact With the Insurance Company
Make sure that you speak with a car accident attorney as soon as you can so that they can reach out to the insurance company and create the claim for you. Your attorney will then handle all communication with the insurance company, and they will keep you in the loop about the progress of your claim.
Notify the DMV
In addition to informing the insurance company of what happened in the accident, you must also let the DMV know. If any damages over $750 or injuries are involved in the accident, you must notify the California DMV within ten days of the auto accident.
4. Review Documents Before Signing
If the insurance company accepts liability for the accident, they may try to provide you with a settlement amount offered. The adjuster may send you a document to sign before they release any payment for your vehicle damage or your injuries.
Make sure you review the document before you sign anything. You can always hire a lawyer to review those documents before you sign to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
It is imperative that you have an attorney look over any contracts or documents sent to you by the insurance company because there could be errors or misleading information.
Your attorney will ensure that your documents are accurate and return them to the insurance company immediately. Some documents have strict timelines; if you don’t respond by a specific date, you could lose out on your settlement.
5. Negotiate Your Settlement Amount
Did you know that you can negotiate your settlement offer? Most car accident victims assume that they have to take the insurance adjuster’s offer, but that is not true.
Most auto insurance adjusters provide you with the lowest settlement possible to save their employer money, leaving you with a check that isn’t enough to cover your expenses.
It is best to allow your attorney to negotiate on your behalf to protect your interests. Auto accident attorneys have years of experience negotiating claims similar to yours, so they are well aware of what to ask for and how to get you the compensation you deserve.
6. Consider Hiring an Attorney
As mentioned earlier, you may want to hire an attorney if you are unsure how to negotiate. It is also best to hire a lawyer, not only for negotiations but so they can protect your interests.
With a personal injury lawyer on your side, they can handle dealing with insurance companies while you focus on healing and getting your life back on track. Most attorneys provide their clients with free no-obligation case evaluations where they can give you your legal options and let you know what to expect with your auto insurance claim.
7. Understand the Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
Many benefits come with hiring a car accident lawyer. They handle the entire claims process on your behalf and are there to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your legal options.
If you sustained injuries in the accident, your lawyer can also point you in the right direction of top-quality care. Most attorneys work with doctors to ensure their clients receive the best care possible for their injuries.
It is important to note that car accident lawyers sometimes offer their services on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay for anything until you win your case. If you win, the attorney deducts their payment from your final settlement amount.
Help With Dealing With Insurance Companies
Getting into an auto accident is something no one should go through, but unfortunately, it happens more often than it should. Many people aren’t exactly sure what to do after a car accident because so many things are going on at once.
If you got into an accident recently, it is best to gather as much evidence as possible and speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal options. Contact us for more information if you’ve sustained injuries in an auto accident and want to learn more about the next steps in your auto insurance claims process.