No matter how careful you are on California roadways, you cannot predict the actions of fellow drivers. While many people know what to do immediately following a car accident, few are familiar with the process of settling a car accident claim. This article will explain the right way to settle a car accident claim with an insurance company.
Talk to the Claims Adjuster
In many cases, the first person you speak with will be a claims adjuster from your insurance company. During your conversation, they will gather information about the accident that may be used during the claims process. Topics may include:
- Basic information about the other driver such as their name, vehicle specs and insurance info.
- Details about when, where and how the accident took place.
- Names of any witnesses from the scene of the accident.
- Information about your vehicle including its current location and where the vehicle is damaged.
- Any injuries sustained by either party during the accident.
The best way to ensure that you are prepared to answer these questions is by gathering as much information as possible immediately following the accident. Photographs taken with a smartphone or other camera-enabled device can be very helpful during the claims process. Once your insurance company has gathered all the information they need, they can attempt to settle your claim for damages with the other driver’s insurance company.
Processing the Claim
When working with a claims adjuster, it is important to keep in mind that their ultimate goal is to protect the interests of the insurance company. These companies stay profitable by paying as little as possible on damage claims just like yours. A California car accident attorney can ensure that your claim is handled quickly and fairly.
In an attempt to pay the lowest possible amount for your claim, the insurance company may make one of the following arguments:
- You contributed to or were at fault for the accident.
- You failed to provide sufficient documentation to support your claim.
If an insurance company attempts to argue with you over the amount that should be paid for your damage claim, your next call should be to a California car accident attorney like Lalezary Law Firm. Car accident law firms specialize in handling vehicle accident and personal injury cases just like yours. They can work directly with the insurer to ensure you get the settlement you are entitled to.
You may be surprised to learn that there are many different types of damages that can be collected after a car accident. These damages include:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Car rentals. The majority of insurance companies reimburse expenses related to car rentals while your vehicle is being repaired.
- Damages to personal property. This may include items that were in the vehicle and became damaged as the result of the accident. It may also include external fixtures like bike carriers if they become damaged during the accident.
- Out-of-pocket expenses. This includes things like a taxi fare home from the scene of the accident.
The settlement you are offered will depend on any information or documentation you provide. This means that if you do not document the expenses that you claim to have paid out-of-pocket, the insurer may assert that you are not entitled to compensation for that part of your claim.
One of the benefits of working with a car accident law firm on your claim is that they understand how insurance companies work. They know that litigation is an expensive and time-consuming process. It is much more cost-effective to pay a fair settlement amount than to incur the fees associated with retaining legal counsel to fight your claim.
Dealing with Accident-Related Injuries
If you sustained injuries during or as a result of the car accident, the settlement process may become even more complicated. In addition to the other damages outlined in the section above, you may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Even if you feel confident that you can successfully negotiate a settlement for damages to your vehicle and property, you may still want to seek the advice of an experienced California car accident attorney. They can review the details of your case and ensure that the insurance company offers you a fair settlement.
The process of settling a car insurance claim can seem intimidating at first, but it does not have to be. At Lalezary Law Firm, we have years of experience working with insurance companies just like yours to ensure a fair settlement claim is reached. Our seasoned attorneys work tirelessly to protect your interests and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.