13 Do’s and Don’ts For Filing a Car Accident Insurance Claim
When you get into a motor vehicle accident, you’re often in a state of shock, dealing with both emotional and physical distress that could cause you to misstep–especially when insurance is involved. Anything you say or do could end up affecting the money you get paid as compensation for an insurance claim.
Filing a Car Accident Insurance Claim Do’s & Don’ts
Below is a baker’s dozen list of things you should and shouldn’t do when you go to file your car insurance claim.
Do: Call Your Insurance Agent Immediately
Once you’re sure everyone involved in the accident is OK, or that they’re being tended to or taken to the hospital, you’ll want to call your car insurance agent as soon as possible to let them know about the accident. It might also be smart to call a San Antonio auto accident law firm, like Fears Nachawati, to help represent you in a personal injury case.
Don’t: Admit Fault
Don’t give any statements to your insurance agent until you are positive what your insurance coverage is, another example of where an attorney might help. Often, after an accident, we believe we saw something or we remember something differently than the actual witnesses. By admitting fault, we might be mistaken, which doesn’t represent the truth.
Do: Take Pictures
Again, once everyone is determined to be safe, take several pictures of the car accident scene, damage to the car, and injuries, making sure to include different perspectives.
Don’t: Negotiate Directly With Whomever Caused the Accident
The person you’re dealing with likely doesn’t have the ability to know exactly what the value of your claim should be, so make sure you submit the claim to their insurance company instead. You might even be able to get your bills paid through your own insurance, allowing them to go after the other person to be reimbursed. Get a lawyer to help you know what steps to take.
Do: Be Honest With Your Insurance Agent
Rather than lie or tell an untruth to your insurance agent, possibly invalidating your policy or causing them to deny you coverage, be honest and forthcoming.
Don’t: Sign Waivers or a Release
You’ll eventually have to sign things, but make sure you have sought legal counsel to know that everything is what you think it should be. For instance, you might remember more things that were destroyed in the accident, like expensive golf clubs or lost jewelry.
Do: Keep All Notes and Receipts Involving Your Case
Try to keep extensive notes about every conversation you have with the insurance company, including the time and date, and who you spoke with. Try to get the job titles, names and phone numbers of everyone involved. As for the receipts, keep them for any time you dealt with pursuing your claim or in recovery, whether it’s for meals, traveling, or gas and lodging, so you can get completely reimbursed.
Don’t: Accept Immediate Settlements
The insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible, so don’t be so quick to accept their payout numbers. Talk to a San Antonio auto accident law firm to see what kind of compensation you should receive.
Do: Get Contact Information of All Witnesses
Witnesses don’t usually have time to waste waiting for the entire investigation to get worked out, so police will often let them go relatively quickly. Get their contact information immediately, to help your lawyers contact them.
Don’t: Speculate On What Happened
Just explain what you believe to be the facts to the police. Don’t offer up information to the police, insurance company agents, or others involved in the accident.
Do: Understand What Your Insurance Coverage is
Even before you get into any accidents, you should have a good idea of what your car insurance coverage is. This will help you keep a clear mind as you are forced to make decisions at a stressful time.
Don’t: Accept Any Payment as Final … If It’s Not Supposed to Be
Never accept a payment that is marked with the term, Final Payment on it, unless you are positive that it should be the final payment.
Do: Get Advice From Fears Nachawati
Get people on your side that have been through it all before. Fears Nachawati has the experience and the know-how to investigate the accident properly, and they’ll get you the best compensation possible.
A capable San Antonio auto accident law firm like Fears Nachawati will take your side and help walk you through what you need to do. Give them a call at (210) 858-5383 to learn more.